Downtown Books and Purl: Great Books and Fine Yarn
67 Commerce Street
Tucked into a spot on a side street in the small historic town of Apalachicola on the bay of the same name, this bookshop is a rare treat, and a favorite of mine for a good number of years. When I enter and make my way across the smooth, worn floorboards with tables and racks of books on every side, I feel like I’m coming home.
It’s a cozy place. Every way I turn are more books, always displayed in a way that makes them seem presented to me personally. The sections are varied. There are books of local interest, books by southern writers, books on history and geography, and always, favorite fiction and the latest novels. The lively selection of children’s books is not to be missed. Two shelves of cookbooks keeping me browsing even though family and friends are waiting. I find it hard to leave the enchanting spell of the books and the place.
There are baskets, magazines, artwork and more. All is to be enjoyed. And, all is for sale. Some time ago the owner took up knitting and soon the shop was sporting a charming back alcove filled with yarn. If you can take your eyes off the colorful yarns and other knitting accoutrements, you’ll notice the screen door leads out to a lovely garden. The weather has been brisk but the garden is preparing for spring flowers.
Most years I’m able to have a spring visit to this inviting shop. Dale Julian welcomes me, and when asked, she gives me some well-appreciated recommendations. We enjoy talking books. Almost always, I buy poetry here, but this year, it was not to be. I saw Janisse Ray’s latest book (I already own it and her book of poems, too) and Wendell Berry’s new Collected Poems, and more volumes of poetry by Mary Oliver, but opted for other genres this time.
And the new books on my reading pile are:
Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt by Marlena Spieler with photographs by Sheri Giblin. This tantalizing book has lots of information on cheeses, grilling, sources and many other things, along with gorgeous pictures and mouthwatering recipes. They look tasty and out-of-the-ordinary, and I can’t wait to try some of the surprising pairings.
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. Her novel Bel Canto blew me away. Now she has written a memoir about the art and craft of writing, personal experiences and life stories.
The Expats by Chris Pavone. This book is an Edgar Award Winner and a mystery set in Luxembourg with a heroine who uncovers many secrets.
And I also purchased
Remembering Blue by Connie Mae Fowler. This novel is a gift for my hostess. It’s my favorite novel by this author. Fowler writes life in North Florida in a special way. Shrimp boats, Dog Island and more are part of this story. But it is the central characters that tugged at my heart strings. I hope she likes it half as much as I did.
In my eight or ten visits, I’ve always felt like Dale was very glad to see me. I love the books I find here (I saw about ten more books I’d like to own), and the peace I feel among the shelves and the books they hold. Please don’t miss this place if you visit this unique town on the Apalachicola River. Find out more about this one-of-a-kind bookstore and see some notable pictures by visiting the website. The Downtown Books and Purl fuzzy feeling will warm your heart and mind.