What is it about used bookstores that just calm me? Is it just the smell of books? I mean you can get that in a library or a new store of books. So what is it?
For me I think it is 2 things–
1-We went to quite a few used bookstores when I was a kid. I don’t even recall having ever entered a new bookstore until probably high school or later while on field/debate trips to bigger cities so there is a sense of memory. I can clearly recall getting a Hong Kong Phooey book at a used book store in the VA Beach area with my mom. I started my obsession with Stephen King at a used book store in Elizabeth City, NC for just a few. We also went to the library but used bookstores were my first chance for me to pick out and own a book.
2-It is that picking out that stands out. There is something about the hunt for books. I don’t spend as much time when I’m hunting as I used to because I often have stacks of books I haven’t read yet. LIke today, I had a few books I knew I wasn’t going to keep so last night I went thru and picked out a few more I was ready to part with. I drove over to Book Buyers in Charlotte (you should SO go) and my about 10 books allowed me to get 5 new ones. There is always that thrill when you see something you had forgotten you wanted. Going to a used bookstore is like going on a treasure hunt.
Ah, and there is the lovely smell of books as they age. Just something you can’t get in a big box store (which I also still love! just in a different way)
Some of my finds today–a book of poetry by John Amen, The Mermaid Chair, Middlesex, Empire (by Orson Scott Card this was the Woooo I had been meaning to get that book). The only thing I wanted to find but couldn’t was Christopher Moore. I’ve been wanting to read something by him but I never find it used and I always forget when I’m at the new store!