Farewell to Second Look Books

In 2001, when we decided to move from northern Virginia to a semirural county in southern Maryland, I had some concerns. Sure, on the positive side the school system was one of the best in the state (we had a 2 year old at the time), our new home sat on a big, nicely wooded lot, the community was nice, and we were near the town center, so we had quick access to grocery stores and various small shops and eateries. All of this was great. But I had one critical concern: What about a bookstore? I mean this was a serious concern for me. Being a guy who enjoys books I was hoping I’d have somewhere near-by to satisfy my desire to browse, thumb pages, and read bits of prose in search of a good book.

(Photo by Gary Deshotel)

Well, I got lucky. Not long after we moved in, while shopping in the town of Prince Frederick, not far from our new home, I came across a used bookstore. There, in big letters, was the sign: “BOOKS.”

Just a tad bit excited about my find, I immediately headed over to check it out. Now, having a used bookstore is great, but the real test is the owner’s inventory preferences.

I couldn’t have been more pleased. The inside of Second Look Books was a charming and quaint little bookshop with a large selection of books from a broad range of genres. As it would be for years to come, a perfect place to spend a half hour browsing while my lovely wife bargain shopped at other stores.

Second Look Books, center section (Photo by Daniel Cleary)

The bookshop was owned by Richard and Liz. Two very nice people who know their books and are just great people to chat with. Over the years my wife and I got to know them pretty well and enjoyed a number of conversations about books and kids and various other topics. Their bookshop was a valuable part of our community. I have dozens of books I’ve bought from them over the years and, more importantly, a lot of great memories from their charming little bookshop.

Well, this past October, after about 3 decades in business, they closed Second Look Books. We were, of course, saddened by the news. Their children are grown and doing very well and it was time for them to move on to other projects in life.

My wife and I stopped by after the store had closed down and Rich and Liz were cleaning up and tearing down shelves. We talked for a while and raised a toast (we brought wine) to them and to the fond memories of Second Look Books.

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