If you love bookstores as much as I do, go to this article on LitHub.
I have my own personal connections to some of these book stores, The Strand (in NYC), Powell’s (In Portland, OR), and City Lights (San Francisco, CA).
When growing up in NYC, “Book Store Row,” Fourth Avenue—with its many, many book stores—was a favorite haunt of mine. For my sixteenth birthday, my father took me to The Strand, and said, “Buy anything you want up to twenty-five dollars. And if it’s a little more, don’t worry.”
In 1953, twenty-five bucks was a huge amount of money dedicated to used books. Using an online inflation calculator, I determined that in today’s cash that’s two hundred and fifty dollars. Wow, indeed! Talk about sweet sixteen. Amazingly enough, I still have a few of what was then the big box of books I brought home that long-time-ago birthday. But then I always feel that when I open a book I’m unwrapping a present.
When I travel, one of the places I inevitably find is a book store. Why go to the Eiffel Tower when I can go to Shakespeare and Co?
More than twenty years ago I met my wife in a book store. She was managing it. We still have a lot of books—and our marriage. Horace, the Roman essayist wrote, “A house without books is a body without a soul.”
To tell the truth, I buy books recreationally. So it was when we moved a few years back after selling our Denver home and moving to the mountains, I gave away some three thousand books—to a used book store. It was a place called—if I remember correctly—Books for a Buck. I gave the books away for nothing, hoping that some sixteen-year-old with twenty five bucks in his/her pocket found something to fill their soul.
1 thought on “Book Stores”
We are fortunate to still have many independent bookstores nearby, in the bay area. I can relate to the romance of these enclaves; warm shelters from the cold world out there.