Friday, January 16, 2009

Mr. Tolkien's Birthday and Kuhns Corner Books

I meant to post this on Monday, January 5 -- and that is when I started it -- but the whole thing got lost in the shuffle. I'm posting it now before I forget all about it again. Almost two weeks ago, I had a chance to visit a new independent bookstore near my home. Kuhns Corner Books ( opened, appropriately enough, on the corner of West Walnut and South 5th Streets in Perkasie, PA. I think it opened around the middle of 2008, but it could have happened much earlier. I just know I've been driving past it for a little while now. But on January 3rd, while bringing Milo and Otis back from their annual visit to the vet, Mrs. Brainwise and I passed Kuhns and I noticed that it was open. So I decided to visit it. But first I had to complete the return trip for the thoroughly traumatized kitties. Oh, how they love to travel, especially when it involves being poked and prodded and examined. After we got home and did our best to pacify the boys a bit, I asked if there was enough time before our next appointment (visiting Mrs. Brainwise's mother in Bethlehem, and then having dinner with her friends in Easton). The window was plenty wide enough, and there was even time on the clock to hit the local Post Office. So I bundled up, gathered my keys, envelopes, and iPod, and hit the road ... walking. Yes, the new bookstore is within walking distance from my home. How cool is that? Anyway, the store is great. It's small, rather quaint I would say. They sell new and used books, but don't expect a great deal of inventory -- only one or two copies per title. And it's the only bookstore I've yet seen with a kitchenette dividing the front showcase area from the back. I did mention this is an independent bookstore, right? So, I'm wandering around, checking out what they have and soaking up the atmosphere. It was a perfect day for taking a break in a bookstore -- bright and sunny, but cold and blustery. Crazy windy day. I made mental notes regarding a few of the books I found, but nothing really stood out as a potential purchase. Well, nothing stood out until I came across a used copy of Master of Middle Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien by Paul H. Kocher. First edition softcover, 1972, good condition: Not exactly rare, but still pretty cool. It's a book that has been on my "to read" list for some time. And I want to support the local indie bookstore scene. So I purchased it and walked home. Upon arrival, I had just enough time to get some lunch and load up the car before we headed up to Bethlehem for the Mom-in-law and friends visits. I didn't have another thought about my new copy of Master of Middle Earth. That is, until the following Monday. January 5. Midway through the morning, I took one of my Google News breaks -- or maybe I was checking my email and I saw a Google Alert -- and I saw a story or two about Tolkien and his recent birthday. And then it hits me. I bought my book about Tolkien's writing on his birthday. On 116th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien's birth, I purchased a book that was published about a year before his death. What a great way to "celebrate" one of my favorite writers! No fanfare. Nothing ostentatious. Just a quiet afternoon in a small bookstore. Let's hear it for the indies!
 500 West Walnut Street | Perkasie, PA 18944 | 215-258-2515

Update (8/13/2011): This update is more than a tad overdue, but I must point out that (misfortune of misfortunes) Kuhns Corner Books closed down within the last year or so. Well, they've closed down the physical location. They seem to be operating solely as an online book source now.

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