Of Ballads and Bookstores

Posted by: on May 27, 2011 | One Comment

If you’re anything like me, you revel in old bookshops.  Although in an unlikely location, Saratoga Springs’ Lyrical Ballad Bookstore is one of the finest bookshops I have ever had the privilege of entering.  Barring those containing mostly first editions and autographed manuscripts which would strip me of more coin than a vintage Bugatti, it might be the finest.

It’s times like these I wish I had an extremely wide-angle lens.  But then again, once surrounded by the smells of leather and paper, spending money on a hunk of glass seems pretty bad economy.  Thus I apologize for the lack of pictures, my paltry descriptions will have to suffice for now.

Upon first entering, Lyrical Ballad is unassuming enough.  Two medium sized rooms, and as most used bookstores have, there are books piled on almost every piece of floor or fixture which can accommodate them.  And then you walk down the hall.  Quickly you realize you’ve gotten yourself into much more than you thought.  It turns out the bookstore was built in 1971 after the Saratoga Bank closed and no longer needed its basement.  This included the vault.  So, now, safely tucked in dark corridors, low-ceilings passages, and behind two-inch-thick iron bars are a different kind of loot.  I counted at least a dozen complete sets of the Waverley printed before 1910, too many volumes of Byron to count, and more than a handful of Dickens collections.

Yes, this is all standard Ye Olde Bookshop fodder, but it doesn’t end there.  In fact, things are just getting interesting.  If you wander to the back, past the poetry wall, the stacks of nineteenth and twentieth century prints, the vintage maps, and the ornithological diagrams, you’ll find an old cabinet containing what might be the most apropos piece in the shop.  Staring back at me from behind the glass was an 1883, full-size folio of The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, complete with Gustave Doré’s brilliant prints.  It was an overcast day, and even by the front of the shop I couldn’t get a decent picture.  But, if you’ve never seen these larger than paperback-size, I highly recommend seeking them out.  And with that, have a very Romantic weekend.

1 Comment

  1. Simply Refined » Not-So-Haute Horlogerie » Simply Refined
    June 3, 2011

    [...] digging through piles of books and magazines on antiques at Lyrical Ballad the other day I stumbled upon a lone volume from the Encyclopédie that just so happened to be the [...]


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