Thursday, August 23, 2012

Slice of Life: Another Story

(Missed Monday's post because of connectivity issues, but here we are.  I need to establish a queue or something.)

Anyway, off the top of your head, how many independent bookstores can you name?  Around my neck of the woods, there are very few, and most of them are used bookstores.  In fact, I can't think of one that isn't.  There's one large chain bookstore left.

I'm not complaining, though.  I love used bookstores.  They smell like knowledge.  I can't describe it any better than that.  And there's no used bookstore that's quite like Another Story.

From the outside, you might think Another Story is just another house in Allentown, although the words "Another Story" painted on a large side window are admittedly a little suspicious.  Walking up to the front porch, there's a figure wearing one of the store's t-shirts, and it gets me every time - I start to say hello to the guy, then remember that it's just a dummy.

Inside you'll meet John Furphy, who has my nomination for one of the Lehigh Valley's most colorful residents.  He's quirky, he's chatty, and it's hard to not want to talk to him for hours because he has some hilarious stories.  He's also a lover of terrible puns, so you can imagine that he and I get along just fine.

I had heard of Another Story, but I only visited it recently in my quest to sell some valuable hardcovers from the Folio Society.  I wish the place was closer because I sort of want to hang out there every day.  It's at least two rooms deep, with books crammed into every possible space (and even a few that I wouldn't have imagined).  Many of these are really old books, which always make my fingers itch to pick them up and carry them around.  Others are of more modern production, however, and as a confessed bibliophile, they all call out to me.  No matter what you like to read, Another Story can help you.  No, you can't download a file for your Kindle or anything, but you can pick up a solid cover filled with pages and let it take you to another world.

The store's Facebook account is even more fun.  Furphy provides us with all sorts of fun things, like a little contest where you have to decipher the puns that are really the names of authors, or a photo of a set of stairs where all the steps have been painted to look like the spines of books.

The big question, in this uncertain economy, is how long we'll get to have Another Story in our midst.  Business, Furphy admits, has been on the slow side.  That's why I decided to write about it, to get the word out about this awesome place.  Whether you live in the area or just pass through, try to find the time to drop by 524 North 18th Street in Allentown.  It's practically in the backyard of the upcoming Allentown Fair.

More people need to find this hidden treasure in the Valley.  It needs - it deserves - our support.

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