We started our summer book scouting trip on the evening of June 25th by heading to Detroit, Michigan to visit John K. King’s Used and Rare Books, Michigan’s largest book store (over 750,000 books), at 901 W. Lafayette Boulevard. We spent an entire Saturday combing through books in their main store, and the last part of the day in their rare book building. They are closed on Sunday, and there is a movie crew setting up for filming a scene in the rare book room for an upcoming motion picture starring Richard Gere (movie to be called “The Double”). John King was kind enough to let us come back to the rare book room on Sunday (when he is normally closed) to spend more time searching for books. What a tremendous book shop! Four floors of wonderful books, plus a separate rare book building behind the main store, and something for everyone… art books, literature, fine bindings, Modern Library, Juvenile books, scholarly books, old fiction, you name it…well organized, and with a capable staff on hand to help. Beautiful paintings, prints, sculpture and artifacts scattered between the book areas…(meteorite, anyone?). I can’t say enough good things about Debbie, who was our guide through the building on both days, with cheery and patient customer service above and beyond anything one hopes to experience these days. She even impressed us with her expertise on packing our boxes of books. And John King is a real bookman, with knowledge and character.
We stayed at the newly opened Doubletree Inn Hotel just down the street a couple of blocks from the book shop. Beautiful hotel, reasonable rates, and again…wonderful staff. Here are the cheery front desk staff at the Detroit Doubletree Inn…
And here is a tiny sampling of the books we purchased:
Tonight we dined at Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall, Michigan. Although I had never been to Marshall, Michigan, this was a trip down memory lane for me. When I was nineteen years old, I was working as a secretary to Don the Beachcomber Restaurants in Pacific Palisades, California. They brought in new management, all experienced restauranteurs from Marshall, Michigan, who had been trained at Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub (a restaurant which just celebrated its 100th anniversary!). I heard so much from them about Schuler’s–saw all their menus, recipes, promotions, photos, etc..everything was Schuler’s, Schuler’s, Schuler’s!! But I never actually set foot at the place until tonight (about 40 years later!). And it looked (and tasted) just exactly as I expected.
Tomorrow, it’s on to Chicago…and with any luck, Chicago’s oldest book store.
Stay with us, as we cross the country searching for the best books, and in the meantime, please visit our on-line store at www.oldscrolls.com