This past weekend, I had the supreme pleasure of visiting a bookstore and the library so as to gorge myself on books. Honestly, I don’t know if or when I will read all these books, but I have good intentions to read quickly.
On Saturday, John and I took the little boys to Uncle Edgar/Uncle Hugo, a joint mystery and science fiction bookstore on Chicago in Minneapolis. This place has stood the test of time with nary a facelift or tidying up. It’s sort of stunning the number of books this store packs in. In addition to the shelves that line the walls and a host of freestanding bookcases in the middle of the mystery side, piles of books form labyrinth throughout the space. The amazing thing is that buyer Jeff Hatfield knows where every single book in the store is and when they were published and by which publisher, as well as which books are available used. He and owner Don Blyly are easily among the most knowledgeable and passionate booksellers I have ever met.
I picked up the first, self-titled Modesty Blaise mystery by Peter O’Donnell and Bagman, Jay MacLarty’s follow up to The Courier, which I plan to read aloud to handsome husband on our eight-hour drive later this week. John selected a few medieval mysteries, and we found a junior mystery with a strong adventure component for eight-year-old, a budding reader.
On Sunday, John and I took the little boys to the library, where I had a book on hold (Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road, his second book this year—how does he do it?). Even though I’m reading three books at the moment, a trip to the library isn’t complete without checking out a tall pile. It’s good to have choices. I found Suffer the Little Children by Donna Leon (on the Conversation with Books list for January), Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee (a debut novel that received glowing reviews this summer), Not a Girl Detective by Susan Kandel (a fun mystery with an amateur sleuth that riffs on Nancy Drew), and Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, a cookbook by the owners of London River Café.
Where to start?