From Other Stories, a post about Second Hand Bookshops.
The independent bookstores in my town aren’t that great. There’s one which is nice and has a wide range but no sense of pricing appropriately — they seem to price by the size rather than the nature of the book! The other one is more affordable, but badly organised and smells of damp, which I find offputting.
But I live in Wales and just an hour or so up the road is Hay on Wye, a town made up almost entirely of second-hand bookshops. The only problem is I daren’t set foot in the place unless I have a fair bit of disposable cash and that doesn’t happen often. There is also the Blaenavon Book Town which is cheaper, less crowded and probably more in need of our support.
Unfortunately, one of my favourite independent bookshops is about 3, 000 miles away. I loved Left Bank Books in St Louis Missouri where my girlfriend hails from. The second-hand books are in the basement and they have a fantastic range of lesbian and feminist books. I walked out with books by Joan Nestle, Dorothy Allison, Sarah Schulman and Alison Bechdel which I then had to lug all the way back to the UK. It was worth it though.
Back in the UK, in terms of lesbian and feminist books, I would also recommend the Oxfam bookshop in Chorlton in Manchester. It’s the lesbian area and they all seem take their unwanted books to this Oxfam. I’ve never seen such a great collection of second wave feminist books anywhere else, some of them pretty rare and ranging from the sublime to the purple-est of prose. I bought copies of This Bridge Called my Back, the Dorothy Allison collection I discuss below, a collection of Alice Walker’s stories and some vintage Tanith Lee.