A la Mode on the road: A used bookstore, a dust cloth and a dream come true

I love used bookstores. Stumbling on a title that I have wanted to read. Or better yet, one I didn’t know existed. Oh yes, and stumbling on a book I can afford. Sadly, I hate actually being in used bookstores. The mildew smell, the dust, the eye and throat irritations are bad enough but I hate feeling like I am playing with a house of cards made up of books ready to bury me with one wrong move. And besides, my hips, thighs and buttocks are a wee bit too wide for most cramped aisles normally found in these tiny establishments. And creating, you guessed it, another scenario where I am buried in books. (No worries, I have come to accept my lower body’s continual expansion) So basically, I have a love/hate relationship with used bookstores. I love discovering the perfect book for the perfect price and I hate leaving in need of an inhaler, and, um, being reminded of the size of my hips, thighs and buttocks. (Okay, so maybe I am not totally accepting the girth of my ass, hips and buttocks. But that  is another post for another day.)

So you can only imagine how excited I was to visit my sister and her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. Yes, my niece Kate raced her personal best in the backstroke finals at the city meet last weekend. Go Kate!! And yes, my brother-in-law received a long overdue promotion last week.  Go John!! And yes, we were going to drink a lot of beer the entire weekend. Go Beer!! All wonderful reasons to visit. But there was also one activity that had me longing to visit Knoxville for the better part of a year. Going to McKay Used Books, CDs, DVDs &More.

It started last Autumn, a thank you gift from my sister arrived in the mail. A McKay gift certificate for more than $40. There it was, sitting on my refrigerator, teasing me. As soon as I knew what dates I was going to Knoxville I took the certificate down and placed it in my wallet. I had been dreaming of this day for a long time. Last weekend was that time.

McKay is ginormous. It is a giant, clean, well-organized warehouse filled with used books that are neither dusty nor moldy. Every title is organized by category and subcategories. And the aisles? So wide my ass could easily pass for a size 2. Okay, maybe not. But I choose to blindly live in my perception over my reality. I digress. McKay Used Books elevated the used book buying experience with such simple additions as lighting and a dust cloth. I could go on and on but really, a photo will convey to you how brilliant it is. Just look down.

I know!!

Dear friend Kristin, when I saw The Gardner Heist I was so excited. I don’t know if you have read it so if not, just let me know and it will be in the mail the moment I am finished.

So there I was, drunk on choice. And here is the best part, after an hour or so, I found a total of 19 books for a total of $45. I could easily have purchased more but that would defeat the purpose of me trying to live a la mode and save money. The full retail on that stack? Only more than $375.

Several of the books were large coffee table-sized and found in the craft section under the  entertaining and gift categories. It would have been more but two of the Martha Stewart books  are out of print and I could not find a price for them on the internet. And three of those Martha Stewart books? A cool 75 cents each. So that is what, more than 80% off? And really, when looking at entertaining and crafting books, a good idea is a good idea now or twenty years ago. Same goes for fiction or non-fiction books. A good book is not going to go bad. A trendy book or current best seller is not always good so by the time they arrive at the bookstore, you pretty much know if you really want to read it. Not because every book club is reading it, but its quality never lost word of mouth appeal. And finally, as I said, I save a lot of money (I know, I know, the library is free. That being said, I have never returned a book on time. So really, I just look at a used bookstore as a library with late fees paid up front.) 

Please excuse me now. I have a cold drink, a pen, post-its and several idea-rich books to look through.

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5 thoughts on “A la Mode on the road: A used bookstore, a dust cloth and a dream come true

  1. “So really, I just look at a used bookstore as a library with late fees paid up front.” – I love this!
    I totally agree about not enjoying that actual being in a used bookstore part (allergies and all that)… but it’s worth it in the end for the bargains and the book magic.

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