Keir Graff, editor of Booklist Online for the American Library Association and YA author, received an unexpected gift of sorts on his birthday last weekend when he visited a used bookstore in Chicago. He shared this story on Facebook, explaining what happened when his wife and kids were out running birthday errands:
I stopped by Gallery Bookshop on Belmont to nose around. I found some great old Gold Medal paperbacks and was going to treat myself to just one of them when the owner looked at me funny and said, ‘You used to come in here, didn’t you?’ I confessed that I did but that parenthood, among other things, had really put a cramp in my used-book buying.
Then he said, ‘Did you leave a bag the last time you were here?’ I couldn’t remember, but it was certainly possible. In our previous apartment I was sometimes forced to purge old books when space got tight.
The longer he talked, the more he remembered. He said that I had been in and left a couple of bags of books for trade, and when I’d returned, he hadn’t been able to find them. After I left again, he found them but realized he didn’t have my phone number. He kept the bags and gave me the store credit but years passed and I didn’t return.
Long story short, he gave me back the bags and I had a bunch of store credit. I added a few more paperbacks to my purchase. And when he turned back the pages in his handwritten logbook, he told me the last time I’d been in: 2004.
I told him I’d do my best to make it back again in 2016.
Thanks to Keir Graff for allowing me to share this story. Photo credit: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux