Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stacked-NYC on Vacation – Part I

Earlier this summer Stacked-NYC visited a number of towns on the New Jersey shore.  Since this post is coming a bit after the fact, we wanted to wish the owners of these stores and their patrons well and hope that they have stayed safe during the recent hurricane.

This week Stacked-NYC celebrates summer by taking a week-long break on the Jersey Shore (no not that part of the Jersey Shore). But even with the ocean, the pool, mini-golf and the arcade, a girl still has to read. First stop, Atlantic Books (12th Street and the boardwalk) in Ocean City, NJ, where Mr.Stacked-NYC is scheduled to do a book signing of his new picture book, Detective Blue. The greeting was underwhelming as the staff behind the counter acknowledged his existence with a nod and told him to come back in two days. The good news is that Atlantic Books is located right on the boardwalk where you can soothe your wounded pride with creamy gelato or homemade fudge at Shriver, the candy store now celebrating its 113th birthday, or gaze off at the breaking waves as the sky turns to dusk.
Update: Sadly, Atlantic Books in Ocean City has closed. Ocean City now has only one bookstore--Sun Rose Words and Music, located at 765 Asbury Avenue.


Shriver's Salt Water Taffy & Fudge
(photo courtesy of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce)

For a more enjoyable book shopping experience, travel south to Hooked on Books in Wildwood, NJ. Located on Pacific Avenue and Oak Street (3405 Pacific Avenue), walking distance from retro motels like the Suitcase motel--look for the surreal neon sign with the half-dressed couple inside the suitcase--and the Lollipop (a historic Doo Wop landmark). This veteran of bookstores—now in its 21st summer—is chock full of used books in a far-ranging variety of subjects. 

Hooked on Books, Wildwood, NJ

The treasure hunt begins...

While there’s plenty of paperback romances and adventure stories by Ludlam et al, you can also do some serious reading here. On a recent visit, we picked up copies of novels by Maugham, Gaskell, and Gallsworthy, as well as Everything Scrabble: The Definitive Book on Scrabble, and some vintage Garfield the cat comics.  The staff is knowledgeable and agreeable, there are at least two comfy corners where you can take a seat and read on the spot and chances are good that you’ll find something fascinating and unexpected. 

Co-owner Kieran Linnane helping a customer.

Kieran Linnane, who co-owns Hooked on Books with  Jim Wright, told us teen-aged girls are frequent customers (hurray for girls who read) as are those making purchases for their school-assigned summer reading.  During our visit he helped one customer find a copy of Catch-22 and another one with the latest entry in the Hunger Games series. This store will also please those on a reading binge by a newly discovered novelist. In addition to Cry, The Beloved Country, for example, the only Alan Paton title I know, the store had five other books by that author.  For a mid-sized store, you'll find books categorized into into a surprising number of sections. Visually, my favorite was self-help (below).

 How could you not feel better?

Something for everyone...

At a crossroads

The store offers a great incentive for kids to expand their home library with their buy three  kids books and get one free policy, as well as a 20% discount on your purchase of ten or more books. Hooked on Books has a loyal following that has voted the store "best bookstore in Cape May County" for the past 11 years by readers of the Freetime, a local publication. The store stays open five months out of the year and is scheduled to close for the off-season at the end of September. Call for details: 1-609-729-1132.

Some of our Hooked on Books Finds 

-- To be continued --

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