you guessed it,
old and used books.
I have blogged about my love of books many times, and constantly update my "What I'm Reading" widget, but I never really got into why, on any day, I would pick going into a used book store over a huge chain bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Borders.
Knowing that you're walking into a store with so much history and endless possibilities can really be very soothing. There are days when I'm home and I'm feeling over-anxious, mad, or upset and my mom will simply say "Kate, why don't you go to the book store." Nerdy, I know. But it's the truth. It comforts me. Nothing can calm my anxiety more than going into a used book store.
Not only are the prices usually half the price it would be if you bought it at a regular store, but each book has it's own story outside of the story within the pages. I once bought a book at Half Price Books and when I got half way through I found bookmarks from a store in California, handwritten notes from the previous reader, and the pages smelled of incense. It shows that this book once had another life halfway across the country. I know many people who can be disturbed by this, but I think it's what makes the book beautiful.
Used book stores often have books that are out of date and hard to find. They are usually separated in categories, but still jumbled up enough that you can't walk in and find the book right away. You have to browse the aisles, open books that you might not have otherwise, and be optimistic.
Every city has used book stores. Half Price Books is a common chain used book store. They have many locations and each store is filled with old movies, CDs, vinyl (expect a post coming soon), magazines, and tons of books. Other great used book stores in the Pittsburgh area include:
Eljay's Used Books on E. Carson St.
The Open Mind Bookstore on Beaver Ave. in Swickley
The Caliban Book Shop on Craig St. in Oakland
So next time you're feeling down, stressed, or just bored, wander in to your local used book store and spend a few hours with the books, learning their history and eventually choose one (or in my case it's usually more than one) to take home with you. Now all you need is a cozy blanket and a cup of hot tea--sounds like the perfect night to me!