word craft


Book Stores

Book presentIf 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”

  1. 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.


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