As you all know, I’ve had a pretty busy week this week. And I know it’s only the first of many long weeks in my future. Still, I tried to find a little time to myself today.

I had to go back to school…on a Saturday… to help me get a little bit more organized for students showing up on Monday. I also had a family dinner/birthday party for a cousin in the evening. I knew I would be working and then socializing so I needed a little bit of time for Douglas (that’s me).

So as I was driving to the school I decided I should take the long route. I wasn’t in any rush, so why not?

And I just happened to think of one of the more wonderful places in my local area. It might even be one of the best kept secrets in my county. I just happened to be passing it and decided to make the tiny detour. I then pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of my car, and walked into a book nerd paradise.

Behold, my hideaway. 




Every time I walk through the door of this place I just feel tension leave my body. The smell is the firs thing I notice. The old pages and coffee grounds are fighting for control of the air space. There is no sound in the building. The books seem to absorb the shuffles and steps of people walking through the narrow passages.

As I walk deeper into the literary dungeon the temperature drops. It’s easy to notice because, living in Florida, it’s always hot outside and a temperature drop like this is a real delectation. There is also a small set of stairs you must descend in order to get down to the actual floor of the shelves. It’s even pretty dark in there, despite the florescent bulbs lighting your way. The tall shelves seem to stop some light from getting to all the book covers. (You can see this pretty well in the first photo).

Not to mention, look at all these books! Just drink that in. I wish I were a super reader and could just devote myself to turning all these pages. Don’t you?

But usually I just end up in the back of the store near the sci-fi stuff. I always find some real gems when I go in there.

I only wanted to spend about 15 minutes in there, but I guess time ran away from me. I walked out of there an hour later. But there was so much good stuff just waiting to get snatched up.

For example, today I found a whole slew of Robert A. Heinlein books that are new to the store. I also found some Michael Crichton books for less that two bucks.

Yes. I bought books. Even though I now have a full time job and haven’t even gotten through my Christmas reading list. That list that I said I would have done by the beginning of September…

So what.

I like buying books.

I’m justifying it to myself by saying, “If I didn’t buy these books, somebody else would have, and they may have ended up treating them badly.”

It works for me at least.

This store is called Raintree Books. (Yes, it’s one word.) They are probably not located anywhere near you. But if you are, by some sort of strange means, living rather close to it you should totally give it a visit. Despite my poor photography skills and lack of descriptive writing it is actually a very organized and clean place to go. These people know how to house a great collection of used books.

Also, I’m not sure if what I’m doing is illegal in any way. So just in case you work for/own Raintree Books I would like to apologize for taking photos of the interior of your wonderful store without permission. I just happened to be carrying my iPod at the time and thought I could capture my warm feelings about your store on camera. If you would like me to take them down, please feel free to email me. When I check that email (about every week or so) I will then respond accordingly.

Please don’t sue me for advertising for you for free.

Also, if you somehow see a boost in sales or web traffic, you can blame/reward me. I will accept store credit if you’re offering it…

So, I’m not sure if any of you have been lucky enough to have a store like this in your area but I do hope you keep using actual bookstores. While the whole eReader market is getting really big, there is still no beating a good physical book in your hands. Also, used books need love too.

But this store is more than a store for me. It’s a little escape from the world around me. It’s quite and cool. It makes me focus on titles and stories trapped behind them. Stress is nothing to consider while I’m browsing through some tattered paperback from the 70’s.

This is really what I hope you have. A place where you can just go and relax. A place where you lose track of time and forget the world outside. Where is your favorite place to run away to? Or is yours such a big secret that you don’t even let anybody know about it?

One more cool thing about this store. 90 % of the time I’m in there, it manages to rain outside. I’m not sure if that’s a play on the name of the store, (you know, with the books being made from trees and it’s raining outside), but I just like rain. It’s fresh and humid smell mixing with the pages as I walk outside is always invigorating.

Desperately looking for some free stuff,