As students, we always have enough to read, whether it is the next four chapters of your microeconomics textbook or 200 pages of the manuscript that you can barely lift. No one wants to recline on their bed Saturday afternoon with a cup of hot chocolate and Level Three Calculus Edition VIII. The fact of the matter is that the pleasure of reading gets lost in our busy day-to-day schedules. But if you need a stress buster or just something to rekindle your old-fashioned love of books, there are plenty of opportunities around Vassar to do so.
If you’re up for a drive, Oblong Books & Music is a little over half an hour away in Rhinebeck. This is one of two locations in New York, the other being in Millerton. Since 1975, it has persisted as the largest independent bookstore in the Mid-Hudson Valley. In addition to a bevy of books and music for all ages and interests, they offer events for the region’s bookworms.
Coming up this month, local author Jennifer Donnelly will present a presentation of her book, “A Northern Light,” at Clinton Community Library. David Leeming will also be talking about his book, “James Baldwin: A Biography,” to celebrate Black History Month at Oblong’s Rhinebeck location.
If you need an adventurous idea for Valentine’s Day, journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz Lisa A Phillips, will be at Oblong talking about her latest book, “Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession.”
In the past, Oblong has hosted book launches and signings from both regional and national authors. But if you’re just looking to buy books and not looking to move too far to do so, Oblong does have an option to order online, and it also sells eBooks.
Another bookstore that offers online ordering is the Inquiring Minds Bookstore. This independent bookstore, located in New Paltz, is the largest independent bookstore in the Hudson Valley. Their website states, “No matter what you love, we have the book for you.” In addition to their own author events, Inquiring Minds also offers book selections from the American Group Psychotherapy Association (APGA) Conference and the AAPCS booklist. They offer books from a wide range of genres, however, and are happy to serve their customers.
For a completely different experience, and one closer to home, The Bookworm is an independently owned bookstore located about ten minutes away from Vassar. It is a bookstore that recycles books, so allowing you to purchase used books and use your unwanted books as currency.
The store will give you credit for 25 percent of the publisher’s original price for every book that you donate, and everything The Bookworm sells is half-off cover price. That means you won’t have to worry about spending all of your dwindling money at the Bookworm, even if you leave the store with stacks on stacks on stacks. The Bookworm carries hardcovers and paperbacks of any genre, from classics to contemporaries. You’re cautioned to buy only one or two books by popular authors, however, so they can maintain their stock.
The Bookworm carries the ambiance of a small-town, low-key bookstore. The location is a modest building located along Route 376, but, once inside, though, you’ll find yourself in literary heaven surrounded by thousands of books. Handmade signs points you toward what you’re looking for, or the staff, who has personally chosen every book on their shelves, can guide you in the right direction. Those lucky enough to have tracked this bookstore down have found a new go-to spot to do their book shopping.
Closest to home, of course, is the Three Arts Bookstore next to Babycakes Cafe. Because of its small size, students receive personalized service and leave with a book selection handpicked by the owner.
Besides books, they sell postcards, old maps, some magazines, prints and watercolors of historic Vassar images.
Many professors choose to order their course texts to the Three Arts, as they can be helpful in finding older, more obscure books there that they wouldn’t be able to find anyplace else. Not to mention that you can dig into your books as soon as you buy them because of the Three Arts’ proximity to campus and the dorms, or you can walk right over to Babycakes and settle down with a cup of something warm.
Getting into a good book can sometimes be vital in the dead of winter at Vassar. On the off chance that snow will get a class canceled, you’ll wish you had something other than a textbook to read.