store review: family pathways’ north branch used book store

Is there anything more fulfilling than a good, old-fashioned bookstore shopping spree?  I don’t mean the “fill up the Amazon shopping cart” kind (fulfilling in an altogether different way), but the “holy shit I’ve been at this bookstore two hours, where has the time gone?” kind. I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more fun. But then I discovered Family Pathway’s Used Book Store up in North Branch. A magical place where bibliophiles like me can enjoy hours-long shopping extravaganza and barely dent their checking accounts.

WHAT’S GOOD

The prices: Pricing at this store is as straight-forward as it gets: $4 for hardcovers, $3 for paperbacks, $1 for clearance corner books, 99 cents for children’s books. When I visited, a sale on all gardening, craft and cookbooks was running, knocking 20 percent off books in those genres.

The organization: When I first walked into this thrift, I honestly felt like I was at a cozy, small-town library. The shelves are clutter-free and every section is clearly identified, making it incredibly easy to zero-in on the sections you’re interested in.

The collectible books section: Taking up a good portion of the back of the store is a categorized assortment of vintage and antique books. I found some serious gems back there, including some home-making and cook books, which were both discounted 20 percent.

The clearance corner: Tucked in the back left corner is the ample-sized clearance corner, featuring a wide variety of books, all just $1.

Where does the money raised here go? To support Family Pathways’ many varied community services, including non-medical senior services like advocacy, respite care and companionship; food pantry access for individuals and families; and support for youth and teens like mentoring programs and after-school activities at their teen centers. Family Pathways serves communities in seven counties throughout Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin and continues to add new services based on the needs of the community.

On my last visit, I spent a total of $42 and came home with all of these books.

I’m stoked on them all…here are close-ups of a few.

Forty-three dollars people, for 14 books, about half of them vintage.

Go here to find: Books!

Selection/Variety: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization:♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Do they take credit cards? Yep!

One more money-saving tip: For every 10 pounds of books you donate, you’ll receive a book buck (that looks like a bookmark!) worth $1, for use that same day or on a future visit. They also give out one book buck for every $10 you spend!

While you’re there: Why not hit Recycled Wardrobes, the thrift store just a block down on Main Street? If you’re in the mood for coffee, every cup I’ve had from North Country Coffee has been super yum. (To learn more about Family Pathways’ other thrift stores, check out this post.)

Where it is: On North Branch’s main drag: 6381 Main Street, North Branch

Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Contact: 651.277.0098

xxoo,

Meghan

summer reading: biographies of blondes

Last night, when I was dusting off my bedside table, I noticed my biography choices this summer have a definite theme. Evidently, I like to read about blondes. Specifically, musical ones.

Top to bottom…

California Dreamin’: The True Story of the Mamas & the Papas
by Michelle Phillips

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton & Me
by Pattie Boyd

Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen by Jimmy McDonough

I have a habit of alternating between fiction and biographies, so after finishing Wonderful Tonight (grade=C) in June, I moved on to Daughter of Fortune (grade=B), which I finally wrapped up last Saturday at the beach.

Seeing as it’s time for a biography, I started the book on Tammy yesterday and am one chapter in. First impression: It’s awesome. The writing is solid, but just as importantly, I can tell that McDonough’s fascinated by Wynette, and that her music moves and inspires him (as well it should). There’s nothing more boring than a music bio written by someone who seems to care nothing about the artist, their story or their music, and is simply (and sometimes, clinically) reporting the facts at an arm’s length.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to curling up with it tonight, after this busy, busy day winds down. How gorgeous is that photo of her on the cover, by the way? Love those big curls.

What are you reading this summer?

I’ll be needing a fiction fix next and would love to hear what page-turners are taking up space at your bedside.

xo,

Meghan