Thursday, August 18, 2011


at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara

We were in Santa Barbara today for Rainer's clinic appointment, and we did all sorts of fun things before and after, including a visit to Chaucer's. Independently owned bookstores are getting pretty rare around here these days. We have a used bookstore here in town, and a Barnes and Noble we sometimes go to in Ventura, but this is the only indy bookstore I know of around here. It's always fun for a visit, although I've never been here sans kids, so have never gotten a chance to really linger and look around.

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
The aisles are long and narrow. The bookshelves are wooden and very high. There were a ton of people shopping today--it was hard to get a shot without people in it.

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
The journal section was so appealing.

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
I loved the looks of this book . . .

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
. . . and these fancy notecards . . .

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
. . . and the Miss Read books.

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
The children's section is large and crowded as well.

at Chaucer's in Santa Barbara
I loved the Ragedy Ann stories as a child, did you? I'm still enchanted with the idea of toys having a life of their own, when people are not looking.

bag from Chaucer's

I like this cute logo on the back of the bag.

After the bookstore we went to Gelson's. Dieter and I wanted water (we were not prepared with our Klean Kanteens, alas!) and a Lara bar. Gelson's is a fancy grocery store--it's always fun to go in there and look around. Anyway, there are outdoor tables and chairs in front of the grocery store, and as we came out I saw the cutest eldery couple enjoying a meal together at one of them. They were really old--all white haired and frail looking. She was eating a pasta salad. They had a half gallon carton of Arnold Palmer on the table. He was digging into a pint of Haagen Daaz. I absolutely loved the whole scene and would loved to have stared at them a bit longer and take it all in. I love people watching.


Michele said...

I have learned so much today, almost afraid I've been asleep the past two years. Can you tell me about Miss Read? I am at our library several times a week and haven't see these books but am uber-interested. My daughter is 9.

xoxo michele

Fiona said...

Miss Read! I bought a very battered Penguin copy for 50c at a college book sale. I come back to it time and again for her gentle ramblings.

Michele - the stories are about an anonymous school teacher in England in the 50s. She mourns the demise of the 2 room schoolhouse as comprehensives become more popular. She also records the seasons, village life and student anecdotes with much humour.

Andrea said...

That bookstore looks amazing! What did you buy? We had a very old (or at least it seemed very old) copy of a Raggedy Ann storybook when I was little--I had completely forgotten about it until just now. I wonder what happened to it?

Kristin said...

I can't believe I've never heard of Miss Read books! I just googled it and I bet I would love them. We happen to be going to the library today, so I will see if I can find them.

The bookstore looks charming. I have never seen it in SB- but we often never really get past State St. It sounds like a lovely day.

Mary Beth said...

Michele--I've only read one Miss Read book, but they have a very domestic bent, which I really like. It is about a schoolteacher in England, maybe in the 50's? I'd love to read some more.

Andrea--I bought "A Year of Mornings." I realized that for as much as I love the 3191 project, it was really weird that I don't own their first book. It's beautiful.

Kristin--when you are on State St. in Santa Barbara, just keep going (away from the ocean). It's in a shopping center on the left hand side. You will see the Gelson's and a nursery. It's worth the trip up State Street--such a fun bookstore.

Anonymous said...

Ounds like a good day. I hate when I don't have my water canteens with me. Love them.

denise said...

I love indy bookstores and I hope and pray that they stick around and more will follow. We have a lovely little bookstore here in Houston called the Blue Willow Bookstore. It's in a strip center but as soon as you step in, it oozes charm. Can't wait to check out the Miss Read books. Love stuff like that.

Maiz Connolly said...

I love Chaucer's! Every time I go in there, I am so glad that it is crowded. It is so hard to find independent bookstores. Have you been to Renaud's? It is a bakery right next to Chaucer's, and they have some delicious tarts (sour cherry and pistachio is AMAZING).

Also, the papercut on the cover of that book about papercutting was made by my friend, Elsa Mora! I was so happy to see it here! You can see some of her other beautiful work here:

Such a fun post filled with goodies!

Jen said...

Sounds like such a nice day! I so wish we had an independent book store in my town--preferably within walking distance, with an excellent cafe inside or next door. That's probably asking too much, but I do dream about that!!

kaitlyn said...

just stumbled upon your blog from an archived article of Rhythm Of The Home and was curious to know what town you live in. I live in Ventura and have for the past 21 years.

Mary Beth said...

Kaitlyn--e-mail me!