Isn’t it time your book club planned a restorative get-a-way? As you know, that wine won’t drink itself. If you live in Western Washington I have got just the cozy and scenic spot for you, complete with a bibliophile who is eager to make your acquaintance.
Historically I am not a fan of the Washington beach vacation. I have been staring at soaking-wet evergreens since the day I peeled open my newly-minted eyes in 1970. When I want to get away from it all, rain and conifers are included on the list of “it all” next to housecleaning and the neighbor guy who wears cut-offs all winter. But I just passed a few days at the seaside village of Seabrook and my outlook has changed.
It is true that our beaches are not dramatic in the way that Oregon’s are. They lack majesty and ruggedness. But perched as Seabrook is, on a cliff (okay, a clifflet), it is lovely. A planned community of beautiful houses nestles perfectly into the hillside. It’s quiet, the nights are deliciously dark and there is almost NOTHING to do. It’s an introverted bookworm’s dream. Just when I thought the place couldn’t offer me more in the way of low-key charm, I found the bookstore.
My extended family’s first day of vacation had been almost eerily without unpleasant incident; the weather had even been benevolent. But on day two, monsoon season set in: rain combined with an ill wind capable of forcing precipitation straight up your nose. We were mentally prepared for the wet, but then my nephew accidentally cracked a television screen in the guest house, my daughter imbibed a gallon of indoor pool water and disgorged it, violently, on the front porch, and my sister-in-law spiked a fever and collapsed into her bed. Clearly chaos was afoot. With relatives and appliances dropping like flies I grabbed the healthiest sister-in-law and beat a hasty retreat to the ruby in the crown of Seabrook, Blind Dog Books.
This delightful little shop is filled with books I had just read, was hoping to read or was sure I would buy for someone for Christmas. Patty, the proprietress, is a reader who loves to share her passion and make everyone who comes in feel fortunate for having found her. She has limited hours in the winter, but is open by appointment and would love to have your book group schedule a visit to browse her petite, well-crafted collection. The front of the shop consists of young adult and children’s literature, the back is adult books and small gift items.
When I found the shop, I had been feeling a bit glum about my reading prospects since I had reluctantly closed The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (see Misha Stone and Neil Holland’s blogs), the best book I have read in I-don’t-know-when. Short of reading it over again, I knew I wasn’t going to be as engaged in anything else. Conversing with Patty reminded me that even if that indescribably perfect novel only comes along once every few years, the life of books still brings joy upon joy. For me the reader’s life is not a solitary one. It is peopled with characters, fictional and actual. The ties we form with others over volumes loved (or loathed) are a memorable and indispensable part of the bookish life.
To all readers, whether I have met you or have yet to stumble upon you when I come in out of the rain, I say this: may those you love, love you back. In other words: I hope you get books for Christmas.
Special Thanks to Patty of Blind Dog Books for the gift of her time. I can’t wait to come back!