Looking for a new bookstore in the area? Read on to find which bookstores you should haunt and why.
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Crawford's Books

Crawford's Books is a used bookstore tucked behind a Little Caesar's pizzeria in East Sacramento, CA. Those busy on the commute into work down Freeport Blvd will have no time to notice this quaint little place. If anything catches your glance, it's the blinking orange lights in your periphery which suddenly leave you hankering for a slice, not a book. But if you are lucky enough, you'll set out one afternoon and forgo the big plans you had for yourself. You'll settle on taking a walk, letting your legs take you where they want to go. Your mind is hungry for something outside the routine. Something calming, yet magical. And you'll find yourself at Crawford's Books.

Browse the outside section for some quick $1-2 easy purchases. Then step inside. You will be mesmerized. The reader will find everything they need: historical, mystery, romance, fiction, non-fiction, children's...If you do have a question, then Sue, owner and fellow-bibliophile, is there for you, waiting unobtrusively to help you get to where you want to go. The writer will find a quiet place to relax the mind and stimulate creativity. I would work on quick writing exercises in that big white chair, challenging myself to capture feelings, character details, and intriguing setting descriptions. If I needed to work on a particular section of my book, I might bring a pad and paper and leave my computer at home.

If you're looking for that next bookstore to check off your list, you've found it.


Underground Books

I almost don't want to talk about this bookstore. Like somehow in talking about it, the magic disappears. But it can't. And it won't. The name alone should give you that impression. You step in and you're greeted by current works topping the charts. Not the typical covers and books you're used to seeing. Instead from the moment you enter, you come face to face with the rest of colors of the world that have been hidden right in front your eyes. Then, you turn left and you don't really have a choice but to tumble into Milton Brown's artwork, falling into expertly placed pillow chairs and couches that let you sink your whole body into, stuffed animals to hug included.

Come because it's part of Oak Park history. Come because it's a bookstore unlike any other you will ever visit. Come for the treasure trove of black books and black authors and black history that you won't find even if you looked really hard at Barnes and Noble.  Come for the chance to meet a local author and hear him speak about his work. Come for the feeling of inclusion no matter what you look like.


Trent's Bookshelf

Used book stores are hidden gems existing in plain sight. This one happens to be on a random street in a random strip mall in a suburb of Sacramento, hidden behind sun blinds and what seems to be a valet umbrella. Regardless of the four walls that support it or the street you must take to arrive at it, used book stores seem to exist outside of time. They transport you like Dr. Who's telephone booth into a world that makes sense. You have books and you have rooms with books and you have a little old lady who can help you find other books and you have the well-worn carpet leading you to more rooms with books.

Trent's Bookshelf (as well as Trent's Bookworm in Fair Oaks) is the bookshelf you need in your life when you're running out of ideas. Unsure where to turn and dizzying yourself in circles of questions, you'll find that it's exactly where you need to be. In the direct path of the sun, you step up on the sidewalk and realize your books sit behind the valet umbrella, calling you to inspect an old favorite that's been left behind. You push through the doors and enter a steamy room; the blinds are helping to keep the sun from withering the pages, but do nothing to keep the room from sweating. You duck into offshoot of the main room, or a closet space, and realize it's all been reimagined with bookshelves. There are cartoons depicting the genres. There are pieces of paper hanging from scotch tape if you're looking for that next book to read after getting hooked on that one new author.

You may or may not find that one book that will help you build your setting before you feel too hot to do any thinking. But you'll leave feeling refreshed. You'll take a deep breath, feel the sun's silky rays and want to take a nap. And maybe during that sweet sleep your brain will settle into new spaces, finding that one thing you were missing that connects it all together.

*Please note, due to COVID, this bookstore may be closed


Beer's Books

Visiting Beers Books is a joy, nay a privilege, nay an honor! I mean, what else could be a better use of time? Bookstores need to be pursued. Used books need to be perused. New friends need to be found.

This is easily one of the bigger used books stores in the area. Before you walk in, you are greeted with their $1 bargain finds. One bookcase on each side of the double doors; books to greet you from whichever direction you happen to be walking that day. Upon entering, you are welcomed by a new station of books. The front register is decorated with the books of the month. 

Each of their genres could be a bookstore on its own. The entire back right corner of the bookstore is dedicated to Science-Fiction pocketbooks. Not just the science-fiction genre, but specifically those older versions that are small enough to fit into your back pocket. They have an entire kids section, complete with stuffed animals, tiny person chairs, and rows divided between young adult, new reader, and baby's first book. But don't worry, around the corner, at the intersection of General Fiction and Cookbooks is a normal-human sized chair. You can comfortably sit with your back to Erotica Fiction while you rest your weary legs and dive into one of the many gems you're sure to find here. If you need to do some research, they have rows upon rows of Philosophy, Religion, Music...And then we have the classics. That's right, they don't just have books arranged by fiction or Literature, they have a whole section of the bookstore carved out for Classics alone. If that's not enough, you can make your way to the First Edition section and stare with wonder at the beautifully bound books with the author's signature rising to the ceiling.


Capitol Books

Capitol Books is J.D. Salinger's bright light in the darkness. It's Gatsby's green light across the bay. It's Alice's white rabbit scurrying away saying, "We're going to be late!" Tucked away on K St in Midtown Sacramento,  Capitol Books is an utter delight. The book mural above the door pulls you in, the natural daylight mixing with the bright lights of the bookstore give you a fresh breath, and when you enter you feel like you have come home. 

Let your eyes bounce on all the beautiful new titles. Laugh to yourself at all the cute book knickknacks. Desperately wish to be a kid again when you find the Kid's Corner at the back of the store, complete with soft pillows and a rug set for story time. Feel a little bit better when you hear about the renovation for a bar upstairs and Harry Potter under the downstairs.

Talk to the owner, Ross, about what you're currently reading and get a bunch of excellent recommendations. Find some intriguing options for adding to your stacks at home. Come here when you need to get away, or follow them on instagram when you need your daily book dose.