Thursday, April 19, 2012

Putting the feet up.

I love used bookstores.  If you're a regular reader, you know that.

I love the way the bell tinkles when you enter the place; seriously, every used bookstore worth it's salt has a tinkly bell on the front door.  I like the way the floorboards creak as you walk through the hand-made stacks; the really fun bookstores have unique and want-able prints hanging on the walls.

And I love the smell of those places  They remind me of a big chair, a cuppa, and a soft rain falling on an early fall day.

I like them, because with rare exception, they are family owned businesses and there is a knowledge of all things biblio that each owner, clerk and cashier has.  You can talk at great length on all manner of subjects; I've always learned something.....

Of course, I paid for the knowledge; in the form of used tomes that now sit with honor upon my shelves.  The downside of these great places is that they know what they have; and they price things according to their worth.

Yes, I would like to own a hardcover edition of John D. MacDonald's THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, which introduces Travis McGee.  But I don't want to pay 190 bucks for the privilege.

(That's where Salvation Army stores and Library sales come in handy; oh, the things I've found at Library sales......for a dollar a pound.)

There's nothing quite like finding that rare book you've always wanted to read, or own; and while I do not abhor paperbacks, I prefer the solidity of the hard cover, and the lovely dust jacket.  An old autobiography, written with purple prose and occasional embellishment of memory by some early American actor; the introduction of a standard character, like Cussler's Dirk Pitt, or Ian Flemming's Bond; the end of the run of a beloved character, such as Hercule Poirot.

And occasionally, if you're lucky, you find one autographed.  I have a collection of Murray Schisgal plays autographed by the author.

In the final analysis, it's true that men, for the most part, are not fond of shopping; we are "get in/get out" types (keep it out of the gutter, people!).  But I could spend hours upon hours perusing the stacks.....

So, a special thanks to the following bookstores for putting up with me:

John K. King's Books in Detroit, MI.
Joseph Beth's Bookstore in Lexington, KY.
Leon's Quality Books in San Luis Obispo, CA.
The late, lamented Border's chain.
The Exchange in Siesta Key, FL
Snowbound Books in Marquette, MI.
The late, lamented Copperfield and Co.'s chain.
221 Books in Los Angeles, CA.
WH Smith's in London.
The Book Rack in Mesa, AZ.

And the library sales all over the country.


trhwrite said...

You got me thinking with this one today, Clemo. I always stop by The Book Stop when I'm in Quincy, but now I go to the magnificent Strand Bookstore here in NYC. (Not to mention all the vendors you can find on the city streets in summertime.)

If you haven't, you might want to check out my blog, The Mouldy Book, sometime.

Misti Ridiculous said...

I would love a day in a bookshop with you.
see? craving a reunion. CRAVING.

Gertrude said...

I was considering getting rid of the majority of my books... now, no. Thank you for reminding me. Book Lure. It was my first love.
I still long for a hardcover first of Anne's Interview. I believe it will come to me someday. Every John Irving book I wanted did. Tom Robbins. John Updike.
Its a dying art... the collecting. At one time in my life... I thought I'd die with it.