Bliss Thru Shopping: Goodbye Mr. Paperback


Mr. Paperback’s new window sign is big and red, its message emphasized with an exclamation point: “Store Closing!”

As if Shopping Siren needed that nudge to get teary.

After years of joy, Mr. Paperback in Lewiston is writing its last chapter. Bookmarking its final page. Turning off its Itty Bitty book light and going to bed.  

Without the happily ever after.

I’ve always loved bookstores. As a child, I’d happily wander their aisles for hours, making friends with Trixie Belden and Ramona Quimby and Encyclopedia Brown. Also, Stephen King. So sue me. I was a little eclectic.

Mr. Paperback reminded me of my favorite childhood bookstores — shelves packed with books, air filled with the smell of paper — but with the addition of gifts and trinkets, delighting the grownup in me. I’m truly sad to see it go.

As far as I know, no date has been set for the store’s closure. An associate there said books might be discounted slightly as part of a closing sale, but most would likely be sent to other Mr. Paperback stores throughout the state (Farmington and Augusta are closest, in case you’re wondering). Gifts will likely get a greater discount, though a decision on that won’t be reached until the end of this week.

In the meantime, some holiday items and other things are already on clearance. Others aren’t, but are well-worth both the price and the trip.

Kind of like an old-fashioned bookstore. Sniffle.

• “A Day with Dad” by Bo R. Holmburg and Eva Eriksson, $7.75 (Regularly $15.99)

Colorful children’s book that follows a day with Tim and his father, who lives in another town. The book is sweet. Poignant. Half off. Hey, Father’s Day is coming.   

• Crocodile Creek lunch boxes, $15.95

Adorable, soft-sided lunch boxes with patchwork designs of dinosaurs, farm animals, zoo animals or butterflies. So cute your kids won’t even notice you swapped their potato chips for carrot sticks. 

• John McCain political magnets, 30 cents

John McCain lost his bid for the presidency a year and a half ago, so some people might chuckle over these campaign magnets and consider them junk. Oh, how wrong those people would be! Think political memorabilia. Think collection. Think selling said political memorabilia collection on eBay in 20 years for quadruple what you paid here! So. Who’s laughing now? 

• “Oh the Places You’ll Go” luggage tag, 99 cents

Luggage tag based on the Dr. Seuss book. Because, oddly, it makes sense.

• American Zen mini desk barbecue set, $10.25

Includes a tiny patio grill, charcoal, lighter fluid bottle, four hot dogs, two hamburgers, watermelon and a trio of barbecue utensils. Warning: will encourage desktop daydreaming …  and drooling.

• Bookmarks, $1.95

Hold your place with Marilyn Monroe, Buddha or a piece of modern art. Can’t decide? Try a plastic bookworm bookmark for 5 cents more. It has googly eyes!

• Lady bug bookends, $21.99

Red and purple lady bug-themed wooden bookends, each with a spot for a tiny photo. Great for a kid’s room or a kid-at-heart’s room. Also, lady bugs rule. 

Best Find: Willow Tree journals, $21.99

Yes, this 152-page journal is expensive. But it’s solid, well-made and simply beautiful, with a dark cover and what seems to be a ceramic mother-and-child medallion on the front. Give it as a gift or use it to pen your memoir.

Think twice: “Brides Behaving Badly: Wild Wedding Photos You Were Never Meant to See,” $4.50

Wild wedding photos you were never meant to see, with good reason. Snapshots are crass at best, vulgar at worst and really not worth $4.50. (Really, really not worth $12.99, this little book’s regular price.) The only saving grace is a local snapshot of a sign for Hussey’s General Store in Windsor: “Guns, wedding gowns, cold beer.” Which is neither crass nor vulgar, but it’s one photo of a hundred or so, thus not redemptive enough. So, save your money and use it to buy a real book. A good book. Maybe a beloved book you first discovered as a child browsing through your own neighborhood bookstore. 

The end.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who still love “Clifford the Big Red Dog” stories at bedtime) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]