I would be truly shocked anyone familiar with Ashland has missed out on Bloomsbury Books. Located downtown Ashland next to Pangea, Bloomsbury is a fixture of Ashland literary life. Although it is smaller than a Barnes and Noble or any other corporate book chain, it has a larger feel than many of the other bookstores in the area don’t have. Bloomsbury carries new books of all genres. To me, Bloomsbury is the biggest little bookstore around. My favorite section downstairs, to the left of the register, is History. Like most Ashland locals I have spent plenty of time inside Bloomsbury throughout the years.
I learned about the history of the bookstore’s name, from the Bloomsbury group of writers who met in the Bloomsbury district of London in the early 20th century. Virginia Woolf, of course, was part of the group and she is the bookstore’s leading logo lady.
Aside from the History section, what I like about Bloomsbury are the great old wood floors you see when you first walk in. For years, on my break at work, I would wander into Bloomsbury every morning to buy The New York Times. The papers were always stacked at the front and often times I would spend two minutes inside, crossing the old wood floors. I liked the sound that they made. Maybe it’s just me but I felt the wood invited literary explorers for a special inside. My second favorite aspect of Bloomsbury is the cute, cozy cafe located on the back wall of the upstairs portion of the bookstore. You have everything you need: a book, food, coffeee and even a treat for the sweet tooth. My fondest memories as an English major were passing time reading novels like Frankenstien and Gulliver’s Travels while enjoying a sandwhich or a chai tea.
Bookstores such as this do not pop up just anywhere. They are big enough to order in specific books, carry a large amount of covers that are in high demand but stay personal enough to be a part of the community and not just another corporate mass. For a community like Ashland is, a bookstore like Bloomsbury is the hub of the literary scene. See you there.