Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Newaygo, Michigan: Bay Leaf Books

Jerry Stratton, February 9, 2016

With a population of under 2,000 the last time anyone checked, you could be excused for thinking there’s not a market for a great used bookstore. It is the definition of a sleepy little town. There are a lot of such towns in Newaygo County, and throughout this area of Michigan. I grew up in one, and it did not have a used bookstore or new bookstore. I got my comic books at the local grocery (which meant I missed a lot of issues in multi-issue stories) and for books I had to wait until we drove into Muskegon to shop at the supermarket there.

However, Newaygo is known for its antique stores that attract tourists, and perhaps that improves the odds of a bookstore making a successful go at it. If you are antiquing in Newaygo and you love books, you should stop into Bay Leaf Books.

The first time I visited them, I found two books on my want list that I’d been looking for for a long time: The Best of Leigh Brackett, and the Best of Frank Russell.

Both times I’ve visited I’ve found books that weren’t on my list but which would have been had I known about them.

They have a very nice science fiction section, as well as a whole lot of other books. They also have a local history section if that sort of thing interests you.

There’s no question, if you enjoy used bookstores, that you’ll want to stop at Bay Leaf when you’re near Newaygo.

Bay Leaf Books
79 State Road
Newaygo, Michigan

Dec. 21, 2016

Close to Critical Hal Clement mass market paperback
Hidden World Stanton A. Coblentz $0.75 mass market paperback
The Nemesis from Terra Leigh Brackett $0.90 mass market paperback
Mutant Henry Kuttner $0.90 mass market paperback
The Shadow of the Torturer Gene Wolfe $0.90 mass market paperback
The Instrumentality of Mankind Cordwainer Smith $0.90 mass market paperback
The Crystal Ship Joan D. Vinge, Marta Randall, Vonda N. McIntyre $0.90 mass market paperback
Forsake the Sky Tim Powers $0.90 mass market paperback
Northwest of Earth C.L. Moore $3.00 trade paperback

Dec. 1, 2015

Green Magic Jack Vance $1.75 mass market paperback
Intellectuals and Society Thomas Sowell $9.00 hardcover

June 9, 2015

Seven Footprints to Satan A. Merritt $1.00 mass market paperback
Conan the Rebel Poul Anderson $1.50 mass market paperback
The Fox Woman & Other Stories A. Merritt $1.50 mass market paperback
The Best of Eric Frank Russell Eric Frank Russell $1.75 mass market paperback
The Best of Leigh Brackett Leigh Brackett $2.00 mass market paperback

While you’re in town, if it happens to be a Tuesday, stop off at the Newaygo Library. At the time I’m writing this (and both times I’ve visited Bay Leaf Books) the library book store was open on Tuesdays from 11 to 2. The Virginia Ciupidro Bookstore isn’t very big, just a small room, but it’s worth stopping at. Due to their limited hours I’ve only been there once, but that day involved picking up four hardcovers, including two by Advise & Consent author Allen Drury.

I generally wouldn’t recommend pulling off of the highway for one, but when you’re already in the area the local public library will often have a decent room of used books for fundraising purchases. And unlike bookstores, libraries usually have web sites.

Virginia Ciupidro Newaygo Public Library
44 N State Rd
Newaygo, Michigan

June 9, 2015

The Reluctant King L. Sprague de Camp $2.00 hardcover
Mark Coffin, U.S.S. Allen Drury $2.00 hardcover
Capable of Honor Allen Drury $2.00 hardcover
Lord Darcy Randall Garrett $2.00 hardcover

In response to The bookstores less traveled: These aren’t the bookstores people travel across the country to visit. But if you’re already traveling across the country, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them.

December 30, 2016: Bay Leaf Books in Newaygo is closing
Final haul from Bay Leaf Books: My final purchase from Bay Leaf Books in Newaygo, Michigan, before it closed.; books; science fiction; fantasy

Latest haul from Bay Leaf Books.

I stopped into Bay Leaf Books over the holidays when I was traveling in Michigan, and discovered that they’ll be closing in “late January or February” 2017, due to health issues. If you’ve been meaning to visit, now is the time.

As you can see from the list of books I bought in December on the original review they still have a great selection—and I didn’t take their only copy of some of those books.

They’ve been a very nice place to visit when I wander up that way; it’ll be sad to see them go, as there aren’t many, if any, good bookstores in the area. Even the Newaygo Public Library’s book sale has closed, although perhaps only temporarily. Like most of the “bookstores less traveled” it was basically run by one person, and that person died. (If you live in the area and you want to see it re-open, consider volunteering.)

At the time I went, Bay Leaf was discounting their books 40%, or 20% for special display items. I don’t know if that’s going to change, as their web site says they’ll continue to sell online and at special events.

And don’t pass up the opportunity to visit any of the bookstores I highlight on The bookstores less traveled. As sad as it is to see a bookstore go, most, if not all, of them are run by one or two people. They will close down sooner or later. Give them your business now to increase the chances that it will be later.

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