Book Nut: Hit the Road Part II

By Byron Spooner Contrary to our fears, we found that everywhere we stopped, every Visitor’s Center and roadside museum, convenience store and souvenier stand, had books. Sometimes just a rack in the corner, sometimes a whole room, mostly stocked with the same thing; nature and travel guides, and local histories, specifically first-hand accounts of settlers, […]

Book Nut: Hit the Road Part I

By Byron Spooner My wife, Judy, and I decided to take a vacation immediately following the Friends’ Spring Book Sale.  We were going to west Texas, Big Bend National Park to be specific, for two weeks and we packed heavily as usual, bringing lots of books, fearful that availability would be, er, limited.  We wanted […]

The Old Magic

By Byron Spooner I also grabbed the new Nick Lowe, The Old Magic, for old times’ sake and found the former new wave pop parodist and svengali/producer sounding like Buddy Holly in the middle age he never reached. This is a compliment, especially when one considers how the bright spirits of Holly and the Everly […]

New CD’s

By Byron Spooner I got sick of listening to all the stuff I have stacked on my desk—Blind Blake, Tommy Johnson, Son House, Gram Parsons, Workingman’s Dead, Anthony Braxton,  Blind Willie McTell—plus playing music on the laptop sounds like shit, so I went out and bought a bunch of new CDs and tossed them in […]

Albert Part Nine

By Byron Spooner Still, it came as something of a surprise when Ruth announced she wanted a divorce.  I mean I’d gotten the feeling things weren’t going exactly as she’d planned, but everything seemed okay on my end, so what the fuck, right? Maybe I worked too much, maybe I drank too much, maybe I […]

Albert Part Eight

By Byron Spooner Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys became yet another of our musical obsessions.  Frank and I had both read Nick Tosches’ book Country: The Biggest Music in America and figured it was just about the best book ever written on country music, perhaps on all of American music. With chapter headings lurid […]

Albert Part Seven

By Byron Spooner “…and he’s lying there in an alley, drinking Woolite,” Frank said. “Yeah, it’s Gene Wilder.” “Oh, yeah, I forgot that.” My wife, Ruth, walked in one late morning, as was her habit on her day off.   A little thing and perky, smart and outgoing, with a big nervous smile that opened every […]

Albert Part Six

By Byron Spooner Albert would generally wander in after his lunch completely fucked up. Most mornings he’d have a hit or two with his second cup of coffee, right before leaving the house; just enough to be a little slap-happy for the morning shift, but lunch time called for a full bowl, or even two […]

Albert Part Five

By Byron Spooner When Frank and I moved to Marin County and opened the book store in San Rafael we assumed we were opening in an affluent suburb pretty much like any other. And in many regards we were absolutely right. It was a suburb ten miles north of San Francisco with a large, thriving […]

Albert Part Four

By Byron Spooner Witherup was a certified, diagnosed mental case and Albert a full-time stoner, characteristics not widely regarded to be resume-toppers in the business world but just about dead-square on the mean in used-bookselling.  After all, no lives depended on their performance or ours. It wasn’t like we were dog sledding the vaccines to […]