by syaffolee

Bookshop Hunting

I figured that it was pointless to just drive to Spokane for a package and then come back. So I googled for Spokane bookstores and decided to hit all the independent booksellers there while I was at it. Unfortunately, a lot of the bookstores I was trying to find were closed on a Saturday (sacrilege!), out of business or so well hidden that they might as well be in a parallel universe.

However, I did come across two very nifty stores:

Auntie’s. It’s downtown on Main. You can’t miss it. Like any other “trendy” bookstore, it has a cafe. When school starts up again, I’m betting the place will be packed with college students. The inventory is a mix of used and new like BookPeople of Moscow, but unlike BookPeople, there’s tons of room to roam around. The place gets points for having the fantasy and sci-fi section near one of the entrances. The religion and new age section was also front and center–perhaps an indication of what sells well and the questionable temperaments of some Spokanese. Some genres were noticeably absent–the place did have a sort of arty elitist atmosphere–no westerns, romance, chick-lit, or mystery. Also, the placement of the science section was far from intuitive. While I was aimlessly wandering around trying to find it, I heard another customer asking somebody where the science books were. For those of you planning on visiting Auntie’s one day and looking for science books, I’ll save you some trouble (unless they reorganize): you’ll find Gould et al. on the second floor, stashed in the northwest corner.

2nd Look Books. This place doesn’t look like much on the outside, but oh my God, it’s a genre lover’s wet dream. The inventory includes first edition children’s books, popular titles that have just come out, and enough romance to give a romance addict a seizure. I happily spent my time browsing the extensive sci-fi/fantasy section and discovered some pretty interesting stuff. Definitely worth a visit the next time I come to Spokane.

Other things of note: I dropped by The Comic Book Shop after missing it a couple of times because of a car accident that partially blocked off Division Street. Otherwise, it’s sort of hard to miss due to the bright paint. Lots of superhero stuff, anime and manga, and collectibles. I was hoping to find a copy of the graphic novel called The Professor’s Daughter, but no luck.

While wandering around downtown on foot, I stumbled upon the Spokane Public Library–very nice–and then an hour later, somebody asked me for directions to the place. Finally, a direction question I could answer! In this case, it pays to be bookish. The Lilac Festival was also going on, although I didn’t see any lilacs, and I also discovered an interesting quilt gallery (I particularly liked the quilts with the crows) tucked in the back of the third floor of the River Park Square mall.

And finally, a pawn shop sign that pretty much sums up bad shopping experiences: