“A bookstore is one of the many pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.”
― Jerry Seinfeld
I love bookstores. Used, new, children’s bookstores, I’ll visit them all. And as I’ve started listening to reading podcasts, and following more book blogs, I have compiled quite a list of bookstores that I want to visit. Many of these are scattered across the country, and even in other countries, so my husband may need to get used to planning vacations around bookstore trips! Fortunately, the area where I live is home to many independent bookstores that I can get to in a few hours. So as I check each bookstore off my bucket list, I’ll be sharing my experiences here on the blog.
RJ Julia Booksellers
I first heard about RJ Julia’s on the Just the Right Book podcast, which is hosted by the store’s owner, Roxanne Coady. If you’re looking for a great podcast about books, check out Just the Right Book, along with my other favorite podcasts. The store is located in Madison, CT, on the Boston Post Road. As a kid, I actually spent a few summer vacations in nearby Old Saybrook, and can’t believe I was this close to RJ Julia’s and didn’t know it!
I was able to visit the bookstore last Saturday, and spent some time browsing, and of course, purchasing (You can see what I bought below). My first thought as I walked into RJ Julia’s was, “Ahhh, I’m in book heaven”.
In addition to books, the store carries gift items and other merchandise, but it is primarily (and happily for me) a book store. RJ Julia’s includes a cafe, a large upstairs children’s section, and a “room of one’s own”, where on Saturday a children’s storytime and craft were being held. It is obvious that there’s a huge inventory of books, but it doesn’t feel crowded, even with quite a few shoppers in the store. It’s well lit, and has beautiful wood shelving downstairs. If you can tear your eyes away from the books, look up; the ceiling downstairs is absolutely beautiful.
I loved all the displays; my amateur photography skills do not do the store justice. There were plenty of staff recommended picks, with handwritten explanations displayed alongside the books. There is a section of signed copies of books from recent author visits. You can tell this is a place that writers love as much as readers; pictures of famous visitors line the walls.
And the children’s section? Simply amazing. I was disappointed that I had not brought my sons with me this time (Although there’s an excuse to go back soon!) From the classics to Captain Underpants, board books, nonfiction, and picture books, there is a book for every child in this space. In addition, RJ Julia’s carries activity books, games, and craft projects. The upstairs space feels light, bright, and airy. I loved the Room of One’s Own, and saw several children enjoying the If I Were a Kangaroo story and craft, which was led by the illustrator of the book Anna Raff.
I enjoyed my trip to RJ Julia’s so much and I will definitely be heading back there soon! I have heard great things about their events, which you can check out on their Facebook page.
I have been saying for some time that I need some new totebags, so I’ve decided to buy a totebag from each of the bookstores I visit. (I may end up switching to other merchandise once my totebag stash gets out of control!) So I bought the RJ Julia totebag, which I love because it has a flat bottom. I also bought books, of course! A Gentleman in Moscow you may remember from my 5 Star Books of 2017 post. Saints for all Occasions just came out May 9th, and I was able to get a signed copy of that. And I am embarrassed to admit I have never read Where’d you go, Bernadette?, so I picked up a copy to read on the beach this year. I also bought a few books for my boys, which are not pictured because they were already reading them!
In all, my visit to RJ Julia’s was so enjoyable. If you’re ever in the area, you should check it out too!
Have you ever been to RJ Julia’s? What are your favorite bookstores? Please share in the comments!