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Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting lost in a good book

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking." - Jerry Seinfeld

A good bookstore is one of the world's great attractions, and a great independent second-hand bookshop is even better. The kind of store where you can wander in a maze of books for hours, totally losing track of time and having no sense of direction.

That's why I love Gaithersburg's The Book Alcove -- what looks like an unassuming, small storefront actually disguises a massive collection of thousands of books, from modern bestsellers to several-hundred-year-old tomes.

Today I planned on just running in quickly, grabbing a few easy paperbacks for the plane, and getting out. How wrong I was. You can't just run into a place like this--there is just too much to see and explore.

And one of the real treasures at The Book Alcove is the room of book antiquities--the oldest and most valuable books they sell. This room is not off-limits or even hidden--you can walk in as you please and flip through really old books. I especially love seeing the old inscriptions like this one from 1824. Another had a birthday message from 1810.

Between the great ones here in DC and the amazing selection in London (street after street filled with secondhand shops), Seoul had better have some good English-language bookstores.

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