Dec 1 2012

Goodbye 2nd Street Books

I have written before about 2nd Street Books in Osceola, Missouri—pretty much my favorite bookstore ever. Sunday morning after Thanksgiving this was all that was left of it:

The entire building, as well as a couple of others, caught fire Saturday night.

I bought a lot of my favorite books, and favorite editions of books, in that store. I had visited it pretty regularly since my in-laws moved to Osceola in the late 90’s.

Anyway…anyone out there have a favorite used bookstore?

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Sep 21 2011

Most loved and overlooked

Probably one of the gifts I most appreciate–and most take for granted–is a gift that is quite common in the 21st century United States. Most people have it, it is free, and it is available to all. In fact, it is even imposed on a good deal of people quite against their wills–as it was with me.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me how much I love books. I love shopping for them, acquiring them, repairing them. Of course I love reading them; the aforementioned verbs were merely symptomatic of a bibliophilic life. As I have mentioned earlier, some of my earliest happy memories involve books.

But it wasn’t always so.

Literacy was forced upon me in first grade. I had no desire to read. It wasn’t that I was proud of my ignorance or deficiency, but I simply didn’t realize I was ignorant, and wasn’t aware that I was missing anything. Learning to read was easy for me–too easy, probably. It unlocked nothing for me, solved no problems.

From the time I was three I was always drawing and always watching cartoons. Decades after I developed a genuine love for the written word, I would still denigrate writing as the dumb stepbrother of drawing. I remember in one of my many cartooning books the author had stated, “Good writing will carry bad art, but good art won’t carry bad writing.” It was the most heretical blasphemy at the time, but now so obviously true.

There was only one story that I cared about as a small child–The Legend of Sleepy Hollow–and that was because Dad told it to me. Right before bed. When I was three. I loved, and was terrified by, that story.

So when Mom gave me $5 to go take to the first grade book sale to get whatever I wanted, all I wanted was information, not stories. Specifically, information on snakes and dinosaurs. After that lack of literature, I would get my book choices supervised.

Still, Mom did do one very clever thing: she bought lots of children’s books, and then promptly did not make me read them. Just left them around the house. When we hit garage sales, action figures were maybes, but books were almost guaranteed to be approved (providing they weren’t about snakes or dinosaurs).

Tonight I started The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay. I’m still in the middle of reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. As I write this I am flanked by a giant pile of books, two large bookshelves full of books (one of which I built), and in the midst of typing this I had to give in to the sudden urge to purchase Burton Raffel’s translation of Beowulf.

I realize that I owe a debt of gratitude to the following people:

  • My mom and dad
  • Mrs. Handley
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Robertson Memorial Library
  •  Trails Regional Library, Corder branch
  • Mrs. Sheehan
  • Mrs. Redden
  • Mrs. Smith
  • Mrs. Alfino
  • Mrs. Craig
  • Any of you who have ever given me a good book

If you can read this, give thanks to God that you have working eyes and a working brain, and give thanks to the parent or teachers who taught you how to read, or how to read better.

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Jul 24 2009

Hardwood, books & movies

I love books, and have for a long time. I think a lot of it stems from when I was a kid, when we would go to the mall. Mom and my brother would go somewhere, and dad and I would go to the bookstore.

I don’t know what dad was looking at, but I spent a lot of time sitting on the hardwood floor of Walden Books reading. The only book I remember reading was a book of behind-the-scenes stuff from Star Wars: how they did the effects, actors’ names, etc.

This book is what started me on a path of memorizing useless trivia (actors, directors, special effects guys). But it also got me to watch any movie that had actors from Star Wars in it. I first watched Dr. Strangelove because it had James Earl Jones in it, and Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia because they had Sir Alec Guinness in them.

Guinness later said that he hated Star Wars and that George Lucas’s dialog was awful, and he barely mentioned any of the Star Wars movies in his autobiography. It’s really too bad, because I wouldn’t have watched any of his “good” films if it weren’t for his work in a space opera that he detested.

But besides the movies and trivia, I developed a love of hardwood floors. My house has hardwood throughout most of the main floor, including my office. Soon, I plan to line the walls with shelves for my books, including my books about movies.

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Apr 8 2009

Review: Steel’s Used Christian Books

Steel’s Used Christian Books has one of the absolute best selections of any used bookstore I have ever seen. Not only do they carry religious books of several orthodox and non-orthodox Christian denominations, as well as complete other religions.

They also carry books on history, mythology, and various other odds and ends. When I was there I picked up a dictionary of mythology, a book on Christian symbolism, and Boswell’s biography of Samuel Johnson.

However great the selection is, though, you will be hard-pressed to find any bargains, at least as far as used book prices go. There were several very nice books I considered, but did not purchase because I could get the same copy new for the same price or less at

The guys who run the store are pretty laid back, and played Led Zeppelin the whole time we were there.

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Feb 10 2009

2nd Street Books

One of my favorite bookstores is 2nd Street Books in Osceola, Missouri, a small town about a half an hour south of Clinton on Missouri Highway 13.

The store is in an old building just off the square, and has a pretty large inventory of books from all genres. Prices are very good: almost all books are priced $1 for paperbacks, $2 for hardbacks. The owner is a good-natured older-middle-aged guy. I am not quite sure about the hours: the only time I am there is on weekends, and I know he is open by around 9am Saturdays.

I have picked up a number of nice books here, the most notable of which were 1st editions of Kon-Tiki and The Illustrated Man. Most recently I picked up a 1953 hardback of Bartlett’s Quotations.

If you drop in, tell him that guy who used to have long hair sent you (sorry, it won’t get you a discount).

One more thing: dress appropriate for the weather.

2nd Street Books
755 2nd St
OsceolaMO 64776

Google Map

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