Saturday, January 17, 2015
Gramp's Attic Books in Ellicott City
My friend came in from Boston last weekend, so we naturally went to explore all the bookstores around my newish domicile.
I'd noticed Gramp's Attic Books before, but never had occasion to venture inside. What a treat I was missing!
Gramp's Attic Books is an apt name, if your grandfather was the sort to value really fine editions of classic novels, or the type to gather vast collections on rifles, American history (emphasis on the Civil War and World War II), bookbinding, and London, respectively.
Although relatively small, Gramp's Attic Books boasts an extremely well-curated stock. Most of the books in the store itself (there's a couple shelves of mere paperbacks in the anteroom) are hard covers, and all are in excellent condition. I would not be surprised if there were a majority of first and second editions. If your tastes run to classics and the aforementioned collections, you might never want to leave. There are handsome caches of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Nabokov, Cather, and other lesser known greats of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Even if you already own the books, there's probably a charming hardcover edition that you would salivate over nonetheless.
This is a real book collector's store, and as such, its wares are more expensive than some other, less organized, less scrupulous used bookstores. However, there are still some finds and steals if you look carefully. I'm very pleased with my own purchases (pictured below). For once, my selections are quite representative of the stock: a handsome hardcover of Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools, and two paperback collections from book lover and The Washington Post Book World writer Michael Dirda. I'm halfway through Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments right now, and Dirda's addiction to books and their ephemera is very much in keeping with the spirit of Gramp's Attic Books, even if the books themselves do not live up to the general aesthetic.
While I'm not suggesting you drop everything and fly here from Boston, if you ever find yourself in Ellicott City, MD, Gramp's Attic Books is well worth a look, especially (or most dangerously) for the connoisseur.