Yesterday I went to Hyde Park Books. I must confess, I did not go to buy anything. I went, instead, to visit one of their employees. My dear friend Lola works there. Her card says she is an “Associate Booknerd” and I think that my be the best job title in the universe.
Anyhow, after I found a place to park, I walked into the unassuming looking shop and was immediately in love. This is quite possibly the cutest and most inviting little used book store I have ever entered. As someone who adores great and terrible literature alike, I spend a lot of time perusing titles in many different places. Used book stores tend to have a certain air about them. They tend to feel a bit scattered, chaotic, and musty. Sometimes, I like that feeling, but I have to admit that I often find it overwhelming. In comparison, Hyde Park Books was a breath of fresh air. The books were all tucked in an orderly fashion onto shelves. The shelves themselves were well lit and well labeled. My eyes scoured their contents looking at the aged, cracked spines, colorful covers, and interesting titles.
After a bit, as Lola gave me a fantastic tour, I came to realize that they not only carry used books at this little gem of a store, but they carry a few new titles as well. They also have a great selection by local authors. It was absolutely a joy to browse around.
As I said at the beginning, when I went down to Hyde Park, I didn’t plan on buying a book. However, as Lola and I wandered and we discussed different titles, I began to pull books down to fondle them. Lola asked if I had read certain volumes, I suggested she check out a few fantasy authors I have recently discovered. During this discussion, a colorful cover caught my eye. It was in the fantasy section and I figured a colorful cover there could mean something interesting. I soon discovered that this particular book was an anthology and that the first author listed was none other than the man that wrote my most beloved The Princess and The Goblin, Mr. George MacDonald. After returning it to its self and later coming back to reexamine it, I decided to buy it.
To me, leaving a bookstore with an unintentional purchase means the shop is a success. They lured me in, caught my attention, made me feel welcome, and caused me to compulsively buy new literature. Well done Hyde Park Books, well done.