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Great Finds in the Local Stacks

I have to stay on a careful budget, but I can’t resist browsing in a bookstore; I could spend hours in Barnes & Noble!

This week, though, I decided to check out some of our local bookstores and see what makes each one unique.

I’m a regular at Half Price Books, so that seemed like a good place to start.

Half Price is a chain that stretches across the nation, but it began as a small family store. It specializes in buying and reselling used books, which means that every time you walk in the door, there’s something new on the shelves. I like to look for books I’m missing in my collection first, starting with the classics and moving on to horror, thriller, and Young Adult books. As someone on a budget, I mostly browse the used books, but Half Price does carry new releases as well, which are always fun to browse.

One of the coolest things about Half Price is that they buy and sell collectors’ copies of books. In the Grand Chute store, there is a twenty-foot long bookcase dedicated to these treasures, which can sometimes include first editions of classics.

My next stop was The Book Store in Appleton.

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From the outside, The Book Store looks like any other tiny local shop, but inside one finds a shockingly large selection of books, both new and used and all in fantastic condition.  The shelves are packed and overflowing to stacks and rows on the floor. It’s the kind of bookstore I love to get lost in: no matter which way you turn, you’re surrounded by books! I discovered some particularly large romance and western sections here, as well as an impressive thriller section. James Patterson had his own display and a massive stack on the floor.

My final stop was Thomas A. Lyons Fine Books in Neenah.

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Lyons specializes in rare books and collectible first editions, which is insanely cool! Their inventory is stocked with current bestsellers, new books, and used books. They buy individual books and collections in history, biography, fiction and poetry, which is how they come by a lot of their collectibles. They currently possess first editions of Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”, “Fairy Tales” by Hans Andersen, and a signed first edition of Housseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed”, among many others. Talk about ‘wow.’

They do not have their full inventory available online and there is a lot to be said for visiting a bookstore in person, but if you can’t find the time to check out this fascinating shop in The Marketplace, you can try their website.

- Rachel Martens is a FOX CITIES intern who attends St. Norbert College. She published her first novel earier this year and is already working on her second book.

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