Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Our white Christmas has been celebrated in the country near historic Hudson in upstate New York, a couple of hours pleasant train ride from New York City. It has been a special time with family and friends.

Today I was taken to a most remarkable bookstore near Hillsdale, Rodgers Book Barn which has the byline, Old & Unusual Books Bought & Sold. The store was established in 1972 and Mrs.Rodgers the founding owner is still there today. A modest sized barn as barns go in this area, in the countryside surrounded by snow, the Book Barn is spread across I guess about seven rooms containing several hundred thousand books. We only spent an hour there and such were the treasures within that I’m afraid to say I didn’t get beyond the first room which held the recently acquired books prior to them being distributed around the barn to their respective category space . The stock impressed me for two main reasons – its enormous variety and depth, and the astonishingly reasonable prices. Let me illustrate this by listing the books I bought and their prices. I would have bought a lot more but regrettably time and weight constraints prevented that.

Katharine and E.B.White – an affectionate memoir - $4

The Book of Love – Writers & Their Love Letters – Cathy N. Davidson - $4

The Elements of Style – Strunk & White – 3rd ed. 1979 - $2.50

British Literary Anecdotes – Robert Hendrickson - $5

Books – From Writer to Reader – Howard Greenfeld - $3.50

The Language of Clothes – Alison Lurie - $5

Edward Lear 1812-1888 –Royal Academy of Arts – Exhibition catalogue 1985 - $8

Talking to Mrs.Rodgers when paying for my books it transpired that we had both entered the book trade in the late 60’s. Because she was busy and we were in something of a rush we didn’t have a lot of time to chat but I am hoping to get back to these parts in the summer of 2010 when I shall definitely return to the veritable treasure trove that is Rodgers Book Barn.

Later while filling the car at a gas station I noticed a sign in the window saying:

BEER SALES – no sales before 8.00am Monday-Saturday or before Noon on Sundays.

Interesting to note too that there is a price differentiation in the petrol depending on whether you are paying with cash or credit card. The standard petrol was $2.27 a gallon if you paid by cash whereas if you paid by credit card it was $2.32 a gallon. My daughter told me that in NYC the differentiation can be as much as 75c a litre. I was also interested to see that if paying by credit card you did it at the pump thus removing the need to go inside the gas station at all. This saved time by not having to stand in a line at the counter inside but also of course one assumes it must reduce impulsive purchases by customers.

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