The thing about book buying in our digital age is that it is very easy to find what you ARE looking for and even what you MIGHT be looking for (i.e. “customers who bought this item also bought…”) Less easy is to find what you are NOT AT ALL looking for.
Antiquarian bookstores (a dying breed) offer that possibility of swerve. So, every now and then, I like to take off my literary blinkers and look around a used bookstore. Even a few minutes of browsing can unearth unexpected treasures.
The Monkey’s Paw has become my favorite go-to shop for odd and old books. Curated by owner Stephen Fowler, the store is home to a collection of mostly non-fiction books fitting his criteria of “the beautiful, the arcane, the macabre and the absurd.” On any given day, the window will showcase a motley assortment of books on gems, aircraft engines, nuclear brinkmanship, opera, metaphysics… Among my recent finds: A Close-up Look at Insects and Yoga Illustrated Dictionary.
If you haven’t done so lately, I’d highly recommend visiting a used bookstore. Forget the tried and true, it’s the twists that take our minds out of gridlock.