One of my unexpected discoveries in Rhinebeck
is the fantastic Oblong Books & Music.
(A love for books and readers is obvious on their informative
and user-friendly website, if you can’t make it to the store in person.)
I’ll tell you with a teeny bit of shame and a double dose of honesty that maybe there might have, from time to time, perhaps, been one or two, or maybe a few boxes from Amazon on my step.
But that was then, this is now.
A trip to Oblong outweighs any savings or “convenience” you may find online.
I know, I know. It’s one click and all that.
But that doesn’t hold a candle to a place where the owner and the staff truly care about you, what you need, what you like, and what’s happening in the world of books.
Cmon, I’ll show you.
Oblong has two locations, one in Rhinebeck, and one in Millerton.
This visit is to the Rhinebeck store.
Oblong Books & Music began as Oblong Books & Records in Millerton in October, 1975.
That’s 35 years. Yes indeed, they know what they’re doing.
The Rhinebeck location has a regular schedule of author events,
coordinated by store manager Suzanna Hermans.
She’s a second generation bookseller and co-owner with her dad,
store founder Dick Hermans.
And she’s a University of Iowa graduate, supreme bonus!
Among the books, you’ll find a beautiful selection of journals, stationery, cards, calendars, and fun gift items for anyone who might need a very special treat.
Nice nod to our proximity to Woodstock.
Great care is given to the arrangement of sections in the store. It’s easy to find things, and one section leads into the next in a common sense kind of way. Husband wanted to find David Maraniss’ book on the Rome Olympics, and I did it myself easily.
The children’s section is wonderful, and shows a great respect for young readers.
Love the decor, the thoughtful placement of spots for kids to settle down and look at books,
and most of all, the young customers’ reviews and recommendations.
If you need to buy a book gift for a child of any age, these reviews will make it easy.
Ok, here’s one of my favorite features of Oblong. The staff picks are everywhere.
Every section contains these great little handwritten cards, well edited, sometimes funny, and to the point.
They’re so well done you find yourself thinking of buying books you’d never have even noticed before.
I found these much more useful than the reviews on Ama-you-know-where.
I mean, come on, it’s gotten fairly obvious what’s going on there.
Not to say I’m not in favor of people doing everything they can to move their own books.
Another fun section, rock and roll. More on that in a second.
Nancy Sullivan, left, and Suzanna Hermans.
Both made us feel as if there’s no place else they’d rather be on a recent Saturday night.
And to be honest, it was so lively in Oblong, it did seem like the place to be.
Like I said, the music-related section is something special.
Just when you think the store specializes in children’s books, you walk into the music section.
And by music, I mean cds and books.
Since co-owner Dick Hermans has done a folk music show
on the sublime local radio station WKZE since 1987,
you’re going to find things in the folk music section you won’t find anywhere else.
Local music also happens to be some of the best anywhere in the world…lucky us.
The best selection of books about the Hudson Valley in the Hudson Valley.
Wall Street Journal reporter and author Katie Rosman reads from her book about her mother,
If You Knew Suzy.
Visiting authors are a regular event, and the website keeps you posted on this.
The store’s Facebook page is a top notch place to stay informed about store events and other local events, for that matter.
What did we leave with?
These, and a new favorite place to hang out.
These are fabulous pictures, and I was hoping you'd let us borrow one for the front page of Bookselling This Week. Could you e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
Looks and sounds like a place I would feel very comfortable.
Once again Kitty Sheehan makes us feel like we're there and/or SHOULD be there.
Awesome, this is one of my favorite places in the Hudson Valley!
I love this post! It captures the essence of Oblong, one of my favorite (and first stops) in Rhinebeck.
Chandra, well said! Ms. Sheehan takes something I'd normally walk right by, and makes me do a double take. I can't wait to visit and admire HALF of what she does.
This is my local bookstore; The review is full of flattery……and everything she says is absolutely true!
Wow- am I hooked!!! WISH we had something even half way as good as this place on the island! Am off to check the website- THANK YOU!!!! Great post!
Thanks so much for all the nice comments! It's a great place, and I'm happy to spread the word.
wow..nice feature of the book store…
wow…it really interest me to visit in here…love it…
kitty, what a great thing you did capturing our beloved Oblong Books! I'd missed this post and just found it tonight while strolling around the web. It was great to see you and your daughter last week–sorry there wasn't time for a longer visit–holiday madness! See you soon when it's quieter in town, Maureen
oh Kitty, I love this post.. i want to get lost in this beautiful store wish carroll had one… hope all is well!!