New England Book Bloggers Visit The Book Barn in Niantic, CT

New England Book Bloggers Visit the Book Barn in Niantic, CT (
L to R: Alex, me, Erica, and Lory

Lory, who blogs at The Emerald City Book Review and the creator of last year’s Read New England Challenge, put out a call for New England book bloggers to meet up at the Book Barn in Niantic, CT.  Last year a group of New England book bloggers met in Boston, but I was unable to attend that gathering. This one was a no-brainer for me and a piece of cake as I live just thirty minutes from the Book Barn.

Erica, who blogs at Erica Robyn Reads, drove down from New Hampshire with her bookish friend Alex. Lory also hails from New Hampshire, but who was the one that showed up late? You guessed it, the one who lives closest, me.

Jack Be Quick by Benjamin Thomas with Goats (
Currently reading: Jack Be Quick by Benjamin Thomas

On Friday we met at the main Book Barn location. This property has a main building surrounded by at least a half dozen smaller buildings of various sizes, each housing specific subject matter. While everyone browsed, I sat in the shade near the goats and read for awhile. Many bookstores have cats, some have dogs, but I’ve never encountered another that has goats. The Book Barn has two. Baa!

At lunchtime, we headed over to Village Pizza for lunch (thumbs up, good pizza). This pizzaria is conveniently located nextdoor to the newest and 4th Book Barn location. After refueling, we headed there for more book browsing/shopping.

I wasn’t going to buy any books this visit (I’m at the Book Barn every month or so). I planned on checking the shelves to see what was “new” from a few favorite writers, but then I made the mistake (?) of turning into the aisle with the anthology and literary criticism sections where I found an anthology of Australian Literature. Rare in these parts! And by “parts” I mean the entire United States of America.

Lory, Erica, and Alex moved on to visit the other two Book Barn locations in town. I was going to head home and get back to work, but finding the Australian Lit anthology was a plan changer.

The find ignited the scent hound in me and I proceeded to look at every single spine in these two sections. After some negotiating with myself about what I “needed,” this is the stack that accompanied me home:


  1. Canadian Short Stories, edited by Robert Weaver (1960). One of my favorite courses in grad school was on Canadian Prairie Fiction. Since then I’ve wanted to read more Canadian writers, but other than Louse Penny and a few Alice Monroe stories here and there, I haven’t gotten around to much. Short stories seemed like a good way to ease in.
  2. Rooms of Their Own by Jennifer Ellison (1986). Another Australian anthology! Two in one day is a lifetime record for me. This one is a collection of interviews Ellison conducted with Australian women writers. Perfect for the Australian Women Writers Challenge (#AWW17).
  3. American Fiction 1774-1850: A Contribution Toward a Bibliography2nd edition, by Lyle H. Wright (1969). A gripping bibliography. It’s exciting to see the women who were published during this period. Indiana University has an outstanding online resource based on Wright’s worked called the Wright American Fiction project,  which is a bibliography and digital/textual archive covering American adult fiction from 1851-1875. If you’re into 19th-century literature you can get lost in this website for days.
  4. Felicitous Space: The Imaginative Structures of Edith Wharton and Willa Cather by Judith Fryer (1986). I half-assed read this in grad school and am thinking that the older me might appreciate this work a bit more than did my impatient, younger self.
  5. Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century by Susan Coultrap McQuin (1990). This was a favorite read in grad school, a book I’ve thought of often and look forward to dipping into again.
  6. The Middle Western Farm Novel in the Twentieth Century by Roy W. Meyer (1974). I don’t really have an affinity for the farm novel, other than those by Willa Cather and Bess Streeter Aldrich. I’m Midwest born and raised (technically Chicago/urban, but I did spend what probably accumulates to years of my life driving around the farms and fields of the Midwest) and couldn’t bear to leave this one just sitting there.
  7. Australian Literature: An Anthology of Writing from the Land Down Under, edited by Phyllis Fahrie Edelson (1993). I know little about Australian Literature and would like to learn more.
  8. The American City Novel by Blanche H. Gelfant (1954). I was hooked from the first paragraph which focuses on a newspaperman in Ben Hecht’s A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago who dreams about writing a great novel about Chicago. Also, I thought it would be interesting to read an academic literary study written by a woman scholar in the 1950s.
  9. The Writer’s Desk by Jill Krementz (1996). Photos of writer’s writing, their offices, typewriters, early personal computers, notebooks…need I say more? I’ve seen most of these photos online, but it’s nice to have them in bookform.
  10. Willa Cather: A Reference Guide by Marilyn Arnold (1986). Another bibliography. I already have a copy. Bought this one for a friend.
  11. The Atlas of Literature, edited by Malcolm Bradbury (1996). This is such a neat book. It covers literature in relation to its place from the Middle Ages up to The World After the [Berlin] Wall. Literary movements, historical events, authors and their works are put into the context of their place with supporting pictures, photographs, and maps. I’ll definitely review this one in the near future.
Shake It For the World, Smartass by Seymour Krim (
A book I did not buy today. Shake It For The World, Smartass by Seymour Krim

I have no idea who Seymour Krim is, but the book caught my eye. It has a trippy, hippy 1970s vibe. I read the last chapter, which was about crashing John Steinbeck’s funeral.

My Two Polish Grandfathers by Witold Rybczynski (
Another book I didn’t buy today. My Two Polish Grandfathers by Witold Rybczynski.

Another book that caught my eye, but that I didn’t bring home today. It’s a collection of connected autobiographical essays that deal with the upheaval of Rybczynski’s family due to World War II and the author’s intellectual development. Sounds interesting and I’m adding it to my digital TBR list.

It was so great to meet Lory, Erica, and Alex in real life. I look forward to the next New England book blogger get together.

So, Dear Readers, what’s going on in your bookish, book buying life? Any rare finds lately?


  1. Wonderful post! This was such a fun trip! I’m so happy that I was able to drive down. Definitely looking forward to more meet ups soon!

    • Amazing how that happens, isn’t it? 😉 They each had nice stacks. I heard Alex had the largest haul, but as she isn’t a book blogger we may never see her stack. Lory and Erica plan on writing posts and I’ll link them here.

  2. Wow, that is quite a stack! There were some sections I didn’t dare to peruse in detail, or I would surely have gone home with about 5 times as many books. However, I’m happy with what I did get, and the $1-$4 book prices are pretty unbeatable. So glad we made the trip!

    • That place can wipe out your checking account, even with the great prices! So glad we finally got to meet. Hope we have another New England book blogger gathering soon.

  3. How wonderful to see you all together! And what a great place to meet.

    What great finds for someone “not going to buy” 🙂 I am a sucker for bibliographies myself (and footnotes). I find them fascinating to study.

    I am curious about The Middle Western Farm Novel in the Twentieth Century, because I am a fan of the West in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I somehow found a copy of Hamlin Garland’s, A Son of the Middle Border (although I think it may be considered nonfiction) and loved it. He was born in Wisconsin and he and his family worked and owned several farms in the Midwest.

    • I’m happy to know another bibliography fan! Bibliographphile? I probably won’t get to read The Middle West Farm Novel for a few months, but will more than likely write about it here. Just from the few dips I made into it, it sounds intriguing. And with some of those older studies, they mention novels that are no longer in print and/or written about/discussed, so it’s a way to find some older gold nuggets to read. I know the name Hamlin Garland, but I’m not sure if I ever read anything by him or just read about him in relation to Cather & Aldrich.

  4. The Bradbury is my comfort book! i love to curl up with it and make mental lists. Loved the Book Barn when i lived in Niantic in 1996, back when there was just one barn and maybe a shed. Got a lot of goodies there though! The Farm Novel is going on my wish list for sure.

    • Hi Gina — I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath for the first time and I’m even more curious about The Farm Novel study! Will definitely write about it here after I read it.

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