Monday, March 7, 2011

Nooks & Crannies: Visiting Book Nook in Peoria

I love it when I find a good used bookstore. Especially when the bookstore has an excellent scifi/fantasy section and, even more so, when the books are cheap. This is what happened this weekend when we took my mother out for a birthday dinner at Yen Ching's Chinese Restaurant. Though our waitress was totally insane and may or may not have poisoned my Tsingtao, that story will have to wait for another time. This is the story of a used bookstore.

Catty-corner to Yen Ching's is a little store called The Book Nook.
It's the kind of bookstore that's flush with paper- and hardbacks, scattered throughout the store seemingly haphazardly. The owners do break it down into sections for the peruser; however, as you first walk in, seeing all of these books crowded on shelves together, is, to the say least, over-stimulating.

The Book Nook is a wide selection of books, too: from new releases to classics, encyclopedic texts to romance, a wonderful display of children's and YA novels - and, of course, my favorite, a rather extensive science fiction and fantasy section. I ended up nearly buying the store out of its stock of Samuel R. Delany novels. The Einstein Intersection (above), City of a Thousand Suns and The Jewels of Aptor are now in my collection. (SHOUT OUT: Greg Bossert, I'm coming for you and your collection!) I also purchased Dangerous Visions, an anthology of stories edited by the infamous Harlan Ellison, and Walter John Williams' Voice of the Whirlwind. The Delany and WJW books were $2.50 each and the Ellison anthology was $6.00.

My girlfriend bought a 16-volume collection of The International Library of Music, which includes hundreds of piano pieces and opera scores for $40. Originally, the volumes were $60 but we haggled with the owner for a bit and brought the price down. I mean, after all, he did have two sets of the volumes.

If there is one slight detraction to The Book Nook it's this: though the store was not short on bestsellers like Tom Clancy or Dean Koontz, it lacked a "lesser known titles" selection. I was hoping for some Europa series titles but found none and lesser known authors like Kent Haruf or Alina Bronsky.

This really only applies to "literary fiction" (for whatever that means) because, as I've mentioned above, their scifi/fantasy section is unquestionably the best I've seen from a used bookstore in a long time. Even Chicago bookstore cannot compare to the selection: Kate Wilhelm, Damon Knight, Ellen Kushner, Ellen Datlow anthologies, Jack Vance - a lot of these books are only available online and, I have to wonder, if a few are even in print anymore.

I'll definitely be returning to The Book Nook. Next time I might buy them out of their Stephen R. Donaldson - even though I'm not a big fan of Thomas Covenant. At this point, I'm really out to out-collect Greg Bossert.

What bookstores near you rock?


  1. Sweet. You didn't tell me you haggled.

  2. "Dangerous Visions" is worth the $6 and then some. that book blew my mind somewhere around 1972, and i am still reeling from the aftershocks. first Delany story i ever read, as well...

    as for out-collecting me: go on, bring it.

  3. Bossert, tonight I purchased a book on birding. Clem is back, baby!