In an age in which chain bookstores and popular Web sites are taking over the book business, it is rare indeed to see a small handwritten sign hawking “books ahead” on the side of a major roadway. But just such a sign, located in the northeastern part of the Valley, drew our attention to this literary gem.
Visitors to the Little Red Book Shack (as the shop is called) actually are greeted by numerous signs, including ones inviting them to park on the grass. The “shack” is composed of several sheds and cottages in which used and out-of-print books — along with classical and vintage LPs, DVDs, maps, and postcards — are arranged by category. The well-thought-out collection of approximately 20,000 titles is continually being tweaked by owner Melanie Nelson.
Open weekends during the summer (or by request), there’s more than a little bit for everyone at this charming spot. Bookworms can delve into history in the biography shed, peruse mysteries and more in the white cottage, or discover the variety of treasures housed in the original red building for which the business is named.
And for bibliophiles on the go, or those who just happen to be passing through, the shack provides a unique perk: 24/7 self-service book shelves on the outside of the building. Guests merely pull up to the red shack, open the glass doors on the shelves, pick out the book (or books) of their choice, and leave payment in the mail slot. Most books cost 50 cents to a dollar; children’s books or boxed sets are even cheaper.
Do you know where this quaint bookshop is located? Submit your answer in the form below; the first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!