Literary Euphoria Disguised as a Bookstore

I found The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Pulitzer winner 1994) at the Book Trader in Minneapolis.  My husband had spied the store as we were driving to a friend’s house (I don’t know how I missed it!), and bless his heart, he turned around and escorted me into literary euphoria.  I was greeted by that old, musty, used book smell that I’ve grown to love.  The aisles were more narrow than a clogged artery and the book shelves were overworked like the lungs of a smoker turned marathoner.  I floated from room to room, not quite sure where to begin.

One aisle had a three foot tall stack of books about three feet deep.  You couldn’t even get to the books in the back, on the shelves or otherwise.  I walked past this aisle several times.  It was like looking into the proverbial white light and not being ready to go.  I asked for assistance in finding the books on my short list and wouldn’t you know it, they were all down the aisle I was avoiding.  The clerk said, “All the gems are in this pile, but nobody wants to go through it.”

Since I am not ‘nobody,’ I go bobbing for Pulitzer Prize winning fiction.  I have hit the mother load of used, history-making novels and just when I think I am completely through the white light to the other side, I hear my husband ask if I’m ready to go.  I turn to him with a stack of books in my arms – a distraught look on my face – and ask for a few more minutes to pick my winner and say fare-thee-well to the rest.  And like any near death experience, I knew one thing for sure.  I would definitely come back here!

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