Happiness is finding a new used-book store...

I've been visiting my daughter and her family this past week and it's been the closest thing I've had to a vacation in a long time. Sleeping in, reading books, being goofy with my granddaughters and playing solitaire online. So peaceful. So relaxing. And a room of my own! And on top of all that, I discovered a used-books store just up the road. The guy at the counter is a bit of a curmudgeon but then, nothing's perfect. And when he saw I was buying 4 books, he lightened up a little.

I bought a small book of dog stories by James Herriot for my younger granddaughter and something for her older sister but I can't for the life of me remember the title. It's something girly with a pink cover and she seems quite happy with it.

While they were choosing their books I found about 20 I wanted, but I managed to beat myself into submission and buy only two. I got a nice copy of Anna Karenina, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I started reading it today, but I suspect it's going to take awhile to get through the 817 pages. It's one of the books on my Guilt List so I'm feeling quite happy with myself for buying it.

My other purchase was The Cellist Of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, one of the books I'm reading for the Canadian Book Challenge hosted by John at The Book Mine Set. The curmudgeon said it was one of the best books he'd ever read (and I got the impression he's not so easy to please). At 250 pages, it looks like a baby sitting next to the Tolstoy; and with fairly large print and wide margins all around, it should be a quick read.

I wanted to start The Cellist right away, but didn't think it wise to put off starting Anna because I might keep putting it off indefinitely. I've been known to set aside the hard stuff till "later" a point in time that may never arrive. I'll probably read Anna for awhile and keep the other for when I need a break from that.

Really, is there anything better than a used-books store, the smell and the connection with other readers who have held these books in their hands before you? It's a treat just to walk into one, and walking out with a great find in your hands is even better.

So tell me about your favorite used-books store. Is there a great one in your town? Or someplace special you make a point to visit when you're in another area? Or do you prefer the big bookstores full of shiny new books?


Eclectic Indulgence said...

Each used book store has a unique character to it, so it's really hard to rate one over another. That said, it is very easy to partition them into three groups:

1. Bad Book Stores
Either they are so messy you can't find anything, or the people who work there drive you insane.

2. Good Book Stores
Places that are eclectic that you just love walking into for whatever reason. The old ones feel like home and the new ones give you a sense of excitement.

3. Bookstores you don't trust yourself in
This could be all bookstores, but the ones I am talking about is where you walk in and either instantly want five books before you even get to your favourite section, or places where you have a favourite section that always does you in. I like leather books, so I'm quite frequently done in if I find a place with a good selection and good prices (it's usually one or the other).

Two other points.
1) I love the word " curmudgeon".
2) Anna K is on my guilt list too...

Christopher said...

I love used book stores, and as pointed about above, some are better than others. I make a point of visiting used book stores in any town that I visit, and I have definitely found some real treasures.

If you're ever in the Tucson, Arizona area, do make sure and stop into one of the "Bookman" stores. They are truly fabulous! Haslam's in St. Petersburg, Florida is pretty darned awesome too! Both of these fall into 'Eclectic Indulgence's' Category No. 3, above.

Usually I end up having to mail a large box of new acquisitions home to myself too. I should probably start schlepping an empty suitcase with me ('course, then you're paying those exorbitant baggage fees!).

Greta posting! Enjoy the new P-V translation of AK, it truly is amazing! Their W&P translation is out-of-sight terrific too! Cheers! Chris

Donna said...

Congrats on finding your preferred translation of Anna K. Thanks to used book purchases, I've managed to end up with three (3); and still don't have the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation.

After many years of being a regular patron of 1/2-Price Books, I was excited to come across 1/4-Price Books here in Houston! HPB is nation-wide; but you can still find some obscure titles there. QPB has the best selection of older titles. You have to know what you're looking for when you go in there.

My son laughed at me when I finally figured out how the 1/4-pricing goes. I went in there expecting to pay 1/4 of the original price; but I think they knock 1/4 off the price, which means the buyer pays 3/4. Kind of sneaky, huh? But I'm a book fanatic; so I really don't care.

I'm also not above scouring the book racks at the Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village—any thrift store or resale shop. I'm incurable.

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