Sunday, July 4, 2010

I might need a few more shelves

I'm the kind of gal who leaves extra room in my suitcase to bring back books.  On trips to Dallas.  You see, Half Price Books holds a special place in my heart, especially the one on Northwest Highway that is freakin' ginormous and holds every type of book imaginable.  I brought back nine books the last time I went.  Nine.  For a mere twenty-five-ish dollars!  That, to me, is joy.

Bookstores are a magical, wonderful place.  I could spend hours wandering the aisles, picking up bound copies that intrigue me with their cover art or clever titles or an author's name (I usually stop and see what Bryan books are there - you know, just to know who I'll be sharing a shelf with when I slip a fake copy of my "book" next to them pen the great American novel and/or compile a witty collection of short stories).  I love the smell of books.  You might think it's musty or gross, but it smells like history and adventure to me.

I remember how crazy-happy I was when my dad took my sister and I to the Amarillo Public Library one summer day to meet John Erickson and have him sign one of my Hank the Cowdog books (which I hope is hiding in one of the storage containers in my closet at home in A-town - cherished childhood memories all boxed up for future waves of nostalgia).  And I love buying books when I travel places - I have a Dumas from Shakespeare and Company in Paris and a Kafka from Prague and a wine-from-vine-to-table-journey book from City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.  The only reason I didn't pick up a cookbook on the recently-returned-from journey to Charleston and Savannah (postings to come!) was because the sheer amount of butter and deep frying scared me...I mean, I would actually do those things and then promptly fall over from clogged arteries at the ripe old age of 28.  Back to the books...I loved going to the National Book Festival last year, and I've gotten in the habit of throwing whatever paperback I'm reading in my bag on weekends so I can just stop, sit, and read for a while if it's so hot outside that all I can think about is ducking into air conditioning for a brief reprieve I feel like it.

Here in D.C., there's nothing quite along the lines of the awesomeness that is Half Price Books.  However, in pretty much the most non-descript storefront you'll find...


...there hides a small treasure trove of used books.  Books for America is a touch on the small side when compared with the behemoth I'm accustomed to, but a lot bigger when it comes to philanthropic endeavors - it's a non-profit enterprise that donates books to area schools and uses proceeds from its used book sales to fund literacy programs.  So now, as the proud owner of the following...


...I played a small role in helping someone else get a book or two.  Worth it for a 1978 edition of the Joy of Cooking (which I'm sure has many fabulous ideas for themed dinner parties), one of the few David Sedaris books I didn't already own, my first foray into Michael Chabon, and a Jodi Picoult that I'm sure I'll blast through in three days or so.

While it's not nearly as massive as Half Price, I know I can find something every time I come in here.  Thank you, Yelp, for pointing me in the direction of this great store.  I was also going to stop by Second Story, which is just a few blocks away, but I was already loaded down with this stack of paper AND sweating profusely due to the oppressive D.C. heat that I didn't think would set in for another few weeks.  Sometimes I miss shuttling myself from place to place in the air-conditioned comfort of my vehicle instead of hoofing it around.

I have books piled on my nightstand and filling multiple bookcases and stacked on top of my printer.  I love them.

Rows and rows of books just really make me a happy person.

7 comments:

Girl Interrupted said...

Oh, you and me both! Books are the greatest invention ever and if I ever become ridiculously rich they can keep their sports cars and private jets ... all I want is my very own library and be able to buy every book I've ever wanted or that takes my fancy.

And maybe a nice house with roaring log fires and big, squishy armchairs to better enjoy the books.

Nine books for twenty-five-ish dollars? ... I salute you!

Jason Gajd. said...

You'll like Wonder Boys! Also, John R. Erickson! I met him one time at a Hastings. Did you know he has a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary?

Erin said...

Books books books books books! Kate, when I have my dream home here in about eleventy billion years, there will be a small army of big, squishy armchairs (one with your name on it, of course) surrounded by walls and walls of books. It will be truly beautiful.

Jason, I'm looking forward to Wonder Boys! Slightly afraid that I'll then need to go purchase every other Chabon book. And I had no idea on Erickson's theological accomplishments! He's one well-rounded cowboy.

Belinda said...

I miss Half-Priced books too!! Have you read Julia Child's autobiography yet, My Life in France? I'm almost done with it and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I think you'd like it too. Miss you and so glad to hear the girls trip to the South was a good one :)

Erin said...

Hi Belinda! Yes, I read (and drooled through) My Life in France last year and absolutely LOVED it. Basically, I want someone to pay me to travel around and cook and eat and then write about it...this is my fantasy world. =) Miss you, too!

Sully said...

I'm wiping up my slobbering envy, staring at the stack of new to you books you have. (or had, since I'm reading this belatedly). Hope you've enjoyed them!

Erin said...

One down, two to go, and one that I'll never really "read" but will enjoy flipping through. Oh, books, you make my heart go pitter patter.