Saturday, January 17, 2009

When I Need to Be Around Millions of Books

I crawled out of bed yesterday only to throw myself into planning our 11-month-old's birthday party (any suggestions for a fun, low-cost venue would be oh-so-appreciated) while whirring away on my new exercise bike while also perusing the most recent annual Southern Living compilation of "best" recipes. 

It's never good for me to flit through bad photos of gooey casseroles and mushy pasta renditions of West Side Story before 10 a.m. That I was sweating and out of breath at the same time was the perfect recipe for one of those headaches that starts between the eyes and, within half an hour, stiffens the back of the neck into hard little knots. 

I managed to bathe and get dressed anyway. Then, there was knocking at my door. 

When I'm in a good mood and don't have a splitting headache, I think drop-in visits are the rudest thing ever. I mean, they make me whiney like a four-year-old. They make me feel like nothing good is ever going to happen to me again. When I don't feel well and could swear the house smells like a church potluck dinner, the way I feel about drop-in visits is, um, worse. 

At the door was my friend from my office days, who was scheduled to spend the day at my house with another friend of ours today. Not yesterday. Or, so I thought. The e-mail flurry we used to try to coordinate the visit happened during maybe five other e-mail flurries coordinating five other meetings, interviews and get-togethers. I got my wires crossed. 

Since I screwed up and thus deprived myself of delivering my (favorite) stern speech on how drop-in visits are uncouth and presumptuous, I ordered out for a full spread from Kolam Innovative Indian Cuisine. After a plate-full of samosas, spring rolls, basmati rice, Kolam Signature Chicken Curry, Tikka Masala and Tandoori Chicken, the world was a beautiful place again. And, my headache was gone. I think the food at Kolam maybe has magical powers of healing and happiness. 

After lunch and a chilly trip to the park, my friends departed. What a weird, yet-wonderful, day. How better to cap it off than to extend that same theme into the evening with a trip to Gardner's Used Books and Music

That place, just south of the B.A. Expressway on Mingo, is the weird-yet-wonderful capital of the universe. 

The store boasts a collection of nearly two million gently used books, all shelved by category and sprawling about a half-acre. The two photos above are of just one shelf in the literature section and the section of books on local topics, respectively. 

Want paperbacks? Head to Gardner's, where you can stock up for next to nothing. 

Calling all comic books fans. And fans of CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray and a variety of collectibles, including dolls and bells. 

Yes, bells. Thousands of them. 

And, there's a coffee shop, Espresso by the Book. There's my husband and baby boy picking up the latest copy of Urban Tulsa Weekly

Just when you're coddling your coffee and you think you've seen all there is to see, this opens up from a dark corner in the coffee shop:
The gateway to a heaven of obscure and often hilarious books. 

This is the section of books on food and cooking, where I found titles such as "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 5," copyright 1966, and "Whirlpool's Micro Menus Cookbook," copyright sometime during the days when microwaves the size of my conventional oven were going to save us all from the treachery of the kitchen. 

I love children's books. I promise I'll never write one, though. The children's book section at Gardner's proves the world needs not more by anyone still living. The best ones were written (and illustrated) when my parents were kids. But, that's just one blogger's opinion. 

Even so, our little one found a late model he just had to have. So, he threw his first public fit in the floor of the children's book section.  

He won. We lost. Forever. 

Hours at Gardner's are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 12 p.m.-6 p.m.


Jill of All Trades said...

Oh gosh I haven't been there in 20 years. I so love book stores. I'll have to make a trip there.

Yogi said...

Gardners is wonderful.

hwall said...

LOVE Gardners. I went there on Dec. 30 and, once I got to the check-out, was informed that I could pick out $10 worth of books for Isaac for free. Gardner's was giving every kid $10 worth of books as a Christmas present. Luckily, most of what I had picked out was for him, anyway. We got away with "Wind in the Willows," "The Velveteen Rabbit," "Corduroy" and a collection of Beatrix Potter stories and only had to pay for about half of it. And, I even managed to find a book on practicing "green" consumerism! Did I say I LOVE that place? I do. Its infinite shelves exhaust me, but in a good way.

Mr. Sting said...

Gardners is a great store. Have bought many used books there. Excellent prices.

Amanda said...

Wow, another treasure trove in's like the town itself is calling me back.

And, when did your little one get all old looking? I saw him less than a month ago and he went all toddler now!

Mercedes Millberry said...

I love the certain smell of Gardner's, the unique sales staff and the books that embrace you like a warm hug. I loved the Dusty Bookworm and miss it, but Gardner's is just as good.

Mos Jef said...

i'm kind of a big deal...

i have many leather-bound books...

Kathy said...

I am a regular at Gardners. I remember the first time I went there I was shocked at just how big the store was. The stacks of books just seem to go on and on.

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