Cape Eye on Books: A Visit To Where The Sidewalk Ends

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Located toward the east end of Main Street in Chatham, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a mother-daughter-owned bookstore that could be named The Welcoming Place. Everything about the store, from the friendly and helpful staff to the cozy chairs by the fireplace and the outdoor seating where customers can sip coffee ensures that the visitor feels cared for and welcome. The adjacent Children’s Annex, filled with books and toys, is equally inviting. “We are pet friendly and child friendly,” says a staff member. “Everything except ice cream cones.”

Owners Joanne Doggard and Caitlin Doggart-Bernal made alife-long dream a reality when they opened the store in 2005 and together they work to bring their love of books to the community.

“My parents absolutely cultivated a love of reading in our family,” Caitlin said.  “I’m one of four daughters and both of my parents read aloud to us frequently, and my mother was particularly active in making sure we were often at bookstores and libraries, and signed us up for the reading challenges at the Eldredge Library as well! I still have a friend from that program.”

Joanne read aloud to her children well past the age of our “needing” it.”  “I think that is particularly special for parent-child bonding,” said Caitlin. “I’m implementing it now with my own 9 year-old, who is perfectly capable of reading on her own, but we both enjoy the snuggling up and reading her chapter books together aloud.  My mother even had to hide books in a little closet she had, because she wanted to save some particularly coveted titles for vacation for us…and I know this because I FOUND them and READ them and then had to act surprised and read them again when she presented them to me! Just wonderful memories and it makes it all the more poignant to be 11 years into working with her at our own indie bookstore, which was a dream of ours for years before we had the opportunity to make it happen.”

Perhaps that was the inspiration for the Story Time the bookstore hosts every Wednesday at ten during the summer and the Fancy Nancy Tea Parties on Tuesday at the Captains House Inn also throughout the summer. And for adults there is their ever popular Literary Luncheons at the Wequassett Resort.

Throughout the bookstore are tables with the staff picks. Below are five picks that Caitlin selected for summer reading.

  1. PAX by Sara Pennypacker. This is the most important book I’ve read in years. It reminded me of those big, soul-changing novels that were so influential in childhood (Where the Red Fern Grows, The Yearling, Bridge to Terabithia) and I was amazed at how she was able to keep the story devoid of a particular time and place – it made it instantly universal. A story of the costs of war, particularly on children. It’s brilliant and beautiful. The chapters alternate between that of a 12 year-old boy and his domesticated fox, Pax, who he had raised from an orphaned kit until he was compelled to release him back into the wild when his father enlists. The fox chapters are amazing. Everyone should read this book if they haven’t yet. It’s for kids, middle-grade readers ideally, but powerful for adults as well.
  1. THE NEST, Cynthia Sweeney. What happens when four siblings lead their adult lives banking on an inheritance that is ultimately used to pay off a tragic mistake one of them makes? It’s a compelling plot, and Cynthia Sweeney really captures the diverse ways siblings relate both to each other and their spouses, and their relationships to money.
  1. RICH AND PRETTY by Rumaan Alam. Amazing debut novel, and stunning that it was written by a man. I’ve never encountered such a rich and nuanced description of adult female friendship. It takes place in contemporary NYC and follows two women, as close as sisters through much of their adolescence, as their adult lives take shape and their friendship changes.  Beautiful descriptions, vivid characters – it has it all.
  1. THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME by Dan Cluchey. A deeply philosophical novel by a former Obama-administration speechwriter. (full disclosure: we did host him at our July 14th Literary Luncheon – he was also a funny and engaging speaker!)

    This debut novel is full of clever interior musings by protagonist lawyer Leo Brice as he simultaneously has to deal with a devastating breakup and work to save an inmate on death row. Reading it was like being inside your most clever and energetic friend’s brain for a while. Completely absorbing!

  1. BRILLIANT BEACONS by Eric Jay Dolin (also a luncheon author, great non-fiction)

    This is a gorgeous book, both in its writing and its package – the cover, the feel of the pages, the pacing of the illustrations, etc. While it’s about lighthouses, it pulls in SO much fascinating history – the economics of the time, scientific discoveries, politics, and vivid personal stories. It made me realize what a colossal endeavor it was, and just how critical it was, to have these structures built and built in particular ways. Eric Jay Dolin really brings to life the history behind many Massachusetts locations as well. It’s compelling non-fiction – very engaging.

  1. Oh gosh, I’m going to throw on a 6th. You can pick and choose – I can’t “cut” now that I’m on a roll…..this is fun!

    MY HEART ROCKS by Amy Dykens. It’s a beautiful picture book of heart-shaped rocks with poetic stories and thought-provoking musings paired with each. It’s exquisite, and organized by theme. Great for all ages, wonderful as a gift book – my family was transfixed flipping through it. Amy Dykens really has an eye for the exceptional beauty that surrounds us and that we walk past every day without seeing.

Next week we will be talking with Ann Hood about her new novel THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST.

Information on this store can be found below!

Where the Sidewalk Ends
Bookstore & Children’s Annex
432 Main Street
Chatham, Mass. 02633

What are you reading this summer? Please join the conversation.

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Hyannis, MA 02601
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