News

UNH’s The New Hampshire: Avenue Victor Hugo Books finds a new life in Lee

Ciarra Annis of The New Hampshire, the independent student paper of the University of New Hampshire, helped to introduce Avenue Victor Hugo to the campus community:

On the corner of George Bennett and Lee Hill Road in Lee, there sits a little red building that used to be a barn. Where once it might’ve been used for storing tools, now it’s a treasure trove of used books of all genres.

Read more at tnhdigital.com.

The Boston Globe’s New England Literary News

From The Boston Sunday Globe literary column:

The storied, atmospheric Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore lived on Newbury Street for nearly three decades before a rent hike (to $25k/month) forced the shop to shutter in 2004. For author and owner Vincent McCaffrey, re-opening sometime, somewhere was always the plan. And now, fifteen years later, it’s happened, this time, in an old barn in Lee, New Hampshire, where he and his wife now live.

Read more from this piece by Nina MacLaughlin at bostonglobe.com.

The Bookseller’s Dilemma

Booksellers are a lot like actors. It is a cliche that actors will too often assume they are capable of the accomplishments of the characters they portray and come to believe that they know what a character actually felt. Booksellers often see themselves as possessing the wisdom that is in the books they sell, whereas they only possess the books. The playacting of children is in many ways a rehearsal for the actions of adults. The empathy felt by the reader will often extend into everyday life. That is the power of books, just as it is the wonder felt by an audience in suspended disbelief watching a portrayal in a movie or on the stage. read more…

On opening a bookshop

Opening a bookshop is akin, in some minds (my own, for instance), to opening a show—a sheerly theatrical event. There is no chance in hell that you will make much in the way of profit. There is a very slim chance of it succeeding longer than the requisite three year term limit for most new businesses. It is done out of hubris. Because you can. And you must. read more…

Second Saturday

Our second Saturday was more like what I imagine and hope most will be. Before, after, and between sales I had time to do a bit of cataloguing, some straightening of shelves, and a little cleaning. It is important to me that this be the way it works. No need to rush. I had enough of that on Newbury Street when, even on slow says, all the customers we did have would come in waves. It’s actually possible to have a conversation in our little barn in Lee. And to have a second thought. When asked for an author I don’t know, I can use the plastic and digital marvels of the twenty-first century while sitting in this eighteenth century post and beam, and learn something new.

One customer asked about a novel he remembered fondly from his youth that might be called ‘Come Spring.’ He told me it concerned early settlers on the coast of Maine. I looked that up on the magic screen and discovered there were many novels with those words in the title but only one that fit, written by the fine but sadly neglected author, Ben Ames Williams. Williams I knew. He was a favorite in my own youth, but I had never read Come Spring.

read more…

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