Searching for Tacitus

edward-gorey-cats-books-a50cb5178866eb4a8d584a8358452d49We were at a tiny bookstore in a small town.  I was crawling on the floor, searching for Tacitus.  The foreign language section has been dismantled and banished to two bottom shelves in the philosophy section.   I had to adopt a yoga pose with head lowered to read the titles.

A couple of years ago I saw an old battered Latin edition of Tacitus here.  It was overpriced and in barely acceptable condition.  I wanted to look at it again.

It is gone!

Darn!  Who would have bought it?

Oh well, I have another Tacitus at home.  True, I’ve already read it.  I COULD buy a nicer  (and cheaper) paperback copy online, except I cannot:   I have resolved this year to shop at bricks-and-mortar stores.

Shopping at indies will make me a better person.  Well, I’m already a good person.

Anyway, I am weeding books to find shelf room for books in boxes (including my London books).

Supporting the brick-and-mortar culture is part of my resolution to be more “present.”  The experience of browsing among physical books is electronically inimitable.  I miss it.

Although I hear that independent bookstores are having a comeback, I don’t see that here. As I’ve often explained, we have to travel 100 miles to find a good independent  bookstore.

Anyway, here is a list of the excellent brick-and-mortar indies and chains I visited last year.

IN LONDON (THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY!):  Skoob, London Review Bookshop, Oxfam, Foyles, Waterstones, and several used bookstores on Charing Cross Road.

IN IOWA CITY:  The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa Book, Prairie Lights

IN OMAHA, NE:  Jackson Street Booksellers, The Bookworm

IN OSKALOOSA, IA:  The Book Vault


IN DES MOINES, IA:  Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books

IN ANKENY, IA:  The Plot Twist

Very sadly, the last independent bookstore in Ames, Firehouse Books, closed last year.

I expect this to be a more leisurely year, with less shopping and more rereading.

Let me know your favorite brick-and-mortars.  I’ll support them if I’m there!

12 thoughts on “Searching for Tacitus

  1. Independent bookstores in this area (Connecticut) have closed also. My favorite book shopping takes place at the annual and semi-annual Friends of the Library sales at local libraries. They are large, well-organized and leave one with a virtuous feeling for supporting the local library.


  2. When I was in Texas recently, my friend took me to a wonderful used book shop in Denton called Recycled Books. I did very well there and can’t wait to go back. I’m sure you know all the ones in NY.


  3. Kat, here in Buffalo, NY, we have the wonderful Talking Leaves with two locations, along with Barnes and Noble. I lived in the Boston, MA area for over thirty years and recommend both Porter Square Books and Harvard Bookstore (not to be confused with the Harvard Coop). I am trying not to buy many books this year. I have many many unread books and there are many I want to reread. Since I hope to be in Nebraska in early spring, I plan to reread all my Willa Cather and Bess Streeter Aldrich books.


    • I have been to Talking Leaves in Buffalo! I even have an old Talking Leaves t-shirt, My husband seems to have adopted it, though.
      I’d love to go to those bookstores in Boston. What a cool city to live in.


  4. I love Blake’s Books in McKinleyville, California.

    Yesterday I visited the Eureka (California) library and shopped at its Friends of the Library bookstore. I came away with Shakespeare (Othello, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment), Virginia Woolf (Jacob’s Room), Trollope (Phineas Redux and The Duke’s Children) and three books of nature writing: Edwin Way Teale (North with the Spring), Hal Borland (Beyond Your Doorstep) and John Muir (The Yosemite), plus The Penguin Book of Garden Writing. I was thrilled.

    The drawing at the top of your post is wonderful.


    • What a great haul! I love library sales. One of these days I’ll get to California…
      The drawing came up when I googled “Edward Gorey cats.” It doesn’t actually look like a Gorey drawing, but I took it on faith!


  5. Well, it was not me that bought the Tacitus. I have a version in English which suffices.
    The ongoing closure of bookshops continues here in Berkshire, UK. Most of my in-the-flesh purchases are now from charity shops; the books are of course cheaper. But on the plus side, when I DO find a bookshop, it is a great joy ….


    • Glad you didn’t buy my Tacitus! I do miss bookshops so much. The newspapers keep claiming indies are coming back, but it seems to be a PR thing. I wish we had those charity shops here.


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