I recently went to a place called The Reading Room in Wabash, Indiana.
It’s a USED book store.
I didn’t know they still made those things.
My wife and kids (who LOVE books) drug me along with them and the MIL.
I wasn’t sure what to make of the place at first.
I’m used to well-lit and organized places that sale NEW books, like Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Books-a-Million.
Places where I can grab a cup of the fancy coffee they serve and plop down in a comfy couch while perusing a book I never intend to buy.
Like libraries with coffee. And without shushing librarians.
I had never been to a used book store.
Not sure if I’ve ever even purchased a used book. Unless you count paying for a library book that you never returned.
But used books always struck me as…..germy.
Kind of like buying a used lollipop.
You don’t know where that thing has been!
But this place was different.
It occupies an old store front near the downtown section, and doesn’t seem to have had many updates to the interior of the building since it was built in the 1830’s.
It was dark and dusty/musty/moldy smelling.
And FULL of books.
When I say “full”, I mean, OMGIHAVENEVERSEENSOMANYBOOKSINONEPLACEINALLMYLIFEPUTTOGETHER!
The place was cluttered with them. Books EVERYWHERE.
The books shelves were PACKED. Books were stacked on the floor in front of shelves, and on top of the shelves and in the shelves and on and on.
There were books on books on books stacked on books riding on books.
It was like Dr. Seuss’s Book Shop.
I began to worry what might happen if a passerby accidently flipped a cigarette butt into the open doorway.
The place would be a raging inferno before you could make your way out.
The guy who runs it was quite the character.
We’ll call him Mr. Sneelock.
He struck my wife and MIL as a retired psychologist or something, as he seemed to read people as if THEY were an open book themselves.
That and he kept asking them to lie down on his couch.
I wandered around and tried to make sense of the shelves and haphazard organization, to no avail.
I finally took a shot and asked Mr. Sneelock if he knew whether he had any books on Einstein, Edison, or Tesla.
Mr. Sneelock immediately took me to the appropriate shelf AND even fetched me the 4 books he currently had on them.
Seems Mr. Sneelock’s brain was hiding the dewy decimal system for this Seussian Shop.
Although Ole' Sneelock wasn’t a big smiler, he was very nice.
In fact, he gave the wife and kids almost as many books free as we ended up purchasing.
With the internet nowadays, I had pretty much given up actual space-taking-up books.
But, after my trip to The Reading Room, I may have to reconsider.
What about you? Do you still read actual books? Have you heard of this thing called a “Used” book store?
*Mr. Sneelock/Reading Room did not pay me to write this, nor give me the free books so I would. In fact, he doesn’t even know about it. And I pray, if he should ever find out about it, that he won’t sue me.*
**Mr. Sneelock was not his real name, but was the name of a Dr. Seuss character in “If I Ran The Circus”….I think….Or maybe not………Regardless, it doesn’t matter.**