After coming down Queen Anne Hill I finally made my way to Mercer Street Books–the original object of my hour-long walk across town. It is such a lovely, clean, well-kept, organized used bookstore, I wish it were in my own neighborhood. (Although I would like it to be right next door to a messy, unorganized used bookstore because I love those too.)
When I have traveled somewhere by air I don’t want to load up with books that I need to get back to DC. Not surprisingly then, I’m generally not inclined to buy anything that I can find relatively easily at home. So my usual approach is to hunt for things that are hard to find. But in a well-run, tidy, used bookstore like Mercer Street Books, where their stock is newish and appears to turn over with some frequency, it is harder to come across the kind of stuff I like to find—that is, those rare but not prized mid-century, middlebrow novels that I take a fancy to. Not one to want to leave totally empty handed, however, I seem to gravitate to NYRB and Europa editions. Because their titles are older and/or off the beaten track I never feel bad about buying one or two or ten. Especially when they are half off the cover price.