Around the Corner: Magus Books

Nothing catches my attention like a sidewalk cart full of books priced cheap. Without exception, I’ll convince myself to buy something I will probably never even read simply because it costs $1. And it’s a book!


Magus Books, courtesy of Michael P. on Yelp

Today I had 12 minutes left on my meter and there were multiple carts full of books so the obvious story was likely to play out. Add to that a significantly increased chance of getting a parking ticket the second I walked through the door of Magus Books.

Am I the last person in Seattle to discover this gem? The ideal used bookstore, located in the University District. No musty stink, no haphazardly stacked death traps, no corners that haven’t seen human life in the last decade, and (at least during my short visit) no cats. The shelves are neat and clean. And talk about the holy grail for organized types. Every section is divided and subdivided and subdivided, so that you can very easily find what you want. Perfect, because I only had 12 minutes.

Score! It was so easy. First, an old Martha Stewart gardening book, where Martha wears high waisted pleated pants and some of the photos show her with dirt on her face! Next, the screenplay for North by Northwest, which I had just started watching on Amazon Prime last night. (Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters also went into my pile.)

I’ve been in a lot of bookstores and stayed for a lot more than 12 minutes, but Magus made an impression on me that I can’t shake. I’m hardly ever in the U-District by chance, but I’m committed to getting back there simply to wander through those shelves again. Maybe even take a look at the poetry section…which is a very impressive side effect considering I’m loudly contemptuous of poetry, self-hating in my secret love of the genre, and hypocritically disgusted by anyone I find also browsing the section.

But Magus, Magus. The best. A mother and her son were working the counter this afternoon. A creepy sorcerer doll hovered just behind their shoulders. Later, my curiosity (fear?) got the better of me and I felt compelled to call and find out what its purpose was. Turns out it was handmade for the store by a customer in the 70s and they’ve kept it since. Even enclosed it in its own glass box. Normally, I’m terrified of dolls, but this one must have cast a spell.

Have you been to this store, Bushwick?! If not, get there.