The island of Grand Cayman has a population of approximately 53,000 people and almost as many tourists per day including cruise ships and hotels. Even so, that’s roughly 100,000 people on the island at any given time, which is only slightly larger than my home county in New Jersey. Nevertheless, there are two bookstores on this island and on my visit last week I could not pass on the opportunity to visit one of them.
In an outdoor mall full of restaurants and boutique swim shops, one would hardly expect the largest store to be an independent bookstore, but Books & Books in the Camana Bay shopping center was a neat and sleek spot. Shelves curved up the walls from floor to 30’ ceiling with books along every inch. Each genre has its own cove and the islands of books by local authors gave the modern and slightly commercial aesthetic an indie vibe.
The selection of literary gifts was impressive as was the collection of eclectic birthday cards, of which I wanted to stock up on many. However, I found myself in yet another bookshop that did not have Keroac’s On the Road. I have been to three bookstores in the Boston area including two secondhand shops and none of them has this book. By all means if anyone wants to send me a copy, please email me, I’d be delighted and surprised if you could find one.
Indie Bookstore Day is coming up on May 2, so I will be celebrating with the Harvard Bookstore. They have lots of cool events planned for the week leading up to the big celebration. This month also has lots of authors coming into town here. I am going to try to get in to hear Lydia Davis read and maybe a couple of others. It looks like April is going to be a busy month for books!
As you can tell, last week I was lucky enough to get away to a warmer climate with family, which was wonderful after the horrid winter we’ve had here in Boston, and that people have had all over the North East. I read Hemingway’s In Our Time on the beach and on the plane and it was wonderful. It has been fun recently to notice how authors have been influenced by each other and to recognize certain techniques used by many and to compare how each author uses those tools. I find myself writing “DFW” or “Salinger,” among others, in the margins every so often. I am now in the midst of A Farewell to Arms, so I’ll be writing on that next week.
In the meantime it looks like spring is really approaching. Read on and go to your local bookstore!
Featured image: Coffee at South West in George Town, KY