Sunday, November 19, 2017

My Favorite Bookstore to Play In

Sometimes I imagine my obituary stating: “Abigail died as she lived: Adding one more novel to her to-read list. She was crushed by the weight when they toppled.”

It would not be the worst way to go.

It’s true I cannot, nor want to stop, adding books to my shelves. I live at an advantage in that this is a large home, with no children, and I have free reign of where I want to put bookshelves. (I’ll be weeping one day if we move and I have to lift all these books out of here, though.) Adding to my collection issue is that I like to have multiple copies of favorites.

While I buy a fair share of new novels from local bookstores (support your local indie!), Kindle novels as well as old books from the library used book sale (support your local library!), the high school scholarship annual sale (support your local youth!), one of my favorite places to go in the entire world is a used bookstore in downtown Washburn, Wisconsin. It’s called Chequamegon Books, and it is housed in one of the historic sandstone buildings, a material well-known known in that area of Lake Superior’s shores.

The shelves tower well over my head, to just below the old tin ceiling. The well-worn hardwood floors are marred and weathered and squeak at odd places as you walk, just like the beloved farmhouse I grew up in. Ladders escalate to the topmost shelves, boxes sometimes sit in the aisles promising buried treasure. There are local author books and classics and mysteries. Culture, religion, foreign lands. Science fiction, children’s and young adult. Music, nature, geology, ships, planes, pets, poetry. Anywhere you want to go, you can find the ticket here.

Everyone is always quiet, and kind. My arms ache by the time I bring my to-buy stack to the front to check out, where they still use pen and paper receipts. Once, a dog was walking through the shelves and sat by me as I read a few paragraphs of The Secret Garden. Had a cat wandered in, that pretty much would have been all my dreams coming true at one moment.

As a child, I used to hold my mother’s hand and she’d take me into bookstores and libraries and I’d stand in awe at all the titles and names on the spines. I wondered: Would that be me someday? Could it?

I suppose I have one more dream: To see my novel one day, having found its way there after being well-read and worn, to the shelves of Chequamegon Books.

Happy reading!


  1. Oh, I loved your description of this magical place! Thanks for letting us visit it with you!