SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — This is a book store that offer just what its name “Rarities” implies — hard-to-find, old, out-of-print and sometimes rare books that even modern Amazon would never stock.
“We have vintage, antique and ‘gently loved’ books. The only new ones we have are from local authors,” said owner Kelly Allen-Kujawski.
This weekend will be the grand opening for the store —the opened its doors in June — and will feature at least 18 of those local authors who will meet visitors to say hello and sign books.
They will rotate in and out of the small 396 Main St. store Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to mid-afternoon.
Allen-Kujawski said that she has hundreds of old books that she has obtained from Allison B. Goodsell, Rare Books at the Kingston Hill Store. Goodsell has closed her store, but Allen-Kujawski learned the trade from her before the doors shut.
Knowing the trade meant having a place to practice it.
“I wanted to be in an area that has local traffic and foot traffic. It’s been working out beautifully,” she said about relocating this kind of store from rural Kingston to the busier downtown Wakefield. The store will also provide bindery services as well.
A book binder by trade, she said, “I always wanted to also incorporate old books of an antique vintage in having a store.”
Theresa Schimmel is a South Kingstown author who also enjoys old books. She’ll be signing copies of her own works during the weekend.
“I’m excited about being one of the local authors for Rarities’ grand opening! It’s a unique bookstore with some real gems for browsing and purchase. I love the fact that Kelly is featuring local authors,” she said.
“Writing is a solitary activity, requiring time and commitment, but for me, it’s a labor of love and I look forward to sharing my books with the patrons of Rarities,” Schimmel said.
Her books include “Sunny,” which is the story of Mandy, a child in foster care. She is given a new puppy by a kind neighbor, Mr. Johnson. But Mandy, still struggling with the emotional loss of her own family, tries to bring the puppy back to its mother.
Mr. Johnson helps her to understand that the puppy needs her just as Mandy needs Mama Rose, her foster mother. Endorsed by the National Foster Parents Association.
“David’s War, David’s Peace” is two books in one about conflict and peacemaking.
The book is designed for elementary and middle school children to read independently or with their teacher or parent. Its purpose is to help children to see the consequences of war and the possibilities of solving conflict through nonviolent strategies.
“The Carousel Adventure” is a chapter fantasy adventure book featuring the Watch Hill Carousel in Rhode Island.
Thora and Otto visit the carousel and retrieve the brass ring, only to discover that it has magical powers that take them on exciting adventures into the historical panel paintings on the carousel. It is a chapter book for ages 8-12 years-old.
Another local author stopping by will be mystery writer Claremary Sweeney of South Kingstown. Both she and Schimmel will visit the store Saturday, Sept. 4, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Sweeney, a former school administrator, has written five installments in a self-designed “South County Mystery Series.”
“Last Train to Kingston” is centered around Kingston and West Kingston, “Last Rose on the Vine” has links to the University of Rhode Island and “Last Carol of the Season” is based in Wakefield.
“Last Sermon for a Sinner” draws on Peace Dale and “Last Castle in the Sand,” involves Matunuck, Narragansett and North Kingstown.
Her next book, “Last Walk in the Park,” set in Westerly, will be available this November, she said.
“Each modern mystery features a local village or town and the main characters, Detective Kara Langley and her friends, are developed throughout the series. I include photos of settings and some historic background at the end of every book,” Sweeney said.
She added, “I look forward to walking into town and visiting Rarities regularly. It will be another welcome local business right in the center of the village.”
That captures, said Allen-Kujawski, the essence of her dream.
“I have a deep love of books. I grew up as an avid reader. There is nothing like holding a books. It’s very different from reading it on an electronic device. Every town needs a book store on its Main Street,” she said.