I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that, strangely, no one had ever thought of bottling.
CARLOS RUIZ ZAFON
If I had to credit one thing for my obsessive love of bookstores, I think I’d have to trace it back to watching Beauty and the Beast when I was little. There is definitely video footage (which I will NOT be sharing here) of me stomping around the living room in my bright yellow Belle gown, a basket containing a book swinging wildly on my arm, singing at the top of my lungs about how there must be more than this provincial life. I remember being just as swept away with wonder as Belle was when the Beast revealed his extravagant library. Couple that with years of reading Harry Potter, idolizing Hermione Granger, and dreaming about the magnificence that is the Hogwarts Library and you’ve got a bonafide bookworm, but more than that, a beautiful bookstore and library fanatic.
So, considering all that, you can imagine that when An Unlikely Story opened in Plainville, MA, I was determined to visit as soon as possible and dragged the family along with me.
Look how amazing this place is! It was so incredible that we couldn’t even fit everything into one post, so stay tuned for Part 2 about their wonderful café!
Located in downtown Plainville on the site of the historic Falk’s Market, An Unlikely Story is a wonderful bookstore, café, and event space that has quickly become a nerve center of the Plainville community. Its owned by Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid illustrated children’s book series, and his wife, Julie, and you can see little references to his books hidden around the building.
Unfortunately, the original building which dated back to 1850s had fallen into such disrepair that the Kinneys had to raze the structure and instead built a reproduction of the building. However, they wanted to preserve the sense of history and local flavor of the previous Falk’s Market and used lots of reclaimed building materials to infuse the new space with lots of warmth and character. The books are also all creatively displayed on various antique carts, benches, and tables scattered around the space alongside sturdy wooden bookshelves. The end result is a welcoming, open space with gorgeous exposed beams, huge windows, and endless charm.
One of my favorite things about our visit was seeing all the families that had chosen to spend their Saturday exploring a bookstore. With all the little benches and stools dotted around, they really invite you to curl up with a good book and many parents and children were taking them up on the offer.
As an added bit of magic for kids and adults alike, when you walk in above your head there are flying books and a Harry Potter-themed broom race suspended from the ceiling leading you on a wild chase in pursuit of the ever elusive golden snitch.
In addition to books, An Unlikely Story also carries an eclectic mix of little gifty items: mini piñatas, color-changing umbrellas (which I was seriously tempted to buy), novelty socks, cards, magnets, felt flags, and a bunch of other fun things to explore.
About a third of the space is also dedicated to a small cafe which we’ll tell you more about in Part 2 of this post . Why is it that coffee and books go together so beautifully? Its just perfection.
In addition to An Unlikely Story, just upstairs is the Second Story where they host community events like local theater productions, yoga classes, ballroom dancing, workshops, karaoke, wine tasting, and game nights, as wells as private functions.
In the front of the building, there is also a wonderful, large front porch with benches and chairs that you can use to sit down and enjoy your new book outdoors in nice weather. This Unlikely Bookstore is definitely one for the books!
Monday – Saturday: 9am – 9pm
Sunday: 9am – 6pm
An Unlikely Story
111 South Street
Plainville, MA 02762
There is a dedicated parking lot in the rear of the building and also a second lot located across the street.