What do I do to relax after a refreshing car crash? I make a little video with meta-narration about my favorite used bookstore in the world: Chamblin Bookmine. At the very least, it should show you just how ridiculous the place is, in the best sense of the word.
Ann and I have traveled the world and visited many a great bookstore, but none, not even the Strand, can compare to Chamblin’s, in Jacksonville, Florida. “Bookmine” is an apt title because it’s the only bookstore I’ve ever gotten lost in–it’s that big. You could literally fit anywhere from four to eight other used bookstores inside of it. (David Moles, can I get a “Hallelujah!”?)
If you don’t want to view the video, here’s the link to the photos in a flickr set, although perhaps not in the right sequential order.
The thing about Chamblin Bookmine is that they take everything–I mean, everything–of any possible value. With the result that you can even find, in addition to truly precious first editions and limiteds, you get such specificity of subject it’s insane. Like, a whole couple of shelves devoted to:
…or a whole end-case devoted to:
You go to the cookbook section and it’s a whole bookstore all on its own, with a shelf of books just devoted to:
The science fiction/fantasy section is so complete that the anthologies shelves not only include placards for particular series, but a burgeoning area for miscellaneous anthologies with titles starting with “T”–and all of the other letters of the alphabet, practically!
Of course, this means you’ll find just about every book you could dream of there–just their trade paperbacks in general fiction take a good three hours to wade through, let alone their gargantuan mysteries section that would take up the entire shelf space of our best Tallahassee used bookstore–including some you might look askance at…
Even better, everything is, for the most part, properly organized. Even the somewhat disheveled but huge history section is divided up into categories by country and historical period.
If you ever get a chance to visit, you should take the opportunity. People come from hundreds of miles away to visit the Chamblin Bookmine, and for good reason.
Tomorrow: Our book haul while on vacation, and some notes on a smaller but worthy bookstore, Wolf’s Head in St. Augustine.