The great book tour that wasn’t.

Almost as soon as Kim and I decided to visit Austin, we landed on the delightful idea to stage a mini bookstore tour. We knew immediately that we were spending a good chunk of time at Book People, Texas’s largest independent bookstore (and in my humble opinion, one of the coolest in the entire book world), but we thought on the way back to the metroplex, we’d stop at a few more. Kim researched a few online, we carefully routed them on our map, and then I hunted down every extra penny I had to create an even bigger book budget. After all, we’d be supporting independents. Books AND honor, people.

So, Saturday morning, Kim and I trekked from our comfy motel room to downtown and stopped at a really cute breakfast bistro to carb up. She had griddle cakes, I had a big country breakfast. God, we were stuffed, but still we managed to set out on the first leg of our book journey. We trekked the rest of the way through downtown and over to 6th and Lamar. And lo the clouds parted and the angels did sing:


If you are in Austin, you NEED to go visit Book People. It’s the law. Three floors of books, glorious books! And knick knacks! And coffee! And a cool little place for books signings and readings and story time! And more recommendations from cool and knowledgeable staffers than you could possibly ever read. Trust me – I tried. But then I kept adding books into my basket, so I had to stop reading unless I blew the book budget on the first store. (Really, I should have just gone for broke.) I found a signed copy of The House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Trees. I found a paperback copy of HHhH (which, really, I wasn’t really looking for, but then there it was and have I mentioned I like supporting independents? So into the basket it went). I found books for the girls – Ballet Shoes for ballet-crazy Bee and Calvin and Hobbes for my graphic-novel-obsessed Gracie. I even finally allowed myself to buy the first Locke and Key. I drooled over the Penguin display for a while, but somehow restrained myself. There were other bookstores to explore the next day, after all. Even with our “limited” splurging, Kim and I still had enough books between us that we needed to call a cab to make it back to our room. There was no way the paper bag (or the circulation in our fingers) would make it several miles.

The next day we set out early – we wanted to have time to spend browsing and still make it back to the house before the girls got back from their weekend with their dad. We were planning out our escape route and pulling up the addresses of the bookstores when it dawned on us for the first time… It was Sunday. Were those other tiny independent book stores even open?


White Table Bookstore and Book Cellar? Closed. Scratch Temple off the list. Golden’s Book Exchange in Waco? Nope, not open either. But the Book Spot in Round Rock looked promising! Huzzah! At least one stop was salvaged! Kim and I packed up, hit the road, and watched for our exit. Hunh. Turns out Round Rock is just north of Austin; we had mistaken it for the outer rim when we drove out. We pulled in to the parking spot just before 10:00. I wondered out loud if it opened before noon – this being Tejas and all. But there had been an event the week before and it looked like some lights were on. We read until the clock struck ten and then hopped out of the car…


And it was closed. Blast! OF COURSE it was closed! Because there was a conspiracy against any more book buying! GAH! Kim and I did the only logical thing left to do – we decided to hit the used book store back home. I had book money to burn and I’d been in a happy book-buying mood all morning. No one was going to take that from me! Even the Book Gods thought that was a good idea – look what we saw on the road not long after our plans were rewritten yet again…


Could it be…? Was that really what I thought it was? Something maybe even better than a chocolate cuppa-cake truck! It’s…
The book truck for the store we were planning to visit! I thought about tailing him the entire way home, but he was trundling along very s-l-o-w-l-y. I bet we ate lunch (mmm…Irish Nachos) and STILL made it to the bookstore before him. Still. We did buy more books on Sunday and the Book Gods said it was Good. Of course, any day that ends with a living room floor covered with books is good.

And all was right with the world.




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