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dwelling in the bookstore of my mind

It's been a few weeks since sunnydecho and I visited John K. King Books, the "largest used and rare bookstore in Michigan." I mentioned it here, but not in detail, and the trip is... well, not haunting me, but maybe I'm haunting the bookstore a little, in my mind.

Given how much I absolutely adore a good used bookstore... If this place were less than an hour away (and not on highways I find somewhat stressful), I could see hitting the place up once a month. I used to go weekly to Nice Price Books in Durham, especially when they opened up next to our Chinese restaurant. (Oh, man, the hours I spent there... And at Ravenna's...) I mean, half the reason I came to the University of Michigan was because of (pre-corporate) Borders and The Dawn Treader. The first time I visited Powell's, I almost didn't get out with my life...

Anyway, preaching to the choir, probably. John K. King's Books, the main part of it, anyway, is in an old glove factory in Detroit.



(All pics clickable to bigger and better images.)



The windows are all this blue glass that I find compelling:



The lobby is unprepossessing. It could be any sort of lobby, were it not for the piles of books and boxes and milk carts, and crowded-in antiques. But it does seem vaguely reminescent of a public library--maybe the sandstone steps? That's Sunny, looking bored at me, on the right.



There is an eccentricly-drawn map that they hand you if you look like you maybe don't know what you're doing:



Not so much drawn to scale, and all four floors are fit onto one sheet. We probably only hit up a handful of the sections. I hit Juvenile quickly, then up to the 3rd floor for paperback science fiction (past the charmingly named "warming stations"--I'm guessing the ex-glove factory is not heated in the winter; of course, the day we were there, a cooling station would not have been amiss).

The first row of the science fiction collection--A through C, I think? But excluding Poul Anderson and Isaac Asimov--both shelved "behind you". (The Es were not on this row for sure, but it might be A through D.)



I checked out Hard Cover Science Fiction, too.

We went downstairs to the second floor--me for World History, Sunny for Fiction, before checking out. I also paused in the Reference section, wherein were housed a very creaky and unappealing selection of writing books.

We spent well over an hour there, were totally overwhelmed, and left in a daze. It was not unlike my first trip to Powell's in that regard. We didn't even make it to the fourth floor!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Jul. 31st, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
That was cool!
merriehaskell
Aug. 2nd, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
So very cool!
iuliamentis
Jul. 31st, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
I have never been there before. I think this is something that I'm going to have to remedy.
merriehaskell
Aug. 2nd, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
For serious!
captainblack
Aug. 1st, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
If you ever want to carpool, I don't mind the highways too much. Though I do try to avoid rush hour. Like that place a lot, I do.
dailypie.blogspot.com
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
With the windows, radiators, and narrow ceiling + floor planks in the last photo, you can almost hear the old sewing machines clacking away. Great building + great bookstore.
_earthshine_
Aug. 1st, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Wow ... This is on the list of things i should've gotten to see while i was in Michigan. Now i guess it's on the list for "things i should see when i'm back in Michigan."
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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