Omaha is a hip Midwestern city (by our standards), with a splendid art museum and trendy shopping in the Old Market District.
It was, however, 91 today.
“It feels like 100,” I said. It really did in the sun.
My husband says he doesn’t feel the heat till it’s 95. “It might be 92.”
The warehouses in the Old Market District in Omaha are now shops, restaurants, and lofts. You can browse at antique stores, glass stores, art galleries, and junk shops. We drink coffee or iced tea on “dog-friendly” terraces: a small bulldog had stepped out of Colette; surely it was Fossette from The Vagabond!.
But the question was whether to shop at a bookstore or an iron lawn ornament store.
We love to pop in at Jackson Street Booksellers, one of the best used bookstores in the U.S.
My husband says I buy too many books. And the shelves at home do seem to be full. Time to donate to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale again.
“You want to go to the lawn ornament store?” I have a hankering for a tacky ornament for the backyard. They have an iron cow on a bicycle and colorful cats with springy necks. I must admit the chicken in the picture at right is too much.
So we went to Jackson Street Booksellers.
You know the kind of bookstore. It’s huge, and they recently expanded, and they need to expand again. The shelves are so tall you can’t possibly see what’s on top. The store is deep and dark, with occasional spotlights. There are also piles of books on the floor. You can’t find the Wyndham Lewis books unless you move a tall stack of books. (Too much trouble.) The owner and employees sit up front and read the paper. They don’t chat to us. My husband thinks it’s because we’re from out of town. I explain that the staff at used bookstores never talk to customers.
J.C. at the TLS has confirmed this. He said of Skoob in Bloomsbury:
Here are the overflowing shelves, the arcane subject headings, the musty smell, the foreign languages on the floor, the grumpy staff…
Very like Jackson Street Booksellers..
It is crammed with literature, genre books, Americana, biographies, memoirs, art books, history, theater books, women’s books, foreign language, politics, travel, vintage books, and several shelves devoted to the coveted Folio Society editions and Heritage Press editions (books that come in a box!).
And then we went to The Bookworm, an indie bookstore in the suburbs.
Did I buy books?
At The Bookworm: Modern Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford). This beautifully designed book is one of a very clever “A Short Introduction” series of tiny paperbacks. I almost bought one on Nothing. (“Cheeky Brits,” said my husband. Sorry, Brits!!)
Phyllis McGinley’s A Pocketful of Wry. This remarkable poet won the Pulitzer for her light verse. I posted her “Ode to the End of Summer” here.