Curiosities

Bookstores: Aquatic and Secret

By posted at 9:13 am on July 15, 2011 1

In Karen Russell‘s Swamplandia!, there is an enchanting place known as the abandoned Library Boat. “It held a cargo of books,” Ava Bigtree explains, “In the thirties and forties, Harrel M. Crow, a fisherman and bibliophile, had piloted the schooner around our part of the swamp delivering books to the scattered islanders. Then Harrel M. Crow died and I guess that was it for the door-to-door service. But his Library Boat, miraculously, had survived on the rocky island, unscavenged, undestroyed by hurricanes. It was an open secret, utilized by all our neighbors.” Now something similar has moored in England’s canals. And, across the Atlantic, one New Yorker is keeping his own open secret.

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One Response to “Bookstores: Aquatic and Secret”

  1. Steve Himmer
    at 9:42 am on July 15, 2011

    There’s also a boat full of books in Michael Crummey’s terrific recent novel GALORE, and a character eager to save the collection from drowning. It’s a kind of unofficial secret aquatic library, in its way.

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