The Old Fashioned Book
I love technology. I love Kindle and the variety of books that have become widely available to anyone, because of all of the new technology. Nevertheless for me, nothing can replace the feel, the look, and the smell of a good book. Granted, if you are hardcore, you probably have less space in your home as a direct result, but for us purists…well, the benefits far outweigh the loss of a little extra space.
So imagine my delight when I happened upon a local gem – Maxwell’s House of Books. Located on La Mesa Boulevard across from Cosmos Coffee Café, this literary oasis is full of beautiful books. If you love classics in mint condition, if you like hard-to-find, beautifully-rendered volumes for reasonable prices, if you are looking for history, geography, and a myriad of other topics including old-fashioned children’s books that conjure up the magic of childhood, then you are in for a treat.
San Diego History
The owners, Craig and Lynn Maxwell, are following in a fine family tradition begun by Craig’s grandfather, Vernon Wahrenbrock, who lived to the ripe old age of 98. Wahrenbrock’s Book House, all three floors of it, founded in 1935, was considered the flagship bookstore for collectors of rare and hard-to-find books in San Diego. It served Southern California until 1967 when the Valverde family bought the entire operation.
Craig developed his love of books through the astounding variety of Wahrenbrock’s, and the avid reading of his parents. Growing up, he was never without a book.
The Bookman Speaks
I asked him what sorts of things he reads and here are some of his comments: everything including political philosophy, poetry, and fiction. His favorite books are Moby Dick and The Brothers Karamazov. He began his inventory from a personal collection of forty thousand volumes. When you come into their delightful shop, you will see that their books are in impeccable condition.
Their collection includes a remarkable number of academic and scholarly editions, but the Maxwells are generalists and their collection appeals to a wide audience.
Maxwell’s House of Books is for people who want to come and read books, find books, talk about books, and incidentally Cosmos across the street has the coffee. No I am sorry, it is not Maxwell House – in case you were wondering. You can comb their shelves Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm.
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. Mark Twain