A visit to a “local” bookstore

Finding myself feeling as if I could start reading again (concentration returning after the battle with the ear infection) I skimmed through my catalog of books, print and electronic, trying to find something to read on Sunday. I felt like I wanted to read good space exploration science fiction, like Rama or Gateway. I remembered enjoying Frederik Pohl’s Gateway and the sequel, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon. So I decided that maybe the next book in the series would be in order. I searched the Kindle store for Heechee Rendeozvous but turned up a blank.

Since it was early in the day, I decided a trip to a “local” independent bookstore was in order. I put “local” in quotes because the bookstore is actually about an hour’s drive from here. But it is the best independent bookstore I’ve found so far, in terms of it’s inventory of science fiction. The store in question is Wonder Books in Frederick, Maryland.

Ordinarily, when I go there, I spend an hour or so wandering up and down its well-stocked, narrow science fiction aisle. But I’d brought the Little Man with me and he isn’t yet as impressed with bookstores as I am. Fortunately, I managed to find used copies of both Heechee Rendezvous and The Annals of the Heechee very quickly. I promised the Little Man we could look at some books for him, so I had to leave the SF/F section. But the experience reminded me of how much I enjoy just skimming the shelves of a used bookstore, an experience that Amazon has not successfully recreated. I still prefer my books in electronic format, but it was nice that my local bookstore could fill the niche when I couldn’t find the book online. And it was a pleasant reminder of the days I lived in L.A. and used to spent hours of my weekend in Dangerous Visions bookstore in Sherman Oaks, or the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood.

I wish the metro DC/Northern Virginia area had more bookstores like those. Am I missing any obvious ones?

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