Open Books is called “a poem emporium,” but to my eye it has the look of a crisp, modern apothecary of poetry: Are you suffering from one of life’s ills? Surely there is a treatment for you here! Shallow shelves line the clean, orderly interior; the shop keeps 10,000 new and used books, but doesn’t feel cluttered or overwhelming. The atmosphere invites me to find my medicine and take it home.
I pass this place often because it’s on the main road between the walkable neighborhood of Wallingford and the bustling University District. I’ve often been driving by and decided on the spur of the moment to pull over, and see what’s new.
As easy as it is to enter, it’s even harder to leave empty-handed. The owners carry the latest from small presses, the big names of contemporary poetry, anthologies, non-English texts and the classics. If you want to spend just a few dollars, check the sale shelves for $3.50 titles. Open Books also hosts several evening poetry readings per month, with notable local and regional poets — to meet and mingle with other serious poetry lovers, be sure to check their website events page.