Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Bookstore Remembered...


For Marissa Doyle, author of the fantastic novel Bewitching Season, the best bookstore in the world exists in memory (well, and in Massachusetts too)...

I actually haven't set foot in one of my favorite bookstores in almost twenty-five years...but I don't think I'd be a writer today if I hadn't gone there frequently as a child and young teen.

The store is The Bunch of Grapes Bookshop in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard. I grew up spending a lot of time on the Vineyard when it was still a funky, artistic-y place, before it was "discovered". So you got used to seeing James Taylor or Walter Cronkite or Ruth Gordon or Art Buchwald on the streets or in restaurants, and you just ignored them, because on the Vineyard it just didn't matter.

I had (still have!) a wonderful mom who could never say no to buying me books, so a trip to the Bunch of Grapes was de rigueur every weekend we were on the Vineyard. And it was during some of these trips that I found books that I'd never seen anywhere else--books like Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series and Dorothy Hartley's Lost Country Life and Evangeline Walton's The Mabinogion, a retelling of ancient Welsh myths and a book I still re-read and buy for people to read because it's that good. These books are a big reason why I write YA historical and fantasy fiction today...and I might never had found them at a critical time in my reading life if the wonderful people at Bunch of Grapes didn't have a fabulous children's book section back before children's books were "important".

Thanks, guys, for introducing me to those books.

Sounds like she needs to plan an author event on the Vineyard! We'll come to that!

7 comments:

Nancy said...

I've always wanted to go to Martha's Vineyard. Is that charming bookstore still around?

What a lovely memory, Marissa!

TJBrown said...

I love little bookstores like that. Don't get me wrong, I like the big ones too... but the little ones have a charm all their own.
Teri

Marissa Doyle said...

Yes, it's still there, Nancy--check out their website!

Hmm...a Class of 2k8 event on Martha's Vineyard--oh, YEAH!

Barrie said...

It looks and sounds delightful!

daphne grab said...

oh, i've been there! i loved browsing in it as an adult and i can imagine how magical it must've been as a kid!

JoyceMarie said...

I have to say, Marissa, that I love that you found a wonderful bookstore when you were younger! So many kids don't and it's sad.

I have found, however, my LOVE of a bookstore and I still get those kid-book-crazy feelings every time I walk into it - it's my local independent seller called Changing Hands (www.changinghands.com) and it is WONDERFUL. It still holds that magic for me now, as an adult, as the library did for me as a child.

I LOVE that Class of 2K8 is doing a series on their author's favorite bookstores - great to hear about all those other places out there!!!

mvobsession said...

Marissa - I love the Bunch of Grapes especially their huge table of just Vineyard books. No matter how long you linger there they make you feel comfortable.
Joan