Country Living Series

Monday, May 16, 2016

Another adult in the house

Younger Daughter turned 18 last week! We now have another official adult in the house.

It was a loopy week for our daughter. Her birthday fell on the day of the Northwest Preparedness Expo, so we were away from home. And for the first half of the expo, she was actually in a coffee house, studying for finals. (She's been taking some preliminary coursework for her chosen field of radiography, and I'm pleased to report she scored A's in both classes -- in fact, on one of her finals she got 100%.)

Between traveling and studying and exams, we didn't really do much to celebrate her entrance into adulthood. But when asked what she would like for her 18th birthday, she replied, "I want to go to Browser's and go wild."

Browser's is a tiny hole-in-the-wall second-hand bookstore in Coeur d'Alene. We found this little gem shortly after moving to Idaho in 2003, and it has remained, hands down, our favorite bookstore in the region.

The guy who runs it is an aging hippy. He's gentle and charming and friendly and absolutely LOVES books. His store is also well-balanced, meaning it covers a wide variety of subjects. When the girls were younger, we found a lot of our classics here -- the store has a superb collection of non-textbook material for homeschoolers.

So last Wednesday, the day of her last final, I drove Younger Daughter into town, dropped her at college for her exam (while I went grocery shopping), then picked her and dropped her at Browser's.

I left her there, undisturbed, for as long as she wanted (we had cell phones to communicate) and told her she didn't have a budget. This way she could poke around and take her time to choose which books she wanted.

I completed the rest of my errands and met her back at the store. I tell ya, just walking into the place makes me want to take the entire inventory home. It's everything a used bookstore should be -- a comforting combination of highly-organized and pleasantly chaotic.

The store doesn't open until noon each day. My understanding is the owner spends his mornings scouring various places for books -- yard sales, estate sales, that kind of thing -- before bringing them back to the store for cataloging and shelving. As a result, the floor is often piled with new finds.

You've never seen a more content kid (well, adult) as Younger Daughter piled her birthday selections on a chair until we were ready to check out. (Ahem. I added a few for myself. What can I say, it's hard to resist.)

Afterwards, we loaded the books into the backseat of the car and she took one for the road. But she kept glancing back at the pile and grinning. "I just want to hug them," she said.

I can think of no finer way to launch our youngest into adulthood than feeding her mind. And if you're ever in Coeur d'Alene, go to Browser's. You won't regret it.


  1. Patrice and Don,

    You've absolutlely NOTHING to worry about in either of your daughters. Congratulations - to all!

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  2. I was born on a farm in Illinois. We sold cattle in Chicago once a year. The highlight of the trip for me was a Crock & Brentanos! This was a huge bookstore that had every book known to man on the shelves. I was in hog heaven!

  3. Oh my goodness, what a way to spend a birthday. We used to have a bookstore like that here in Terre Haute--wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling books of all kinds! I miss it. There's just something about the smell of old books...

    Happy Birthday, Younger Daughter!

    1. Living south of you I don't recall any bookstores in Terre Haute... Love going in them!

  4. A visit to a bookstore with no budget...I might faint.
    My hobby is collecting vintage books for boys (for my two homeschooled little ones) and if someone could turn me loose on ebay with no budget I would definitely faint.

  5. I love her comment about wanting to "hug" the books. I adore libraries and bookstores. In fact, I worked in library systems for some years before I went into my career field. I completely understand the love for books. Congratulations on your birthday!

  6. My boyfriend took me fabric shopping for my birthday last month and I absolutely hugged my goodies afterwards! Happy Birthday YD!

  7. What a perfect way to spend a birthday! Even better is the reading...

    I think those are a dying breed.

    And I pause to wonder if I'm referring to hole-in-the-wall used book stores (with the passing of One For the Books, formerly of Cape Coral, FL, all my old haunts have disappeared), or the people who frequent them. Other than the bookshelves at Goodwill and the annual library sale, I don't think any of my younger three have ever seen a used book store.

    Oh, there might be ONE left. If you're ever in Rogers, Arkansas, look for the Friends of the Library Bookstore. I think it's on Second Street.

    Happy Birthday!!!!

  8. I could break any budget in a bookstore like that. I have a long hallway that is floor to ceiling shelves on one side, all cluttered with books just like your pictures. Alas, only one wall, not dozens. I had a visitor once who saw that wall and told me I had too many books! Can you imagine going through life thinking there was such a thing as too many books? So sad.


  9. I once had a co-worker visit my house. She stared at my book collection with what I can only call hostility.

    She glared at me, and said, "What are you doing with all those books?"

    "I read them," I said.

    "You READ books?!" She was furious.

    I felt positively subversive.

  10. Every time I go into a home, I look for the bookshelves. If I do not see any, I become very, very suspicious...

  11. Happy Birthday to daughter! I saw you both at the Preparedness Expo, talked to you (I'm the water barrel doner....) and had no idea it was her Birthday.... Happiness to All....

  12. Thanks for the info-added to my must go list! -Sandra T.

  13. Ahh, HG Wells. His writing is good but don't be fooled by the socialist push in his fictions. Good thing to talk about.


  14. Those are VERY good books! I just found an audio version of 1984 a couple of weeks ago (everyone I usually listen to seemed to have 'pod faid' that week).

    If you enjoy adventure and freedom themed books add in some Harry Harrison and Robert Heinlein if you can find it.

  15. What a fine thing it is to share a love of books.