Earlier this week, a friend, some of my siblings and I got to explore and try out a local bookstore for the first time. Curious Book Shop is located right near the heart of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, but despite the urban, ever-changing area, once inside you’re transported to a historical place of stories and news written and read and passed on from generations past.
When we went inside, we decided to move strategically through to cover as much ground as we could, so we descended down the cement stairs to the basement. We were thus greeted by shelves stacked tall with a large assortment of decades-old magazines from brands such as Time, Vogue, Bazaar, Rolling Stones, National Geographic, and Analog.
Surrounding them on the wall shelves were books on culture, travel, science and outer space, science fiction, religion, music, and my personal favorite, languages. My friend found a book that looked to be sermon notes from a mid-century pastor while my sisters and I browsed the books written in Greek, Korean, Chinese, German, Swedish, French, and Russian. I ended up buying two of the Russian books, and while I don’t know exactly what I’ll find within them, I’m excited to test my vocabulary.
Deciding to move on to the main floor, we all dispersed to explore the rows and shelves. On the left wall were historical fiction, biographies and autobiographies, and some classic poets. The right wall was full to the brim, however, with science fictions and medieval fantasies of all sorts. Between them were four large book shelves in two parallel rows containing books like textbooks and books on psychology, sociology, animals, gardening, more religion books, cooking, maths, books for learning skills such as horseback riding, archery, and beading, and books for Dummies. There was also a shelf for new arrivals, a rack for comic books — both vintage and new — and a shelf of books whose covers were exactly what you’d expect to be in the library of some rich uncle in a period drama movie. Lastly was a nook in the back with kids’ books on shorter shelves surrounding old rugs on the ground.
The whole store smelled exactly as you’d imagine, with the dust mingling with paper that makes you take a few deep breaths upon arrival with its coziness, and the prices, rather than being on stickers that damage the books, were penciled inside the front covers to be easily erased at a later date by the one who purchases it. Said prices were average and exactly as I’d expected, being in the $10-20 range, mostly, and the employee that was working the shift when we visited was very kind and helpful in answering our questions.
We spent just over an hour there, each purchasing two or three books to take home, but if I’m honest we would probably have been completely content to stay another 30-45 minutes were the store not preparing to close for the night. Supposedly there was also a third floor, but between the time restriction and my personally not seeing a staircase for it, we didn’t get to explore it. Hopefully next time!
I do want to mention that you’ll want to bring quarters for the parking meters, as you’re unlikely to find free parking within walking distance on a weekday due to the area it’s located in. All-in-all, however, Curious Book Shop is a quaint and lovely place to spend a part of your afternoon, with books for almost any type of bookworm so long as you’re okay with sifting through the large and numerous shelves.