Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Travels by Dawn Lairamore




I’m writing this on my summer vacation, so I guess I have vacations on my mind. Although I’ve never taken a literary-inspired vacation, either because reading about a certain place made me want to visit it in real life or because I wanted to do hands-on research for one of my own projects, I certainly know people who have. In fact, I have an acquaintance who went to Prince Edward Island for her honeymoon simply because of her childhood love for Anne of Green Gables. But recently I heard about a phenomena that really made me want to book a plane flight—and maybe someday I will. I was introduced to Book Towns.

Book Towns are small towns and villages with a high number of (generally used) bookstores. Such towns often host literary festivals or other book-themed events, making them destinations of choice for bibliophiles. I recently learned about Book Towns after listening to a friend describe her visit to Hay-on-Wye, also known as “the town of books.” Hay-on-Wye is located on the Welsh/English border along the River Wye, and like many charming English villages, it has a couple of crumbling castles, a number of beautiful old churches, a clock tower, and a traditional village square and market. It also boasts over two dozen bookstores, quite a sizable number for a village of less than 1,500 residents. This includes a shop specializing in children’s books, another in poetry, and another in mysteries and detective fiction. There’s even a bookshop specializing in maps and another specializing in natural history. This place sounds like a book-lover’s dream! I could probably spend several hours in Murder and Mayhem, the mystery bookshop alone, not to mention the children’s-themed bookstore, of course.


And while the book browsing and shopping holds massive amounts of appeal, I also just adore the idea of being someplace where the entire community is largely based on the love of books. Hay-on-Wye sounds like my kind of place!

Will you be visiting a Book Town or taking a literary-inspired vacation this summer? Or have you ever?



photo credit: Street sign, Edinburgh via photopin (license)
photo credit: Hay On Wye via photopin (license)
photo credit: Hide the Kindle via photopin (license)

8 comments:

  1. Ooh, that sounds like a great town. I didn't know places like that existed. Something to keep in mind next time I'm planning a vacation...

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    1. Definitely!! I'm keeping it in mind, too.

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  2. My best friend and I are going to Prince Edward Island next year!!!! Can't wait to experience the world of Anne Shirley, Emily Starr, and all the other LM Montgomery characters.

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    1. Caroline, how exciting! Please take lots of pictures and share them with us.

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  3. Oh, thank you for this miniature (if virtual) vacation! Nothing more lovely than a Book Town, especially if there are hills to walk nearby and scones to eat later in the afternoon . . . .

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    1. Books and scones-my idea of a perfect day!

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  4. I think I might enjoy the "Kingdom of Hay."
    (Despite being British by origin, I've never been there. Next trip "home," perhaps?)

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  5. I say go, if you have the opportunity, Michael. It sounds wonderful. Perhaps Project Mayhem should host a field trip?

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!