There's nothing quite like perusing stacks of old books in search of just the right tome to take home in a quiet, relaxing environment. And I'm not talking about the Lodi Public Library. I'm talking about that bastion of small business: Tom's New & Used Books.
For years I've been visiting Tom's during the lunch hour. While other people are rushing about, trying to check-off the to-do's on their errand lists, I'm crouching in the K's, poring through the P's or ha ha-ing in the humor section.
And it's not just the eclectic collection of literature one can find in the shelves of Tom's. It's the ambience and familiarity.
Some time ago, owner Tom Kohlhepp started greeting me as "Doc." I never questioned it, nor did I care to. It was my own personal version of everyone yelling "Norm!" as the lovable sitcom barfly ambled into "Cheers" week after week.
It doesn't hurt that Elizabeth, Tom's calico compadre, is always nearby, ready to give love and plenty of purrs to any cat lovers who wander into her domain.
I couldn't begin to count the number of "new" authors I've discovered while passing the time in the aisles of my favorite book store. Names like Stephenson, Dobyns and even Lutz come to mind. Plus plenty of bigger names can be found upon the shelves.
Though I am always on the hunt in this haunt for a good read, sometimes I go just to soak in the relaxed feeling that always comes with a visit to Tom's.