Four Local Bookstores to Shop at Today

Categories: Books

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Lucky Dog Books
A sight for sore eyes (which i blame on my iPad)

The Internet has not been kind to the printed word. It's deformed language, crippled print journalism, and perhaps most depressing of all, it's suffocating books. You know, the bouquets of paper you check out from libraries; the gently used paperback you rescue from Half-Priced Books; America's next great novel available first in hardback with an aesthetically pleasing cover you'll proudly display on the bookcase in your living room, even if you never finish all 800 pages.

This is not the case of the disappearing novels, or memoirs, or chick lit, or historical fiction, or sci-fi, or graphic novels, or biographies. Writers are still writing and to a certain extent, readers are still reading. But they're reading on their Kindles and their Nooks, or squinting into their iPads (goodbye, future eyesight).

Not everyone has given up on books. In fact, some madmen just opened up an awesome new bookstore in Oak Cliff. This brings us to this, very small, but very important list. The four local bookstores you should grab your wallets and head to now. Put down the Kindle Fire you're reading this post on and look around you. Stretch your arms to the glorious blue sky. Say hello to that stranger sitting next to you at Starbucks. And go buy some books. Right now. Oh, and here are five local coffee shops that aren't Starbucks.

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Lucky Dog Books

Lucky Dog Books
There are three Lucky Dog locations in the Dallas area. One in Mesquite, oneon Garland Road and this one in Oak Cliff (633 W. Davis St.). It's a used book store in the vein of Half-Priced Books. It has that musty, library smell that takes me back to childhood summers spent sprawled out in the teen section of Plano's Haggard Library. It's peaceful, and the two stories of wonder are perfect for browsing. If it's not a new release, they probably have what you're looking for and then some.

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The Book Gallery

The Book Gallery
There isn't much north of LBJ Freeway worth the hike, but The Book Gallery is one such thing. Actually, downtown McKinney is a treasure itself, but particularly this adorable book store. There are first editions of a few books encased in glass, a selection of Dallas-centric books and then, of course, classics like Dickens or Hemingway. At 15 years old, it's a senior citizen in independent book store years.

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The Wild Detectives
It just opened and we're already enamored. Apparently, all the book lovers in Dallas live in Oak Cliff (314 W. 8th St). This cozy little cottage is part bookstore, part coffee shop and wholly delightful. The book selection isn't huge, but it's the perfect spot to read on a rainy day, and when you finish your book, there are hundreds of new books to choose from.

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Half Price Books

Half Price Books
It's a chain now, but once it was just a used bookstore in an old laundromat run by people who believed in the power of the written word. The flagship location on Northwest Highway is a tranquil place to plop down with one of the thousands upon thousands of books. This store also has a treasure trove of old magazines and local school yearbooks. If your parents grew up around here, or went to SMU, you can probably find their picture.

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TASCHEN

Here's a quick nod to other shops keeping the love of books alive: TASCHEN Books in the Joule Hotel, Rosedale Rare Books in Snider Plaza, a plethora of Christian bookstores, The Book Doctor in Oak Cliff, museum bookstores throughout the city, Barnes & Noble.


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7 comments
gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

While I understand the joy of finding books in independent bookstores, I tend to refrain from shopping at books that sell only used books, and here is the simple reason why: 

Because I am a writer myself, a living and breathing someone who indeed has skills and gifts out beyond the purview of the typical romance writers and mysterious detectives of the easy chair variety (not to demean, but to illustrate that, no, not all writing is bent for the big sale or is soup for the jokers and stew for the clowns), I understand what seemingly is not always that easy to perceive: Writers and the publishers who support them, especially the smaller presses, need our support, not just a word or a wave in the hallway, but solid, real-world support in terms of both money and attention. And love.  And kindness.  And consideration.  And, most especially, care. 

I buy my books new, and yes, most are "arcane", at least to the typical Dallas reader, or so it seems, mainly because those of us who are advanced readers, not necessarily members of "The Deep Readers Secret Society of the Underground" or even members of "The Knights of the Invisible Empire of the MFA", have tastes even Borders, bless its gone little heart, never satisfies.  New books feed the people who write books.  Used books do not.  Even gently used books fail to support the writers who wrote those gently used books. 

Sure.  Sometimes a winding walk through a good sales point for books of the gently or hardly used sort is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and indeed, I have found some astonishing deals, such as the time I found a first edition, brand new, spine not even cracked, edition of the collected poems of Ted Hughes.  He's the man who abandoned Sylvia Plath for another woman because he could not deal with Sylvia's implacable moodiness and instability, left her on the third floor of an icy London apartment house--just her, her children and the bare yellowish lightbulb in the hallway, reputedly the only thing she saw of the outside world before she died--and, nope, no Prozac then.  Regardless, Hughes' poetry, especially his complex and dialect-laden lyrics from the Sixties, are an inspiration and a way to relax, even if the book is a tad heavy. 

The late conversational poetry master, Jack Myers, once wrote a poem about the shock of finding one of your own books in the stacks of a used bookstore, and indeed, I did find one of his, autographed but to someone else.  I snapped that up.  I like his poems and the help he gave me when I was lost in regards to how to judge my own little poems. 

So, yes: I support the writers that feed my heart and my mind.  Those who work in Dallas bookstores included.  But new books feed the writers who write them, and no, I am not so deeply against "branding" and "logos" that I am going to go DIY all the way to, say, manufacturing my own books on the back patio, one covered, oddly enough, with Astroturf--and the carpet pads I set-out for the mama kitty that apparently trusted me enough to bear five beautiful kittens on that now dead leaf-laden patio. 

Now absolutely vermin free, those little cats (creative writers are not dogs as are reporters or so the lore goes) keep the place spotlessly free of the rats and mice that ruin the vibe and frighten children. 

ashlybrooke
ashlybrooke

And the book store in the title photo is where?

messwright
messwright

@ashlybrooke  I'm pretty certain that's the Oak Cliff Lucky Dog books. 


I actually like the other two locations of LDB a lot more. Oak Cliff always feels damp to me. It's weird.


Mesquite has the best obscure finds. I have also found some rare art books there for next-to-nothing.


East Dallas has a ton of bathrooms.


(FWIW)

messwright
messwright

@ashlybrooke  I'm pretty certain that's the Oak Cliff Lucky Dog books. 


I actually like the other two locations of LDB a lot more. Oak Cliff always feels damp to me. It's weird.


Mesquite has the best obscure finds. I have also found some rare art books there for next-to-nothing.


East Dallas has a ton of bathrooms.


(FWIW)

messwright
messwright

@ashlybrooke  I'm pretty certain that's the Oak Cliff Lucky Dog books. 


I actually like the other two locations of LDB a lot more. Oak Cliff always feels damp to me. It's weird.


Mesquite has the best obscure finds. I have also found some rare art books there for next-to-nothing.


East Dallas has a ton of bathrooms.


(FWIW)


messwright
messwright

@ashlybrooke  I'm pretty certain that's the Oak Cliff Lucky Dog books. 


I actually like the other two locations of LDB a lot more. Oak Cliff always feels damp to me. It's weird.


Mesquite has the best obscure finds. I have also found some rare art books there for next-to-nothing.


East Dallas has a ton of bathrooms.


(FWIW)

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