The Internet has not been kind to the printed word. It's deformed language, crippled print journalism, and perhaps most depressing of all, it's suffocating books. You know, the bouquets of paper you check out from libraries; the gently used paperback you rescue from Half-Priced Books; America's next great novel available first in hardback with an aesthetically pleasing cover you'll proudly display on the bookcase in your living room, even if you never finish all 800 pages.
This is not the case of the disappearing novels, or memoirs, or chick lit, or historical fiction, or sci-fi, or graphic novels, or biographies. Writers are still writing and to a certain extent, readers are still reading. But they're reading on their Kindles and their Nooks, or squinting into their iPads (goodbye, future eyesight).
Not everyone has given up on books. In fact, some madmen just opened up an awesome new bookstore in Oak Cliff. This brings us to this, very small, but very important list. The four local bookstores you should grab your wallets and head to now. Put down the Kindle Fire you're reading this post on and look around you. Stretch your arms to the glorious blue sky. Say hello to that stranger sitting next to you at Starbucks. And go buy some books. Right now. Oh, and here are five local coffee shops that aren't Starbucks.
Lucky Dog Books There are three Lucky Dog locations in the Dallas area. One in Mesquite, oneon Garland Road and this one in Oak Cliff (633 W. Davis St.). It's a used book store in the vein of Half-Priced Books. It has that musty, library smell that takes me back to childhood summers spent sprawled out in the teen section of Plano's Haggard Library. It's peaceful, and the two stories of wonder are perfect for browsing. If it's not a new release, they probably have what you're looking for and then some.
The Book Gallery There isn't much north of LBJ Freeway worth the hike, but The Book Gallery is one such thing. Actually, downtown McKinney is a treasure itself, but particularly this adorable book store. There are first editions of a few books encased in glass, a selection of Dallas-centric books and then, of course, classics like Dickens or Hemingway. At 15 years old, it's a senior citizen in independent book store years.
The Wild Detectives It just opened and we're already enamored. Apparently, all the book lovers in Dallas live in Oak Cliff (314 W. 8th St). This cozy little cottage is part bookstore, part coffee shop and wholly delightful. The book selection isn't huge, but it's the perfect spot to read on a rainy day, and when you finish your book, there are hundreds of new books to choose from.
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Half Price Books It's a chain now, but once it was just a used bookstore in an old laundromat run by people who believed in the power of the written word. The flagship location on Northwest Highway is a tranquil place to plop down with one of the thousands upon thousands of books. This store also has a treasure trove of old magazines and local school yearbooks. If your parents grew up around here, or went to SMU, you can probably find their picture.
Here's a quick nod to other shops keeping the love of books alive: TASCHEN Books in the Joule Hotel, Rosedale Rare Books in Snider Plaza, a plethora of Christian bookstores, The Book Doctor in Oak Cliff, museum bookstores throughout the city, Barnes & Noble.