March 2 is National Read Across America Day, and for those who do not already have a stack of unread books on their shelves or night stand, now is the time to head out to the bookstore to find the perfect tome to mark that special day. While the big chain stores do have plenty of books to choose from, smaller, cozier independently owned bookstores are usually much warmer and more welcoming and offer personalized service, especially to repeat customers.

House Of Books
10 N. Main St.
Kent, CT 06757
(860) 927-4104

The House of Books in Kent prides itself on being more than just the average bookstore. It bills itself as a “literary landmark” which offers “quality literature” and books on art, history and politics. The House of Books, however, is not a stuffy old haunt; it quite literally has what it describes as a “vault” packed with children’s books, and the store offers an extensive section of books and guides of interest to the legion of hikers, nature lovers and tourists who frequent this quaint little town on the Appalachian Trail.

The Book Bower
Main Street Market
386 Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 704-8222 

The used book market is strong in Connecticut, and stores that specialize in buying, finding and selling previously owned books do especially well in college towns. The Book Bower in Middletown is one of the best known in the state. It is also a haven for many students, faculty and other members of the Wesleyan community. With over 20,000 volumes on its shelves, The Book Bower prides itself on being able to offer something ideal for almost every reader, and its generous program which allows customers to trade in used books for store credit is just one of the many reasons why customers keep coming back again and again.

Byrd’s Books
126 Greenwood Ave.
Bethel, CT 06801
(203) 730-2973

Independent bookstores pride themselves on being family-friendly, and Byrd’s Books in Bethel is an especially welcoming space for young readers. Byrd’s is a full-service bookstore, but nearly one-quarter of the store has been set aside for children’s books. They also host regular children’s story hours and invite authors of both children’s books and more adult fare to book signings and reading events.

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Bank Street Book Nook
40 Bank St.
New Milford, CT 06776
(860) 354-3865

The Bank Street Book Nook offers something for every reader. There are nice, comfortable and welcoming spots to sit down and curl up with a good book and a helpful and knowledgeable staff to offer guidance and suggestions for the perfect book to take on vacation or sit with by the fire or in bed. If they don’t have the book a customer wants, they can get it quickly and at no extra cost. The Bank Street Book Nook has been a popular spot for readers in New Milford for over 20 years, and as the owner says with pride, it will continue to be “a place where book lovers of all ages can explore the limitless world of literature.”

Diane’s Books
8A Grigg St.
Greenwich, CT 06830
(203) 869-1515

While many bookstores offer their customers shopping baskets to use as they peruse the shelves, Diane Garrett provides her clients with little red wagons. Visitors can pull these wagons around behind them as they go up and down the aisles. The wagons are particularly popular with children and their parents, and Ms. Garrett caters to that demographic by offering three to four times as many books for children and families than the average book store. However, Diane’s Books is not just a children’s bookstore. Last October, Diane’s marked its 25th anniversary, and many of those people who came into her store as children a quarter of a century ago are still coming in to find books for themselves as well as for their children.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at