Of Interest – Eulogy to Book Haven, Monterey, California

January 6, 2013 § 2 Comments

My favorite book shop closed its doors last year, and I mentioned that I would devote a special post to its memory. Well, this is that post. I’ve since discovered that another gentleman, a Mr. Matthew Sundt, has purchased the business and rechristened it Old Captiol Books, so I’m pleased to hear that the store’s core remains. However, I still want to devote space to giving Book Haven a proper eulogy.

Book Haven was a magical place. It was the realization of the perfect dream bookshop for me. Tons upon tons of books, many classics, many Heritage Press and Limited Editions Club titles, and super-friendly proprietors. It was a delight to step inside and experience the wonder of books. It was where I purchased my very first LEC, Man and Superman. I would go on to purchase The House of the Dead, The Oresteia, Three Men in a Boat, The Three-Cornered Hat, Saint-Simon’s Memoirs, Far from the Madding Crowd, and Twenty Years After. All had the same number, #403, which I think is pretty nifty. Hopefully, Old Capitol is still selling some of the remaining stock so I can continue to expand upon those.

Heritage Press books were a huge part of the store’s classic inventory, and I ran off with many of their better selections, including the original issuing of Manon Lescaut. Along with that, my Heritage collection from Book Haven included Resurrection, The Nibelungenlied, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Elegy Written from a Country Churchyard, The Birds and the Frogs, The House of Seven Gables, The Possessed,  A Journal of a Plague Year, and The Ambassadors. I also got my Heritage Saint-Simon from them. Their prices were quite reasonable, $10 – 15 for a book, depending on condition and completeness.

The owners were a delight to discuss books with, too. We had a few really amazing conversations about their LEC history (including hearing about the lovely Fahrenheit 451), and they were kind enough to help us out when another local bookshop’s buyer was absent on a trip, taking a look at our books and giving us money for some of them with little warning.

So, while the shop lives on as Old Captiol, the memories of Book Haven will always be ingrained in my mind. I wish prior owners Guy Rodriguez and Jerry Welling the best in their retirement, and look forward to checking out the new shop to see how Mr. Sundt runs his business.


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§ 2 Responses to Of Interest – Eulogy to Book Haven, Monterey, California

  • Robert says:

    I’m happy to see it will remain a bookstore for now, and not become another Starbuck’s. The days of the brick & mortar bookstores are fast nearing an end, I fear, and that is disastrous news for booklovers. My own love of fine press books was cultivated by the owners of a long-closed bookstore in Kansas City, where I saw my first LEC volumes (at that time I was a member of the Heritage Club). I’m not sure whether the internet, for all its advantages, will ever provide such an impetus for book collecting as a physical bookstore, where one can actually see the books.

    • Wildcat-Lvl says:

      Indeed. I’m glad Monterey continues to have four shops. Both of the new independent bookstores I have worked at closed their doors last year. It’s a strange time for book shops. I concur that there’s nothing quite like a physical bookstore to discover books. The smell, the touch, the sight…it’s a magical thing the Internet can never replicate.

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