When I sit down to read, I generally take a cup of coffee with me. When I sat down at Books & Beans recently in Southbridge, it was as if they read my mind. The wall was lined with books and the counter offered coffee and other essentials. The books ranged from novels to non-fiction, with some occasional text books thrown in. Mostly hard-cover books, but a nice selection of paperbacks too.
The shop shares space
with a printer and a shipper
Books and Beans is one of many activities associated with The Center of Hope located at 100 Foster Street, Southbridge, MA. The bookshop and café are nearby at 100 Central Street. The bookshop is located in a printing and shipping store, which also provides employment opportunities for clients of The Center of Hope. The shop is a great example of multi-purpose merchandizing.
The first book I spotted was The New Deal by Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. The book examines aspects of what brought about the New Deal and how its impact affects us today. The next book that caught my eye was Unstuck in Time by Gregory Sumner, a journey through Kurt Vonnegut’s Life and Novels. This examination of 15 of Vonnegut’s novels is a scholarly look at his work by an obvious fan.
Both books were published in 2011 and had a combined cover price of $57.95. Even at the standard 20 percent off at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough, the cost of $46.36 for these two books would keep them off my reading list. But at $2 each at Books & Beans, it was definitely today’s bargain buy.
I am a firm believer in the value of browsing independent bookstores and places such as Books and Beans because I tend to find books I didn’t know I was looking for. Take Patriotic Treason by Evan Caron, the story of John Brown and the fight for equality. This book was published in 2006 and I was not familiar with it. But, for $2 at Books & Beans, I am saved.
The books are donated by supporters of The Center of Hope and the customers who buy them are in fact, making a donation, not really a purchase. The non-profit organization has been an important part of the community since the foundation was established in the 1950’s and continues its mission today.
Did I mention the coffee was less than $2? That’s a good day.