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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.