Most normal people who visit Galveston, Texas enjoy the beach or places like Moody Gardens. Some even enjoy waiting to eat at the Rainforest Café. After my recent visit, I’m not sure there are any normal people visiting the place. It is the spot for fat people in bathing suits. The morbidly obese in bathing suits don’t really stand out there because everyone looks that way.
I sure can’t be characterized as normal and would more likely fit into the weird or eccentric category. When in Galveston, one of my favorite places to go is the Midsummer Book Store. When it comes to a bookstore, I’m like a kid in a candy store. How Midsummer got its name, I’m not sure. It’s located across from the Tremont Hotel on Mechanic Street and is a unique, upscale, neat place to browse and buy books.
Midsummer has just about everything ranging from fiction, nonfiction, history and kids books. It has a great section on Texana and just about everything written about the Great Galveston Storm of 1900. You are not overwhelmed like when you go into a Barnes and Noble store. Barnes and Noble is like the big grocery chains who try to push their brand off on you and everything else is hidden. Barnes and Noble forces the American public to read what they are selling by sticking it in your face with all sorts of marketing and display gimmicks. Some of that is okay, but you can miss some good stuff.
A few years ago I was browsing in Midsummer books and ran into “Life of Pi,” just sitting there quietly on the shelf. It was a great story. At that time I also found a couple of books about Richard Feynman, the eccentric nuclear physicist genius who helped develop the atomic bomb. The selection of books about Galveston and Texas are fantastic. Many of these are out of the ordinary and can’t be found in just every bookstore. All the books in the store are new and it doesn’t have a musty smell like a lot of bookstores. The musty smell is okay for a bookstore like Cactus Books in San Angelo that has one of the best collection of westerns on the planet. Cactus also has every Elmer Kelton book printed. Anyway, for a first class place Midsummer can’t be beat.
My great find on this trip was “A Land So Strange.” This is the story of the epic journey of Cabeza de Vaca who landed on Galveston Island in 1528 and spent 8 years wandering across the Southwest with three other guys before he again ran into his own kind. I will have to write about this fantastic tale on a separate blog.
Stories like I find at Midsummer Books or the Cactus bookstore are what makes life on the porch so exciting. With companions like these, there is never a dull moment.