Though most libraries and bookshops don’t encourage the suspension of disbelief in quite the same way as the magical libraries Disney creates, Moon’s Rare Books in Provo is full of a magic all its own.
Attached to a décor shop, entering Moon’s Rare Books is like going on a small adventure. At first, it’s a little intimidating to walk through a hall filled with glass cases and rich wood frames clasping canvases like treasured gems. As the floor changed from wood paneling to authentic European stone, though, you could feel the air shift. Whimsy and adventure entwine with an air of sophistication to give Reid Moon’s, owner of Moon’s Rare Books, shop a welcoming feel — aided by the pixie-like woman in a button-up, slacks and vest who immediately said hello.
Surrounded by beautifully bound books, beautiful doors lead to small rooms filled with all manner of amazing things, but the experience of a lifetime came from stepping into what Moon calls his inner sanctum. Row upon row of books stood upon ornate shelves, each with a unique story from decades or centuries ago.
Moon started out in the mid-80’s with a passion for books fostered by his family’s small bookstore in Dallas, Texas.
“It was a totally different market back then, but I would track down these books at used bookstores and before long, I was totally absorbed into the books,” Moon said. “It started out, because my budget back then was five and ten dollar books, but as time went on it went $50 books and $100 books, then — after a decade — the occasional thousand dollar book. Now it’s gotten to a level where there’s nowhere up to go.”
When Moon said he had reached the level of purchasing the best books anyone could get, he wasn’t lying. Moon’s Rare Books is home to books so rare, they are only available in his shop and he isn’t shy about sharing their stories. In fact, he welcomes groups to come to his shop for what he called “a kind of show-and-tell.”
Stepping into his inner sanctum, Moon began to point out books on the shelves — a set of Dickens’ works signed by Dickens himself, the first folio of all of Shakespeare’s plays ever compiled. Moon then began to pull books off these shelves, starting with books from Dickens’ own library, before he turned to the large safes against the back wall from which he took a first edition “Common Sense.”
Though Moon specializes in British and early-American literature, his shop isn’t without fun and adventure. With a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” signed by Tolkien himself, a first-edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” signed by an eleven-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, props from “The Hunger Games” movies and pieces of the shop from England and France, Moon has created the bookstore/museum of every bookworm’s dreams.
For students looking for more information on certain topics or someone who enjoys learning in general, Moon also holds free lectures open to the public in his shop.
“Typically the first Monday of every month, except when I’m traveling, which ends up being about ten months out of the year that I do. I’ll sometimes have guest lecturers, we’re going to have a lecture in the next few months on British Literature and it’ll be one of the local professors,” Moon said.
So for a bit of magic experienced only in animated libraries and the opportunity to see some of the most amazing books, take a day trip to Provo and learn about the stories behind Moon’s treasures.