The Best Book Sales of the Summer

We have so many extraordinary libraries in our region and two absolute gems of small, responsive book stores in Oblong Books and Music in Millerton, N.Y., and the Bookloft in Great Barrington, Mass.

But I secretly crave old books. Pre-loved, as Subaru likes to say of their cars.

I like the serendipity of finding a book that it would never have occurred to me to look for. I like finding older books that are no longer in print, and older editions (though they have to be clean and mildew-free). I’ve found many treasures in unexpected places; I won’t bore you with the list. But I will share with you my secret stash of the best summer book sales.

Norfolk Library

The stately beauty of the 1899 building by architect George Keller is reason enough to visit the library in the center of Norfolk, Conn.

An added incentive is the extensive and excellent farm market held on Saturdays in the big field behind and around the corner from the library.

And then there is the annual book sale, held this year on Aug. 27 and 28, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A limited selection of books of better value is displayed in the great hall of the library, priced to sell. On Sunday all the remaining books in the large main tent are free between 2 and 9 p.m.

Norfolk is a town that prizes intellect and culture and so this book sale has an incredibly wide selection of 16,000 new and old books sorted into 25 categories. Don’t miss it.

Goshen Fair

Yes, I know it’s weird but the annual agricultural fair at the fairgrounds in Goshen, Conn., over Labor Day weekend always has a really exceptional book sale, one that my daughter and I particularly look forward to.

Last year, I found lying quietly on the ground, half hidden beneath a table, a selection of paperback novels in French, most of them mysteries starring Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret. There was also a handful of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsene Lupin stories.

My daughter tends toward the obscure and classical, and she always finds books on philosophy and the Ancient Greeks as well as mystery novels (in English).

D.M. Hunt Library

In the town of Falls Village, Conn., there is an online bookseller called Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller. The company generously donates some of its odd lots and overflow to the library, which holds a sale on the first Saturday of every month.

Like a tag sale, this monthly book rummage offers an unexpected array of old and new titles. But they are all in new and generally excellent condition, making this sale an ideal place to stock up on gifts for the holidays (December rolls around fast …).

Cornwall Woman’s Society Rummage Sale

This sale is so big and fabulous that it has to be spread out over four buildings.

I particularly love this sale because it has exquisite little works of art, often painted by talented amateurs, the perfect embellishments for my summer porch.

But there’s oh so much more, including household goods and jigsaw puzzles and a vast selection of used and often very vintage and very high-quality garments.

The book sale, at this point, is expected to be held in the UCC Church parish house on Bolton Street.

The sale will be held this year July 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and July 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monday, July  25, is “fill a bag” and bargain day, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The four sale sites are the UCC Church parish hall, Cornwall Town Hall (fine furniture and art) on Pine Street, Mohawk Mountain Ski Area and St. Peter’s Church.

Hotchkiss Library of Sharon

The stately Hotchkiss Library of Sharon, Conn., does the other used book sales one better by also including a highly anticipated annual book signing under a tent.

This year’s signing will be on Friday, Aug. 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and it will be held next door to the library, at the Sharon Historical Society (the library itself is undergoing a renovation to expand it and make it fully accessible to all users).

The authors are a mix of beloved locals and many nationally known authors who live in Sharon, nearby Litchfield County and the New York City area. Tickets to the signing are $40 and include note only access to 30 authors and illustrators but also cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. That evening there will be four dinners with authors at private homes in Sharon; tickets are $175 per person. All proceeds benefit the library. To order tickets and learn more, go to https://hotchkisslibraryofsharon.org/book-signing-2022/.

Normally, the book signing is followed by a two-day used book sale under the tent next to the library.

This year, no sale is scheduled. The library’s executive director, Gretchen Hochmeister, explained that because of the renovation at the library building there wasn’t room to store the donated books over the past year. The library itself has been borrowing space at the Herbert Klebes American Legion Post building on New Street.

Kent Memorial Library

The Kent Memorial Library in Kent, Conn., has a massive outdoor book sale every weekend (weather permitting) on tables that sprawl out over what used to be the driveway for the firehouse.

There are new and old and very old books in pretty much every publishing genre, at tag sale prices, and you can browse the selection  on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from noon to 5 p.m.

To find out if weather has shut down the sale, call 860-927-3761 or go online to https://www.kentmemoriallibrary.org/2022-annual-book-sale/.

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