Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Tale of Two Bookstores

I have been traveling a bit and have been very fortunate to visit two really good bookstores recently.  I would highly recommend them if you find yourself in Milwaukee, WI or Iowa City, IA.

A few weekends ago I was in Milwaukee for a wedding.  The wedding was Friday night, and lots of fun, so P. & I had Saturday free to walk around Milwaukee.  The last time we were in Milwaukee we were running a marathon so did not see much of the city.  Even though the day was overcast and cool we covered quite a bit of ground.  After visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum (also a great destination) we were walking toward the Third Ward and happened upon Downtown Books.  I can't pass up a used bookstore - especially one that says it makes housecalls.  I asked what kind of housecalls.  If you are sick in bed and out of things to read will they bring you something?  No, it's if you want to sell your books.  But the staff laughed.  They have a great selection of titles and it's very organized.  There is also a cat so be on the lookout for him and he will let you pet him forever.   Four great picks.  I can't pass up anything Algren after "The Man with the Golden Arm".  Bought the Achebe for the cover, the Howard Norman because I loved another book by him and the 4th because it's novella length and by a woman so might be a pick for our book group.

I was in Iowa City this week for work, so you know I went to Prairie Lights.  Went in there on Tuesday night and Paul was not around.  Which was actually ok because it gave me time to poke around the store.  Still have not shopped the second floor - it was closed for an event.  I bought the title "Best Served Cold".  It was on the Staff Recommended display and had a three word review "Dark, Mean and Funny".  I think I have that right.  A different genre for me since I don't usually read Fantasy but it is perfect for travel and hotel rooms.  A fun story that I am enjoying.

On Wednesday I had some time between my two meetings and thought I would just go back to Prairie Lights to check if Paul was around.  He was and working at a desk in the back.  I went up to him and asked him if he had time for a recommendation and he looked and me and pointed and said "for you?".  Yes, and I told him what I bought last time and what I liked.  About 45 seconds later I'm holding three books and telling him that is my limit for this trip.  What I love about Paul is that I've never even heard of these books.  I read a lot of reviews and have not seen them mentioned.  He really goes to that level under the popular titles and authors and can introduce you to some real gems.  I will let you know how they work out.  Paul said he was really busy and in the middle of something but I said that was just fine by me since I had another meeting and really like his no-nonsense style. 

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