For some of us, clutter counts as decoration. Surveying my living room at home, it seems that the main culprits of congestion are the stacks of books piled on top of tables, wedged in between couch cushions, and stuffed into shelves. Normally, this kind of disarray would not be much of a bother, but seeing as a number of the members of my disorganized library have been pored over several times and have been occupying the same space for a couple years, it might be time to sell them back to my local used bookstore. While I would like to think that getting rid of this heap of paper would clear up some room to move freely along hallways and allow me to actually see the surface of my furniture again, I know that I will just end up replacing one set of reads for another. Lucky for me that San Luis Obispo has a number of places to fuel my addiction.
Phoenix Books (990 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo)- Walking distance from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Phoneix Books looks and smells like the way a used bookstore should. Handmade signs alert you to each topic, and while a majority of the books are organized alphabetically, there are still a number that are piled on the floor without much rhyme or reason next to the ceiling-high shelves. Lovers of pulp fiction with enjoy their selection of dime novels, fantasy and science fiction. The turnover can be pretty high, so each trip reveals new treasures.
Kreuzberg, CA (685 Higuera St., San Luis Obispo)- Both cafe and used bookstore, Kreuzberg CA is the perfect place to grab a novel and relax with a coffee, beer, or glass of wine. With a great menu, funky decor, and friendly staff, the place is a comfortable place to study, meet friends, or simply enjoy people watching. The books are placed randomly amidst the couches stacked in the shelves without too much regard to subject or author. When hunting for something to flip through, you may find yourself awkwardly leaning over other patrons or digging next to diners trying to enjoy their lunch. If you are serious in your quest for a book, it might be best to arrive when the cafe is quiet during the mid-morning or early afternoon.
Nan’s Pre-Owned Books (1328 Grand Ave, Grover Beach)- With over 55,000 books Nan’s Pre-Owned Books is bound to have something to strike a bookworm’s fancy. Specializing in “hard-to-find” paperbacks, Nan’s takes a special interest in collecting classics, war history, philosophy, and self-help literature. Located off the main drag in Grover Beach, the store is easy to find along the wide streets and strip malls. Beware of trying to read the frequently updated witty quotes on the store’s display board while driving or trying to park.
With these great stores, you can find a gently loved book to take with you to the beach, gym, or cafe without fear of damaging a new glossy edition. You can save a tree and a little cash at the same time, and support valuable local businesses. Go ahead, browse around! But be careful, whole afternoons have been known to fly by amidst the stacks of a used bookstore.