Friday, November 2, 2012

Also Known As Book Lust

Larry McMurty recently auctioned off a sizable portion of his collection of 450,000 books, most of which resided in Booked Up, the book shop he owns in Archer City, Texas. This has inspired me to confess to my increasingly unstable obsession with book stores in general, and finding all the good ones in the San Francisco Bay Area in particular. This syndrome is closely related to a condition known as book lust.

The motherlode book shop in the Bay Area, so far as I've encountered thus far, is Green Apple Books on Clement Street in the Richmond District of San Francisco. I finally made it over to Green Apple over the summer and was quite overwhelmed by their vast and varied collection. I felt some anguish when I had to leave before being able to explore their second floor.

Green Apple is not quite as historically or culturally important as City Lights Books in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, but somehow it feels even better to browse Green Apple's seemingly endless stacks. City Lights also publishes books, including lots of translations that bring exposure to international literature that otherwise wouldn't have any readership at all in the Anglophone world. Aside from City Lights' own publications, it appears to me that Green Apple has a slightly better selection, as well as having the advantage of being less of a tourist destination.

I would also like to give honorable mention to Modern Times Books and Dogeared Books in the Mission District of San Francisco, and Moe's, Shakespeare & Co., Half Price Books, and Pegasus Books in Berkeley.

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