Anney E.J. Ryan is an excellent poet and an educator down in Pennsylvania (I say “down” as if someone living south of me here in upstate NY is “downhill” from where I live or something). I keep meaning to get down to PA to check out some of their bookshops, but before I head out that way I thought I’d ask my pal Anney about her own favorite local. Here’s what she suggested!
Favorite Bookshop: Firefly Bookstore in Kutztown, Pennsylvania
1. How did you discover the shop?
Firefly opened in Kutztown in 2012, and I visited there immediately, as it’s the closest used bookstore to where I live. The shop sells used books, brand new books and current bestsellers, audiobooks, antique/vintage texts, games, puzzles, and special gifts. It also has a fantastic occult and witchcraft section. Every time I stop in, I find something to buy.
2. What part of the shop is your favorite?
The occult section is at the front of the first aisle, so I usually stop there immediately. I always check out the audiobook and vintage sections, but I spend the most time in the fiction section.
3. What books have you bought there in the past?
Cherry Ames – vintage series for my mother. Superhero graphic novels and The Last Kids on Earth series for my nephew. Robert Bly and Ted Kooser poetry books for my father-in-law. The Jeeves series by Wodehouse, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, some David Sedaris books, a historical nonfiction book on Robin Hood, and two science fiction novels by C. J. Cherryh. There are more, but I can’t remember them all.
4. What is it about Firefly that makes you love it? What really sets it apart?
The prices are fantastic. They have a bathroom. There are couches where one can hang out and drink coffee. There’s always excellent music playing – classical or instrumental folk music. While the shop carries brand new books and gifts, most of the store is comprised of tall shelves stuffed with old lovely-smelling books. The store welcomes you to wander and dig and get lost in the collections.