Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rabelais: Feed Your Mental Hunger

I am a man of many different passions. For one, I am a voracious reader and own a veritable library of books, an eclectic assortment of thousands of paperbacks and hardcovers. So when I travel, I love to check out bookstores, hoping to find something exciting and interesting. A week does not pass without me purchasing at least one, and usually several new books.

My passion for food and wine is also quite evident. So when you combine my love of books with my love of food and wine, you create something that ignites my passions. On my recent trip to Portland, Maine, I found a place which did exactly this, Rabelais Books. Located a short distance from Duck Fat, this bookstore is a "must stop" for any food and wine lover.

Rabelais Books, which opened in April 2007, is an independent book store owned by Don and Samantha Hoyt Lindgren. Both of them were working in the store when I visited and they both seemed very pleasant and personable. Rabelais has that intimate feel of many other independent bookstores.

The store stocks new, out of print, and rare books on food, wine, beer, spirits, farming, gardening and related topics. Samantha mentioned they were concerned how the large bookstore chains would display many books but for only a short time period. If you did not happen to see the book during this brief time, then you might never learn about it. Samantha and Don wanted to give a longer shelf life to some of those books, even those that were out of print, because they felt those books were interesting and that people would like to buy and read them, if they only knew about them.

Though the store is relatively small, it is still comfortably spacious and filled with plenty of books. The books are easy to check out and most of them are organized by subject. It is the kind of place you could easily spend a couple hours browsing all the selections. I am sure you will find titles here that you probably have not seen anywhere else. I certainly found many that were new to me.

I ended up buying several books, and probably would have bought even more if I had spent additional time browsing their shelves. The diversity of their selections is excellent, and I really love their idea of giving additional life to books that come and go too quickly at large chain bookstores. Plus, you have to appreciate the personal touch you find here, store owners doing it for the passion.
Check out their website for more information about the store, including a list of upcoming events as well as their own blog. I will certainly return here the next time I am in Portland and give it my highest recommendation. If you visit Portland, make sure to stop by.

86 Middle St.
Portland, ME
Phone: 207-774-1044

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