I'm an author, but I'm also a reader. And in honor of Independent Bookstore Day, I'm sharing my experiences at two stores I've frequented over the years. One is well-known, famous on the west coast. The other is obscure, but fascinating. Every independent bookstore has its own distinct personality.
I've visited my share of independent bookstores. Powell's Books in Portland is foremost in my mind. A monolithic collection of every genre, size and shape of book you could imagine, housed in building that seems to encompass a city block. The store is fragrant with the scent of old books, which in my mind is a combination of vanilla and pipe tobacco. But the in-store coffee shop offers stiff competition with the continual, enticing scent of fresh brews. People-y with book lovers, this store is sure to have something you need or didn't know you needed. Rest assured, you will leave with a bag of books whether you intended to or not.
The Recycled Bookstore is a big purple building on historic Denton Square in Denton, Texas is located in an old opera house. The opera house opened in 1900 and closed in 1913. The once-elegant opera house became a venue for almost everything besides operas: musicals, vaudeville, talent shows, high school commencement ceremonies, and even prize fighting. The opera house closed because of competition with the newfangled motion picture houses that were all the rage.
The building went through many incarnations over the years and is now squeaky and saggy with matted shag carpeting. Many visitors share stories of unexplained sounds and voices. Aside from that, a fun rumor persists
that if one were to go upstairs and see a conspicuous hardcover copy of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow in the corner, one should tug on it and a secret door to a lounge with a proper bartender would serve an Old Fashioned to all who entered. These are the kind of rumors authors eat up.
Enjoy your day, bibliophiles!