Today I found something awesome. I tried to find a similar one yesterday, and followed my Google maps directions to get there. During rush hour. In 93 degree heat. In a car with no AC. The directions took me to a gravel road in the middle of Worcester (which actually isn't as rare as one might think it would be) that turned out to be an alley behind some people's houses. Not what I was looking for. Frustration reigned, so I got some water at a Shaw's and drove home.
But today I found it. What might it be? A used book store. Not a "rare-and-out-of-print-collect-books-here store, but an honest to goodness used fun-books-to-read bookstore.
I haven't been to a real used bookstore in a long time. I remember in 4th grade having to do a project where we opened and ran an imaginary business. I based mine on a used book store near my parents' house, I think it was called "Twice Read Consignment" or something of that sort. I don't remember learning much from that project, save how to spell "business." I do remember that bookstore though-it was near the big park. I didn't have any sense of book prices, however, as I was 9 and didn't pay attention to such things. My mom would buy me a book if I asked her to (she still will, as a matter of fact!), as we're a reading family and it's always encouraged. I'm guessing a good deal of my Babysitter's Club books were found there.
I've been really good about not buying books this year, only because I couldn't afford to do so. I joined the local library and have gone there when I was looking for a new read (as opposed to a reread). However, I stopped in Barnes and Noble yesterday to check out their clearance sale and was reminded of what I love in a book store. Looking around, reading covers, wondering what the insides hold...I usually just have to pick up a book, walk around with it for a while, and then I can put it back and walk out of the store. I didn't really have time for that yesterday, so I left feeling dissatisfied. I didn't want to spend a good deal of money on a book, as I just ordered most of my books for the fall semester, and spending another 20 bucks wasn't exactly something I should do.
But. I'm going on vacation this week. I don't want to take a library book because I'm going to the beach, and I'd rather not water damage public property. A cheap paperback would be perfect for this week, so that's what I looked for. Wal-Mart didn't really have anything good (lots of romance serials and Nicholas Sparks books *puke-o-rama*. Although I was pleased to see a smattering of more classical fare-The Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, 1984, Of Mice and Men). I was going to have to search elsewhere.
Looking online, I found this "chain" of used bookstores in the region. They're not a chain, or even a franchise really. I think it's an association-locally owned used bookstores that join this group and can use the name.
Annie's Book Stop.
I went to the one in Grafton after my unsuccessful hunt yesterday and let me say-this place is great! It's small, but there was a large sign on the side of the road saying the book store was open (hooray!). It's a no-frills place-clean, bright, cheery, and shelves stuffed with books. About the size of my living room, or maybe a bit bigger. I walked in and the woman behind the counter greeted me. I started looking around and a fellow reading the paper int he back asked me if I'd ever been there before. I said no, he got up and gave me a personal tour of the store. That was definitely a nice touch.
I roamed about and finally selected 3 books-two John Irving novels (The Cider House Rules, which I've wanted to read for years, and A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I've read before but wanted to own and reread) and Bleak House by Dickens, who I happen to love. This store is 50% the publisher's price on used books. So an already under $10 paperback can be quite cheap! My books totaled $9.51. Three books for less than 3.25 a piece. AMAZING.
And quite possibly dangerous. I don't have space for more books, and school starts soon. However, I am a firm believer in night time reading-it allows me to decompress before going to sleep and think about fictional characters and things, instead of theological controversies concerning the nature of the Eucharist in the 1640s. While interesting, it's not the type of thing that helps me sleep well. Go figure.
So yeah. AND it's a locally owned place. I don't have any sort of moral or philosophical hang ups about chain stores, but it's nice to support local businesses when I can. And this is one I can definitely get behind.
Right. Well, I'm off to start reading one of my new books in the backyard. The only question is which one...