Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

An I-35 book drive

Jerry Stratton, April 11, 2017

Fletcher’s Books and Antiques: Fletcher’s mixes the books and antiques in the same rooms.; bookstores; Salado, TX; Salado

Fletcher’s doesn’t have the best selection of the bookstores I visited, but it is by far the coolest to browse in.

There’s nothing like a day spent browsing dusty tomes in hidden libraries. Getting a little antsy last week, I decided to drive up I-35 and visit some bookstores in Waco that I hadn’t been to in about two years. I also had a gift certificate for Cabela’s—about two years old—and there were some bookstores, as well as a barbecue place, in Salado, Belton, and Temple that I had bookmarked in Yelp but never visited.

I would have gone Monday, but one of the bookstores isn’t open Mondays, so I went on Thursday. The first bookstore I went to, Fletcher’s in Salado, is also an antique store. While the books are a bit tattier the setting is the coolest of them all. The books are shelved amongst the antiques, so you’re looking around old grandfather clocks, busts, and lights. I picked up a Thomas Sowell book there.

Next up, in Belton, I stopped at the McWha Book Store, where I found a book that’s been on my list possibly longer than any other book currently on it.

In Temple, The Book Cellar is actually down stairs and into a basement, and it sells both books and comic books. Another out-of-print book on my list showed up there, this time a C.L. Moore paperback.

I was pretty sure I’d find something nice at Golden’s Book Exchange and at Brazos Books in Waco, as I’d already been to them, and they both have a nice selection. Thanks to Brazos, it looks like I’m going to be reading Tim Powers’s fault lines series in reverse order, something that seems to be becoming a habit of mine. And it turned out Golden’s had a half-off sale starting on Thursday, unbeknownst to me, which meant that their half cover price was really a quarter of cover price. Yet another book on my list showed up there, making this an especially lucky trip, as well as a Sarah Hoyt sequel I didn’t even know existed.

I left a little before ten, since Fletcher’s opens at ten. I spent about an hour at each store, maybe a little less. On the way back, I broke up the journey by stopping at Johnny’s Steaks and Bar-Be-Que in Salado when I passed on the return trip. I ended up back home at about seven, a very full day of browsing dusty books! And a car smelling of books and barbecue by the time I was done.

I-35 Book Drive: My I-35 Book Drive day trip netted some very nice books.; books; Texas; bookstores

All in all, a good day’s work.

Since I was going north in the morning and south in the early evening, traffic wasn’t a problem except once in the evening around Temple, and that cleared up pretty quickly.

There are at least seven nice bookstores between Austin/Round Rock and Waco near to I-35. I didn’t go, because I already go there regularly, but Georgetown’s public library has a nice bookstore, and Round Rock has a Half Price Books right off of I-35 near Louis Henna. The latter might be a good choice for ending the day if you’re traveling from Austin/Round Rock and then back again, since it’s open much later than the others. Most of these stores close around five or six.

If you’re coming south, from Waco, of course, that makes it a perfect endpoint for your trip.

If a book-browsing day sounds like something you’d enjoy, I recommend a road trip.

Fletcher’s Books & Antiques
945 North Main Street
Salado, Texas

Aug. 28, 2020

The Best American Short Stories of the Century John Updike, Katrina Kenison $5.00 hardcover

April 6, 2017

Ethnic America Thomas Sowell $6.00 trade paperback

McWha Book Store
114 E Central Avenue
Belton, Texas

Aug. 6, 2020

Born With the Dead: Three Novellas About the Spirit of Man Robert Silverberg $4.00 mass market paperback

Aug. 29, 2018

Best Science Fiction Stories of Clifford D. Simak Clifford D. Simak $5.00 hardcover

April 6, 2017

A Choice of Gods Clifford D. Simak $1.99 hardcover
Clear and Simple as the Truth Francis-Noël Thomas, Mark Turner $5.00 trade paperback

Book Cellar
3 W Central Avenue
Temple, Texas

Oct. 23, 2021

The Sword of the Lictor Gene Wolfe $2.00 mass market paperback

Aug. 6, 2020

The Green Hills of Earth Robert A. Heinlein $0.75 mass market paperback
The Best in Cooking in Westfield $2.95 unknown print

Oct. 21, 2017

The Time Quartet Madeleine L’Engle $8.95 hardcover

April 6, 2017

Jirel of Joiry C.L. Moore $1.50 mass market paperback
Lincoln Continental Guide to Cuisines of the Western World Elizabeth Gordon $4.95 large hardcover

Golden’s Book Exchange
3112 Franklin Avenue
Waco, Texas

Aug. 6, 2020

First Lensman E.E. “Doc” Smith $1.00 mass market paperback

April 6, 2017

John the Balladeer Manly Wade Wellman $0.88 mass market paperback
Zen in the Art of Writing Ray Bradbury $1.50 mass market paperback
All Night Awake Sarah Hoyt $1.63 mass market paperback
Crock-Pot Recipe Collection $7.50 unknown print

March 5, 2015

The Unforsaken Hiero Sterling E. Lanier $1.48 mass market paperback
Crock-It Barbara M. Murray $7.48 unknown print

Brazos Books
1412 N. Valley Mills Drive
Waco, Texas

Aug. 6, 2020

The Best of Planet Stories #1 Leigh Brackett $2.00 mass market paperback

April 6, 2017

expiration date Tim Powers $3.50 mass market paperback

March 5, 2015

The Well of the Unicorn Fletcher Pratt $0.40 mass market paperback
Odd Apocalypse Dean Koontz $4.99 mass market paperback

Update: And in Waco, you may find Sascee’s a real treat for southern-style soul food.

In response to The bookstores less traveled: These aren’t the bookstores people travel across the country to visit. But if you’re already traveling across the country, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them.

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