Every Sunday morning, after the kids have left for church with their grandparents (why we're not going to church is a very long story and one I won't get into any time soon), my wife and I go out for Aztec mochas. Yes, Aztec mochas. Specifically. Yes, it's important. Generally speaking, we make our own mochas at home. But not very often spicy ones. At home, I do peppermint, and my wife does straight up chocolate. The mochas we make at home are better than what you can get from Starbucks or any of the local coffee shops we've visited, so we don't often waste our money on buying inferior products. However, although we do occasionally make spicy mochas at home, and good ones, we can't quite get them to match the Aztecs from Flying Goat (don't you love the name?), so, once a week, we splurge and go out for our coffee.
None of that is actually important except that it helps set the scene. Sometimes, after we get our coffee, we stroll through downtown, which is what we did today. And, in strolling through downtown, we decided to step into an Antique store that we've never been into before. Actually, we haven't been into any of the stores downtown; we always just window shop. However, today, my wife said, "You know, I wouldn't mine going in here sometime." And I said, "Well, let's do it." And she said, "I didn't necessarily mean right now." So I said, "But we're here right now, so let's go in." So we did.
[That's probably not exactly how that conversation happened, but that's the gist of it.]
I have a problem with antique stores that I was reminded of this morning -- the frequent inclusion of things which are not antiques. It's like the over use of the word "classic" for things that it doesn't apply to. People seem to think that if it's slightly old at all or if it is something that's considered collectible, then it should be in an antique store. So there was a section with comic books, none of the ones I flipped through were more than 10 years old, there were toys that were from my lifetime, and lots and lots of stuff that I'm pretty sure was brand new but made to look like it was an antique. And then there was a whole section of books...
First, let me just say, that this was by no means a section of "antique" books. The sign said "Rare and Used," but what it really meant was "Used." Yes, some of the books were quite old, but I'm fairly certain that there wasn't anything in the store that could have been classified as "rare." However, if you can get past that, the book section was the best of what a book store should be. It was also the worst.
It was the kind of book store that makes you feel like a kid lost in a book store or library before you know how they work. You don't know that there's any kind of organization, so everything is a discovery. This place had no real organization. Or no standard kind of organization. I'm sure that the guy that was working there had some way that he organized it, and he could probably take you right to anything you wanted, but, for us, there was no discernible organization to the books. Although some of it certainly had to do with size. All the Harry Potter books were up on top of the bookshelves. See, not antiques.
But there were plenty of old books. Old Tom Swift books and Bobbsey Twin books. Rudyard Kipling. Old editions of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew on the shelf next to virtually brand new editions. And other less familiar works like The Lord of Misrule, which is a great title but only a mediocre poem. And The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill, another great title and one that no one, today, could get away with. I haven't read much O'Neill despite an English degree with an emphasis on Literature. Which meant, I suppose, a lot of Shakespeare, because I've read most of Shakespeare. And, speaking of Shakespeare, so old editions of Shakespeare works: The Tragedies of Shakespeare, The Histories of Shakespeare, and The Comedies of Shakespeare.
Every time you turned a corner or went to a new shelf, it was like, "Wow! Look at this!" Of course, if you wanted to look for anything specific on your own, you were out of luck. So, yeah... It was fun to browse through those old books. Great smell. Old, brown pages. Something "new" around every bend. But, you know, nothing really worth buying. I mean, if you are actually a collector of old books, there was nothing of value there, so there was no point. And if were looking for something to read, mostly, you'd want to get something that wasn't at risk of falling apart in your hands, so, also, no point, despite the inclusion of a few newer books, it's not the kind of place you actually want to go if your looking for something. However, it was a great stroll while having the Sunday morning coffee...