Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Oh, Kaye!" Discovers a New (to her) Bookstore

We always spend part of our Christmas in Alabama where we celebrate the holiday with "The Birmingham Barleys."  Sadly though, one of us was missing this year - missed you, Harrison Barley!

Donald's parents, knowing how much I love books and bookstores,  have tried for several years to get me to a bookstore not too many miles from their house.  A place by the name of 2nd & Charles, but it seems as though our time there is short, and I just never have made it.

But this year, I did.

While Don and his dad were at The Barber Museum (where they easily managed to spend the entire day), 

I spent several hours at 2nd & Charles in Hoover, AL

It's huge!

and wonderful.

This wall is made from books.  And I saw a lot of very familiar books included here - including some by our very own Reds.

I spent pretty close to four hours wandering and shopping.

and could have easily gone back the next day and done it all over again.

But we had to leave to come home.

There's always the next trip though.  Hopefully, sometime this summer.

This is one of the bags of books I brought home with me.

My favorite is the Frank Gehry pop-up book.

Frank Gehry's buildings are phenomenal and sometimes startling.

To find some of them in a pop-up book tickled me no end.

What's more fun than a pop-up book?!

Besides feeding my craving for a pop-up book, I was also able to feed another fondness.

There was a table full of poetry books.

Buy one/Get one Free.  

Did this please me?

Why, boy howdy, yes.  

Yes it did.

I have been a long time fan of Jewel's music.

I think I had read that she was publishing her poetry, but had not run across any.

Until discovering 2nd & Charles, that is.

2nd & Charles sells new books, but they also sell used books.

I love picking up used books.

I know there are many of you who feel pain when seeing books marked up, or books that have been dog-eared.

Being the weird soul that I am, I have a different reaction.

I feel as though I've discovered secrets.

Someone read a book that resonated with them.

Found passages they might want to go back to, so turn down a corner of the page.

Or, guessing that they must have really liked the piece on this page not only turned down the corner, but circled the poem.

I love this.

I love feeling like I'm part of a person's interaction with a book.  

A visceral tactile interaction.

It makes the book feel a little more alive to me, and causes me to wonder about the owner.  Why did this particular piece interest her so?  Did it stir a memory?  Was it sad?  Did it cause her to miss someone?  And why did she part with this book?


I came home with books for me,  books for friends,  a pop-up book, a good bit of poetry - one book in particular which is lavishly illustrated, a cook book, a book about dreams, a couple children's books and several novels.


a pair of Corgi socks.

Now, I gotta say.

When I can find a fun pair of Corgi socks in a bookstore?


Suffice to say that particular bookstore just flat rocks in my book.

and life is good.

So, tell me about your favorite bookstores, Reds.  Do you seek them out when traveling?  And do you love used books, or stick strictly with new?


  1. What an amazing bookshop! It must have been absolutely wonderful to wander there . . . .

    Sad to say, we have no bookshops close by; Barnes and Noble is the closest, but it's a good forty mile trip, one way.
    I love used book stores, but I'm really fussy about my books, so I tend not to buy the ones with the dog-eared pages [and writing in a book is something akin to a sin].

    So glad you had a good trip; enjoy all those wonderful books!

  2. Corgi socks, how perfectly wonderful! (I bought some for Noel, but at Buckingham Palace....) Such a treat to find a wonderful new bookstore. I'm quite partial to Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn -- lovingly curated books, a dog, two cats, bunnies, lizards, and a back garden with a turtle pond.

  3. Whoa, I want hat Frank Gehry pop-up book. Sounds like a great time was had by all.

  4. Oh wow, what a haul Kaye! Love the socks and the Frank Gehry and oh my, I could spend days there too!

  5. When I was in Houston over Christmas I made a pilgrimage to Murder by the Book. I prowled the aisles and browsed the reader and staff reviews stuck to the shelves. I've been on their email list for 15 years; it was time for a visit.

  6. Publix Book Mart in Cleveland--my first 'real' bookstore--used, rare, books everywhere--I loved it! And I love finding new bookstores no matter where I travel--and like you, Kaye, used books feel like treasure. I write in the books I own and don't plan to part with--most especially books of poetry. But I use bookmarks--anything will do--to mark a page, rather than turning down corners.

    Adore your socks--and also the pop-up book! Happy hunting!

  7. Joan, we have the Appalachian State University bookstore, but truth be told - I tend to forget about it. Since retiring from ASU, it's no longer on my immediate radar either mentally or physically. We have one other very small bookstore in the corridor of our little mall. That's it. So, like you, would have to drive a good distance to spend a day roaming the aisles like I was able to do in Hoover. I was in heaven.

    Dang. Susan, Buckingham Palace Corgi socks - now that is cool! And the Community Bookstore in Park Slope sounds like heaven!!!

    Hallie and Lucy - the Frank Gehry Pop-Up! I squealed when I found it.

    Margaret, Murder by the Book is most definitely on my list of bookstores I want to visit! It remains, always, at the top of cool bookstores, I think.


  8. FChurch - aren't my socks the cutest?! I'm wearing them right now and they make me smile.

    I know I'm in the minority of book lovers who don't cringe at those dog-eared corners. Wonder what's wrong with me?

    I read two books during the Christmas holidays that ended up with a lot of margin notes and even some highlighting. One of them was Elizabeth Gilbert's BIG MAGIC, which I love. And the other was Paul Theroux's DEEP SOUTH which I did not love but was ensnared by (for lack of a better word).

  9. Wow, that looks like quite a book store. We always seek out book stores on our travels, independent bookstores and used bookstores top our list. (Although I am picky about the condition of used books I will take home with me.) But in a pinch we never forgo a huge modern one like 2nd & Charles either - would love to spend a morning there!!


  10. Susanne, seeking out a bookstore is a fun part of traveling, isn't it?

    There are, apparently, 2nd & Charles Bookstores across the country. Who Knew?! I had never heard of them until just last week.

  11. Wow! Totally envious. Yes, I would prefer that to that museum. In my household, it would be bookstore for me, gun show or military museum for my guy. Actually, that IS how it works for us: he goes to SHOT show in January, I go to Bouchercon in the fall.

    I have an apparently very niche taste in books for the most part: historical mysteries. Bookstores, new and used, just don't carry them unless they're the more mainstream authors in which case I've probably already got them. We don't have anything beyond B&N and Hastings here.

    I used to have a little bit of a chance at finding treasures at our Friends of the Library sales but that has been discontinued for a cafe/shop thing which isn't the same.

    And with my Kindle, instant gratification is wonderful. Yes, it's like crack for me. :)

    Now B&N is enjoyable for the "other than books" aspect - games, toys, *records*, gifts, cards, etc. It's kinda fun to see what's out there though I'm saddened at the dwindling size of the book stacks.

  12. Murder By the Book is indeed fabulous. As is Aunt Agatha's in Ann Arbor and The Tattered Cover in Denver. Boy, I could just plan a trip to Denver all around The Tattered Cover....

  13. PK - Actually, I'm dying to get to the Barber Museum. Don and his dad were there, literally, all day. It's full of very cool stuff and Donald must have taken a beezillion pictures of antique and vintage motorcycles. If you run across a 2nd & Charles, do check it out - it also has games, a huge vinyl section, toys, etc etc etc.

    Susan, you're naming bookstores I hope to get to, for sure. One of my faves is Kathy Harig's wonderful Murder Loves Company in the beautiful little town of Oxford, MD. I'll be seeing Kathy this summer.

  14. Oh, Kaye, what a fab bookstore!! I love any sort of bookstore, new and used books, and I don't mind tattered covers and dog-eared pages, either. It's hard to choose favorites, but one of mine is Murder by the Book in Houston. I could spend hours in there. I love that they label the books with staff recommendations, and it has nooks and crannies and places to read. Heaven.!

    We are big Jewel fans. I knew she had a memoir out, but not that she had a volume of poetry. Going to look for that!

    And I LOVE the Corgi socks!


  15. Debs! Finally! A fellow "I don't care about that poor ol' dog-eared page" friend! Thank you Thank you Thank you for helping me feel less like an infidel! LOL!!!

  16. Corgi socks! Got to love that.

    I am addicted to new reading glasses, and bookstores always have them. SO I often leave with a bag of books--and new glasses to read them with!

    And you are so prescient about the poetry--watch this space tomorrow.
    I had a marvelous time at the gorgeous newish Mystery to Me Bookstore in Madison, and of COURSE Aunt Agatha's in Ann Arbor. And Book Carnival is California! ANd New England Mobile Bookfair. Brookline Booksmith! Oh, don;t get me started…

    One more thing: The Gehry pop-up. Off to find that treasure..

    Happy New Year, dear Kaye! xoxooo


  17. Hank Phillippi Ryan, why am I not one bit surprised at your love of spiffy reading glasses?!

    OH! are we talking poetry here tomorrow?! I love that!!!

    Speaking of pop-up books; if I had all the money in the world I would have a HUGE library of pop-ups. Every pop-up ever published. I think they're just purely magical.

    Happy New Year, sweetie. xxoo

  18. When I travel, I seek out both bookstores and cemeteries and on the odd occasion when I stumble across both, I am indeed a happy camper. Used or new books, doesn't matter. When I consider relocating, my top two priorities are: library that's open 7 days a week and/or local bookstore.

    Still discovering local, independent bookstores here in the greater San Diego area, thankfully. And if I come across a pair of corgi socks in one of them, they're yours, Kaye.



  19. Tricia - you made me laugh. Thank you! I'm not sure how many bookstores might carry corgi socks, but it's going to turn out to be a fun "hunt!"

    I love old cemeteries too. Donald and I have been known to spend an hour or two exploring them with our cameras.

  20. Bookstores and libraries, they just sort of go together for me. I check out libraries. The cutest one I ever saw (other than the Captiva Island one where I was Branch Manager) was in Mt. Dora, Florida. Just adorable. And, in our system, I love the North Park Branch Library, built as if it was a lodge. I make it a point to get to independent bookstores if I can, though.

    Favorite bookstore is the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ, but that was because of their schedule of author appearances as much as anything else. We were lucky to have the Poisoned Pen and another outstanding independent bookstore, Changing Hands, nearby when I was in AZ. And, I'm going to Denver this year, so I'll have to make sure I get to The Tattered Cover. There are no independent bookstores near where I live now, only B&N. I like The Book Loft in German Village in Columbus, Ohio, though. And, there are several that I still need to visit in St. Louis. I love Parnassus Books in Nashville, with the store dogs.

  21. Lesa, I think Poisoned Pen loves you every bit as much as you love them! Parsassus Books! I can't believe I haven't been there yet - BUT! maybe this spring . . .

  22. Last summer I was in the Carolinas. What a fun trip that was and Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville, NC is totally wonderful. Several hours there on a rainy morning resulted in one of their delightful tote bags full of books and treasures. I do love bookstores and libraries and if a nice coffee shop is thrown in the mix even better.


  23. ooooh, Mary Pat. Now you're talking about one of my favorite bookstores on God's green earth. And not just because they carry my "Whimsey!" ;-) I too walk out of there with more than I had planned. Books, totes, coffee mugs, refrigerator stickers, always a new journal . . . And then walk across the street to The Chocolate Fetish. Heaven!

  24. Murder Loves Company! Yes! Fantastic — you will adore. Prepare for the best crabcakes of your life.

  25. Susan - oh yes, I know! I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and will be there for my 50th high school reunion.

  26. I'm afraid book stores draw me in like a magnet. Impossible to resist. I need more books like I need a hole in the head. I think it is time to thin out the collection! I like sifting through used books. In Texas (and maybe elsewhere) we have Half Price Books to check out. I do visit Murder by the Book from time to time. That is a cool place. I have one of their Archie Goodwin tees: Go away. I'm reading.

  27. oh, Pat - ain't it the truth?! Readers always need another book or two though, for sure. I love Archie Goodwin - what a very cool tee!

  28. Kate, the bookstore looks and sounds amazing. The bag is lovely, and the corgi socks are smashing. And, I love what you said about connecting with the previous owners of used books. I bet someone did really like that circled poem.

  29. I swear I typed Kaye. Stupid auto correct.

  30. Love the corgi socks, Kaye! love 'em. love 'em, love 'em.

    Happy new year to you!

  31. You have a rare gift of making people happy and bringing their inmost thoughts out!!! Thelma in Manhattan