Skip to main content

View Diary: All Things Bookstore: Bookstores I Have Loved & Lost (130 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Please include Roskie and Wallace in San Leandro (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, blueoregon

    Roskie and Wallace was originally located in Oakland, but during the Reagan economic era, rents skyrocketed. By then, Wallace was dead, so Phil Roskie simply continued selling books out of his warehouse in San Leandro - located on E. 14th Street.

    It contained more books than any bookstore I'd ever seen -- all of them used or bought from the post office in bulk - they had been lost in the mail.  Books were piled here and there, and stuffed into endless rows of shelving in something approaching an order.  Lighting was spotty, and on rainy days, a flashlight was a helpful shopping aid.

    It was almost like rummaging through the attic of the Library of Congress, there were so many books, and so many unusual titles.  One telling example -- The Body Language of Horses.  I bought that one just because, well, where would I ever find a book like that again?

    No prices were listed. If you wanted a book, you'd take it to Phil, and he'd price it - take it or leave it. Usually, I took it -- it was usually not much more expensive than a thrift store purchase.

    Over the years I cheaply built up an extensive library of early Chinese history (in English), often with books that could never be found anywhere else.

    Piled alongside the books were Phil's beloved Hudson Automobiles.  He drove them out to an annual Hudson enthusiast convention. Otherwise Phil was there, day after day, all year.  It was his labor of love.

    When Phil died, the business was sold. The new owners bravely tried to keep it going, but really, the place had been an extension of Phil, a hobby more than  a business, depending completely on word of mouth over advertising.  It finally closed for good a few years ago. It was a sad day.

    None of this makes a bit of difference if they don't count your vote.

    by Toddlerbob on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:56:53 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site