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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Town Books – Grass Valley, California

On a recent trip to California we visited Book Town Books, which is in historic Grass Valley, a town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The map here shows Grass Valley’s location (northern portion near center), other foothills towns, and Calaveras County (shaded pink near bottom). The gold rush was focused in these foothills and many of towns have their roots in the mining activities of the middle and late 1800s. There are many literary links to this area and period. Examples include: Bret Harte and his stories: “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” and “The Outcasts of Poker Flats.” Calaveras County is where Mark Twain set his famous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” This story gained Twain national notice and was the featured story in his first published book, a collection of stories, in 1867.

Although we visited only Book Town Books, the brochure pictured above lists 20 independent booksellers in the area of Grass Valley and Nevada City. Book Town Books is a cooperative with 21 dealers having booths within the building. There is a rare book room and a huge variety of topics are covered within the various booths. Some photos of Book Town Books are shown below.

Although there was not as much focus on collectible first editions as I had hoped, the browsing experience was quite interesting. The books pictured below came home with us. I picked these titles up to read, or reread, and none of them are particularly collectible. Although the 1956 Eric Ambler mystery could fetch a fair amount if it were signed.

Finally, we had an excellent lunch to start our Grass Valley adventure at Cirino’s – see  photo below and                                                            

All-in-all our brief visit to Grass Valley was a completely enjoyable outing.