The Sunday Salon: A bookstore just like A. J. Fikry's

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Sunday 
Salon.com

Good morning, Saloners! It's a beautiful morning here, with the sun nowhere in sight. I'm currently perched on my deck, writing this post, and thinking that rain would be a good idea today. We've been getting a lot of it lately, and the last 2-3 days have been sunny and almost perfect for heading out and doing some outdoors thing, if only it didn't feel as if the sun was right on your shoulders. It is kind of scary how wet and not warm enough the last two summers have been. During the year I moved to Lynchburg, it was very insanely hot and humid here. It felt even worse than it actually was because I had spent the previous two summers in Blacksburg, which is up in the mountains and had a mostly cool and wet climate through the summer. As you probably know, cool and wet is the way I like my days to be. (There's a reason my blog has 'Rainy' in its title.) But I can't deny that it feels as if we had some unseasonable weather this whole season.

I've been enjoying my long weekends quite a lot. I only have two more of these and then it's back to the regular two-day weekend. On the plus side, all the holidays in this country are on this side of the year.

Yesterday, the husband and I went to a used bookstore that I have passed by for six years but never stepped in. Earlier, I didn't really think it was a bookstore because it's one of those places you won't see unless you look for it. Plus, they primarily advertised textbooks on the front. But over the last couple of months, I kept meaning to go there but it's not until yesterday after brunch that we stopped there.

Bookshop on the Avenue is really a three-story house packed with books in every room, on every wall, and on the aisles between. This is what I would love my house to be like if we didn't need bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, or living rooms. While browsing through this store, I was strongly reminded of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. Of course, this is a used bookstore and the only new releases in the store are used ones. I spent a long time browsing through their fiction titles and even then did not look at all their shelves. They were all priced between $2 and $6, which made me pick up more books than I wanted. They had one room entirely devoted to science fiction titles with another couple of shelves outside, an entire room (upstairs) dedicated to nonfiction, which I did not check out. A few people had mentioned that they have found first editions and only editions of books that have been long out-of-print.

I brought home five books and the husband picked up four science fiction titles.
  1. The Martian Way and other stories
  2. The Stars, Like Dust
  3. Buy Jupiter
  4. Predator
  5. White Teeth
  6. Please Look After Mom
  7. The Tooth Fairy
  8. Oryx and Crake
  9. Sophie's Choice


On Reading
As for reading, I seem to have too many books in progress currently. I'm

Listening to: Hatching Twitter

Hatching Twitter

Reading on print: How to be Alone, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Blindness

How to be Alone Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Blindness

Reading on Scribd: Moranthology

Moranthology


I got into a situation where nothing in my TBR was holding my interest so I began picking quite a few books to read and managed to get all in progress. I have a system, however ridiculous, for being able to read all five books each day (one in car, one in the living room, one just before sleep, one in my office, one anywhere else). Of all these books, I'm enjoying Jonathan Franzen's How to be Alone most. I've lately been in a mood for reading essays, which is why I'm reading Caitlin Moran's Moranthology also at the same time. I just hope that I won't confuse the books eventually. Nick Bilton's Hatching Twitter is sort of interesting, but if this were a fiction title, I would have said that it plays into all the nerd stereotypes out there. I have no idea how any of these people became CEOs of the company that has one of the most heavily used products out there. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke is turning out to be of a more 19th century style than I had hoped. I can see that it is going to be a relatively quick read, but I just need to get past the introductory chapters. As for Blindness, I had forgotten how unique (and hard to read) José Saramago's writing style was. I may or may not have yawned too much in the first chapter, but the second chapter started picking up and made things more interesting.

21 comments:

Sam_TinyLibrary said...

I love finding quirky little bookshops like that, bet you can't wait to visit again :)
Jonathan Strange is one of my favourite books - stick with it and it's worth it.

Gwen said...

Even just seeing Please Look After Mom makes my eyes start to tear up, so tread carefully:) There is a similar used bookstore not far from here in San Luis Obispo. They suck me in every time because they have a cart of books for a quarter out front and another right inside the door for $1. Often, my vintage finds come from there and whenever I needs books that I will mangle for crafts, that's where I head. Who can pass up a beautifully published book for $1?

Lisa Sheppard said...

Got the full spectrum of my emotions in the books you've got in this post - I've read Sophie's Choice twice (after seeing the movie) and cried both times and Moranthology made me laugh out loud repeatedly.

Mystica said...

Looks a nice mixed haul. I like the system of reading!

Delia (Postcards from Asia) said...

Nice book shopping spree! From your list I want to read Sophie's Choice, The Tooth Fairy and Oryx and Crake but I have a feeling you'll get to them before I do so I'm looking forward to the reviews.
I read Jonathan Strange&Mr Norrell this year and I kept stumbling on those footnotes but I loved the writing. I hope you enjoy it, too.

I see you're using Scribd, are you happy with it? Is it like Amazon, where you find almost any book or do you have to choose from a more limited selection? I've been thinking of subscribing but after they promised one month free they asked for my credit card number so that put me off.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I always tell people (though with what degree of accuracy I have no idea) that if you're not enjoying Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in the first chapter or two, you probably won't ever start enjoying it. It's exactly like that all the way through. (Me, I LOOOOVE it, but I can see that it's not for everyone.)

Your bookstore sounds wonderful!

Ti Reed said...

Rain. I sure hope we get some soon. This dryness is freaking me out.
How cool is that bookstore?? I am so glad you finally checked it out. We have NO bookstores besides B&N in my town of 300K which is ridiculous.

Biblioglobal said...

I found a bookstore like that in my previous town! Unfortunately, I discovered it right before I moved.

Athira / Aths said...

I'm certainly trying not to go back to the store soon. I do so bad about reading books from my own shelves that I need to read at least one of those new books before trying to head back. And Jonathan Strange is a great book! I realized that my post came out completely wrong. I only meant that it was even written in 19th century English (which is great), I just wasn't expecting it!

Athira / Aths said...

I had to think twice before picking up Please Look After Mom. I did read a few pages of it long back and liked it but it was very sad. I don't think I will be able to read it fully though. If it stays on my shelves for too long, I may give it away, haha!

That bookstore you mentioned sounds really awesome! I wish there were more such stores - there are such great gems!

Athira / Aths said...

So glad that all these books worked well for you. Moranthology is fun! And I cannot wait to read Sophie's Choice.

Athira / Aths said...

We certainly did! I cannot wait to go back in there.

Athira / Aths said...

Thank you!

Athira / Aths said...

I'm not too sure that I will get to those books first - I have a bad record with reading books from my own shelves. I tend to do better with books I don't have, lol!

I did not like Scribd at all. It does not have that extensive a book collection. Almost everything I thought I would read, my local library also has a copy of. I thought even Amazon has a limited collection. I did have to give my credit card number to Scribd, but I have to remove it before it renews.

Athira / Aths said...

I do love Jonathan Strange so far. It is going slow, but not in a boring way. I just seem to be reading it before I go to sleep. I am enjoying the footnotes especially! The author certainly did a great job with world-building.

Athira / Aths said...

3-day weekends are certainly awesome! Wish we had more of them.

Athira / Aths said...

Jonathan Strange is a great book! I realized that my post came out
completely wrong. I only meant that it was even written in 19th century
English (which is great), I just wasn't expecting it! It will take me a while to finish it though - I seem to enjoy reading it most before bedtime.

Athira / Aths said...

Oh no, that is ridiculous! We have three here (one is B&N) and we only have about 80K people here. We also have a couple of coffee shops with books on sale or to read while at the store.

Athira / Aths said...

Oh that bums. I am glad I finally went and checked this store out. Ordinarily I have that luck - I check an awesome store just before I move or just before it closes.

Delia (Postcards from Asia) said...

Isn't it the weirdest thing when you go to your unread shelf in the bookcase and discover you have nothing to read although there are several books there? A little bit like with clothes. :)
Thanks for the info about Scribd. I think I'll stick with Project Guttenberg for now.

Gwen said...

This is a late reply since I just realized that Discuss is helpful and tracks comments. Doh, been using it for years, how did I not notice that?!


Please Look After Mom was fabulous, don't get me wrong. It's just if you have loved ones that suffer or did suffer from dementia or Alzheimers, it has a way of bringing all those feeling of lose to the forefront. The bonus of that is that you don't feel alone with all of those feelings after reading it.



My grandfather had "Old-timers" disease and it was both hard and a gift to watch such a strong man fade away. However, there are things that still crack me up about and feel lucky that he did have it. He couldn't remember yesterday, but 50 years ago or more was crystal clear so I learned a lot about his upbringing and young adulthood that I never would have know otherwise. Then there are the hilarious episodes, like when I got a call from the California Highway Patrol because they found him walking on the freeway with two hats on. It was freaky then, but so funny now. Imagine seeing an old guy puttering along the side of the freeway with two hats..and we are talking old school fedoras here. He passed away about 20 years ago, but the book brought all of it right back to me. Okay, enough with memory lane.


This is the only bookstore that I have ever found that has the bargain basement price on older wonderfully published books and a fair amount of new as well. When I first went to college here there were two used stores and I was in heaven. Everywhere else I've lived is sorely lacking, even the larger metro areas seemed to only have the big box store book stores.