Sights with Sami

Currents editor finds wide selection of books at Crossroad Books

More stories from Sami West

Sights with Sami

Try conjuring in your mind the absolute best smell in the world.

You’re probably thinking about the way your house smells when your mom is baking, contemplating whether that’s better than the smell of freshly cut grass, roses, or blooming lilac trees. Maybe you’re thinking a summer campfire, the cinnamon and pumpkin-laced scents of fall, or even the first snowfall of the year (though if you’re already daydreaming about winter, I’m concerned).

But suddenly, it’ll come to you: old books.

Absolutely no smell compares to the smell of old books.

I know it’s corny. But really, there is no way to put the smell into words. All I can really say is it’s the one smell that brings me, probably one of the nerdiest English major/book collectors you’ll ever meet, the greatest sense of happiness and peace of mind.

This smell can be found at Eau Claire’s very own Crossroad Books, what I now deem the perfect rainy Monday afternoon adventure in this town.

Offering a wide variety of books, Crossroad Books adheres to both rare book collectors who look for fine, old books out of print in this day and age, as well as your regular bookworm with their selection of new and used novels.

As someone who belongs to both categories, I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. But anyone can find a quality adventure in the shop. Even if you’re not someone like me who would (and probably too frequently does) spend my money buying rare books, flipping through the worn illustrated pages is without a doubt an enlightening experience.

Aisles upon aisles of books of all kinds fill the shop, with descriptive signs everywhere noting the subject matter of that particular shelf.

If you’re a Wisconsin history buff, this store is certainly for you. Many Wisconsin history books, several yearly editions of Wisconsin Magazine of History, Eau Claire County city directories (I’m not sure who would buy those, but interesting nonetheless), old Packers football books, and much more, are available for perusal and purchase.

In addition, there were many other out of print, rare books. Due to the convenient signs, I was able to find my favorite section quickly: “books about books.”

From this section, I found two additions to my eclectic collection of rare books. The 1916 book Recovered Yesterdays in Literature by William A. Quayle was one I found from my favorite section. I found my other purchase on display in another area of the store. Entitled Correct Social Usage, the first edition 1906 book is a compilation of 18 author’s thoughts on how to embody “good form” in both “style and deportment” according to their twentieth century views.

There was also a great selection of new and used novels for any average Joe looking for a good read for a decent price. This bookstore truly has something to offer anyone if he or she has any interest in books whatsoever.