No vacation for me is complete without a visit to a bookstore. I was in Phoenix a few weeks ago and was able to check out two of them. Woop!
The first was Book Gallery. I’ve never seen a used bookstore with so many categories and so well-organized! For the first time (I think I can say ‘ever’ here), I found a section on writing AND one on collecting rare books. It was defined down to books about alligators and books about birds and birds in Arizona. I spent an hour looking around and did settle on a book I wanted (an old John Irving that’s out of print). I could have spent even more time looking around, but I wanted to get back to the apartment we were staying in. However, the checkout counter was a glass case filled with old books and the owner was at the register when I walked up and balked at some early editions of Hemingway and Fitzgerald in the case. They were from the early 30s! We had a great conversation and he seemed to know I was a huge book nerd when he mentioned The Great Gatsby wasn’t the best selling of Fitzgerald’s novels during his lifetime and I said, “No, This Side of Paradise was.” (I’m 90% sure of this but can’t find it anywhere.) We then had a long talk about his favorite book, The Kill a Mockingbird and the controversial companion novel, Go Set a Watchman. In the end, I stayed about a half hour after the store closed, his other employee had to close the register out before I made my purchase, and I had a great time. He even showed me his autographed version of To Kill a Mockingbird!!!! It was awesome.
The other store I went to was much smaller and shared a building with (of all things) a head shop. (In the picture, you can see the ‘BOOKS’ sign above the ‘GLASS JOINT’ sign. There’s also a sign to the right. I almost walked by it three times.) Lawn Gnome Publishing is a zine publisher operating in Roosevelt Row, the artist district of Phoenix. There were a number of used books, a surprising amount of them children’s and YA. In the back, there were some zines that were published in-house. I ended up buying an anniversary card that was handmade (I think) locally and trying to convince the bookseller to go to Ann Arbor for a bookish-vacation.
It was a great trip for me and it was SO NICE to enjoy the warm weather! I hope to do it again soon.
Until next time, write on.