Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Frugal Muse

Bookstore: Frugal Muse

Location: Far West Side of Madison, Wisconsin

Why I Love Them: Frugal Muse is the store that made me fall in love with bookstores. Not the generic gridded out box stores like a Barnes and Noble or a Borders, but a store with nooks and crannies, where at any turn you might find yourself transported to another world. The original location was a converted video store and felt like it went back for miles and miles. There was a lovely shortcut from the biographies to the mysteries that created a blind spot and you felt yourself lost to the outside world. Round about the history section there was another lovely nook that you could tuck yourself away in for hours. When my mother, Marian the librarian, was in the process of expanding the library for the school she worked for not a week went by without us stopping in to see what new books had arrived. Frugal Muse has always gotten a handful of new books to put on display near the front of the store, but it's the hunting of rare used books that really warms the cockles of my heart. A few years back now they moved to a newer location which is less magical, but if you look you can still find areas to hide it, I particularly like the mystery section, and who knew the magical nook in the history section was movable? Because, there it still is. In a different place, but just as wonderful. 

Best Buy: As for my "best buy" I realized it was actually an easy answer, my Penguin Numbered Trollopes! Back in the early oughts there were two wonderful Anthony Trollope miniseries produced, The Way We Live Now and He Knew He Was Right, which lead me down a rabbit hole to The Pallisers and so much more. The problem with Trollope as a writer was that stateside his books weren't easy to find. I remember watching an episode of Black Books and Manny just calling up their distributor and asking for the complete set of Trollope. If only it was that easy! I couldn't call anyone to get these books and therefore when I discovered their existence the hunt began. The Penguin Numbered Trollope consists of fifty-two books, of which I'm still missing twelve (2, 4, 6, 7, 17, 18, 22, 30, 32, 37, 43, and 45 if you're interested.) But a large chunk of these came from a one day purchase at Frugal Muse. I came into their old location and wandered back to the fiction section near the bathrooms and right there on the shelf were ALL these Trollope books, beautiful and orange and numbered. I cumbersomely took them up to the register and one of the two owners, who are just wonderful by the way, gave me an extra 15% off because I was taking the whole set off their hands. I LONG for a book buying high like I achieved that day to happen again and there's every chance that it will be at Frugal Muse.


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