In the Stacks



I still possess the old bookseller’s habit of walking through a bookstore and “facing out” books — to show off a cover; or “spining” them — to save precious shelf room. All of this depends on how deep/shallow the stock is, what needs to be highlighted or might make a customer’s eye linger on a title.

I also re-alphabetize and move titles back to the section they belong in. In my rounds, I can also tell the difference between when a customer left in a rush without time to re-shelve and when someone was “hiding” a title for safe-keeping until perhaps a check came in.

These are the old habits that linger. At this late date, decades down the road, I imagine that they will now always be with me, like a tic I can’t control.

Wandering around a local used shop recently, I found myself, without thinking, settling into those busy tasks. But, as what happens with most really great bookstores, one title, cover image, author, genre, leads to another — and that hole I fell down, well it felt bottomless. “Ten minutes” turned into an hour, maybe more. But the pleasure, really, was as it always has been — priceless.

Just a few of the great treasures I came upon during this visit — and yes, I tucked a couple away for my return as well.





(and to my surprise, my own book slipped on a shelf)


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