Saturday, October 25, 2014

New Apartment: A Silly Allegory

CAVEAT: As (we hope) most of you are aware, we carry physical books and not e-books, but this is neither because we're Luddites or because we're counterrevolutionaries. In fact, we don't feel the need to doomsay one medium or the other, because - they're different media. They're great for different things. We do have concerns about a certain monopsony involved in both physical and e-books, but that's different, and it's not something we're weepy and flaily about - it's something to reason out for policy purposes.

Meanwhile, we have every reason to believe that our medium, the physical book, is wonderful and practical, and we're also not adverse to poking fun at the monopsony and its product, which as we all know has room for improvement. This is a joke one person here wrote for a friend. Laugh or don't, but let's not argue. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What do you mean "Can libraries stay relevant"?!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Did You Know?

1. Our inventory has doubled since the old days on Washington Street and now contains 50,000 carefully selected, cleaned, and organized books. We circulate at least half of those books every year.

2. From a staff of one, we've grown to offer three full-time and three part-time positions, with more to come. We are always open during our posted hours, and we offer online services beyond those hours.

3. We've had the honor of working with Goodwill Industries and other groups to offer employment experience to several young interns, every one a winner just needing a chance.

4. We've come to be friends with our Northside neighborhood and proud advocates of our fellow independent, locally owned businesses (check out the page linked below).

5. We've raised over $18,000 for non-profit organizations like Local Foods Connection and for an academic endowment.

6. We bought and now have the privilege of curating one of the most striking historic homes in Iowa City, the 1847 Wentz House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

7. Most importantly: We've come to know many regulars, including young people just getting started with reading, and we are privileged to remain a part of their lives; we've also had the opportunity to circulate our community's used books and to keep favorite authors' out-of-print titles available for our City of Literature.

Thank you so much for making all of this possible!
Check out more info on our new location, including tours of the building and the neighborhood, below. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

219 North Gilbert St showing off its summer look. Notice the enticing flowerbed on the right (behind the tree) where our friend Abey of Amazing Services has been at work planning new greenery!

In other look news, we'll soon be sporting a lovely sign featuring the logo by Claudia McGehee. Tune in later this week for more details.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Travel Section on the Move!

Don't panic! The travel-related sections - travel narratives, books about ships/air travel/cars/trains, polar adventures - moved upstairs to the Gold Room, and Law, Economics, and Business are now in the downstairs hall. Just trying to find your favoritest spots for things you like.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

CONFIRMED: Sighting of space enough for a reader and 20+ seats. Iowa Summer Writing Festival, we are ready to host your readings, and we are really excited!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Along with Moonlighter Karen, we are excited to introduce to you our new Summer Ghost Michael! He'll be in during late afternoons, like the sun finally is, for the next week or so, then on full time Tuesday through Saturday.

Wait'll you meet them both. We are so thrilled to have them!

Monday, May 26, 2014

It's a beautiful day in Northside... drop in if you're out enjoying the lovely afternoon. We've even got a special consultant working with our window displays... (He said he's an expert but seems very distracted by the birds.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Today marked the debut of our new Moonlighter, Karen. She will be helping during the transition period here at the beginning of our busiest season and on occasion, we hope, for a long time to come - meet her once and you'll see why we are so delighted to have her with us!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More new games in today! Be sure to check the fiction section, too, since Ali has been doing truly herculean work in there to try to add some 150 titles to our... 10,000 books in general fiction!

Colson Whitehead (who will be reading at Prairie Lights Bookstore tonight at 7), Munro, Ariyoshi, DeLillo, Celine, Kincaid, Lively, Pynchon, Murakami, Coetzee, and - whoops, no, we don't have The Goldfinch anymore. See why you should come early and often?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Space for Readings Project Day 2: E and B moved two bookcases, opening up space for at least five more seats. I'll have to figure out the next step tonight, but meanwhile...

TWO BOOKCASES FOR SALE. 7" deep; 32-36" wide; one 7' high, one 6'; shelves of a height appropriate for smaller (mass market) paperbacks; pine; slightly worn but smooth, medium brown stain, good for at least another 60 years of being home to books. $150 each.

(There will also be other bookcases coming up for sale as we rearrange.)

Also, 1921 set of Rorschach cards. Yes, really.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Today's project: Make space for readings this summer. Moved a section, started on another... oops, I bought some Eisner, Pekar, Sfar, Gaiman, Frank Miller, Kubert, now where am I going to put these?

AND HARDCOVER EDWARD GOREY. The sky may be holding back rain, but the awesome books are pouring in. Get dibs! Come now!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Quiet day. The store greeters take a break in the east window while a nearby human worker sorts books on classical music and jazz.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

So. Many. Art. Books.

Before we start adding these two new collections, we already have: 75 books on technique; 90 on architecture; 198 history and criticism; 70 photography; 211 individual artists; 97 museum exhibit catalogues; 52 fashion and design.

Who's in there? Everyone from Chagall to Alvarez Munoz, Wyeth to Daumier, the Etruscans to Seymour Lipton, Sir Kenneth Clark to Dave Hickey, Boerner catalogues to University of Iowa Museum of Art collections, books on photography lighting and on life drawing and on mosaic tiling and on jewelry making, and stuff about 50's industrial motifs and art quilts and the history of costume, and how about Japanese brush painting and Celtic artifacts and street art and naive movements? Oh, and there's at least one book on Marvin Cone and a big full-color Toulouse-Lautrec one that just came in....

Monday, April 28, 2014

Native American Studies: now eight shelves full of everything from "Book of the Hopi" and Peter Matthiesen's "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" to recent scholarly releases from University of Nebraska press (including a grammar of Creek, which you should buy so that I can quit being tempted, please).

The section is in the Blue Room, upstairs. For lack of space, we did move a lot of mythology titles out to the Myth & Folklore section by the couch, and you might also want to check U.S. History - West (Red Room) for new arrivals there....

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mystery and Thriller (True Crime is at the end of the section, and Horror is around the corner).
Number of books: 1728.
Average price: $5.

We're in for a rainy week, so find something adventurous, clever, or full of plot twists to take you away....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Come in, we're open! Really!

So a lot of people apparently think the Haunted is closed. As in, for good. It's true, we've not worked as fast as we could have to get signs for our new location at 219 N Gilbert St (a block east and around the corner from the old place if you haven't been in yet!), and maybe we haven't advertised enough.

The thing is, it's getting to be kind of an issue - we need people to find us and our better-than-ever selection if we're going to be able to afford the dangerously awesome books people are offering us.

So we have three questions:

1. If you were going to advertise a new business location but had a fairly small budget, where would you advertise?

2. What can we do to make the new location a place you'd want to be - whether buying or writing or reading or relaxing?

3. If you hear someone saying we're closed, could you please correct them?


Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy National Poetry Month!

 Celebrating National Poetry Month by adding another hundred titles to our poetry section, bringing the total selections to nearly 1100. Average price: $6.

Not counting the signed, limited, or otherwise rare editions, which are in the glass cases around the corner. And we have some wild ones right now. You should take a look.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Number of plays in the northwest room: 1059
Average price: $2.95

Thursday, April 17, 2014


So one of us just finished reading "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore," which is both fun and full of a hope we can really appreciate - that books will continue to have a place in society, alongside technology, each offering people a chance to be creative and to grow. There is, however, an ongoing question around here, inspired by the representation of booksellers throughout modern fiction, and we'd like your answer:

What do you think it would really be like to work in an independent bookshop? (People who have done so, no spoilers.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Newest book from Zen poet Kyugen, now available!

Also, we now know why it's so tiring to shelve the general fiction section. IT HAS 10,000 BOOKS IN IT. Think about that - ten thousand carefully selected, neatly cleaned, alphabetized works of world fiction, in or translated into English, average price $6.50.

And that's just one section.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

HELP WE ARE TRAPPED BEHIND PILES OF AWESOME FRESHLY CLEANED AND PRICED POETRY as well as literature, ancient history, speculative fiction, young adult novels, World War II history, nature and ecology, literary criticism including both major annotations of Finnegan's Wake....

Monday, April 7, 2014

MORE in Anthropology (green room), Biography (gold room - lots of 19th century authors, but also Kerouac and the Leakeys and more), Native American Studies (blue room), and Poetry (on your right as you come through the front door).

And yes, we have several books by Peter Matthiesen, both fiction and nonfiction.

Also, for the incipient philosophical jokester in your life, chicken-and-egg matrushkas (safe for thinkers age 6mo+)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Henry Miller, Jose Saramago, Raymond Queneau, P. D. James, A. S. Byatt, a shelf and a half more in Women's Studies, another shelf of classic Christian theology, stacks of books about NASA missions and the Mars projects.

Don't forget that we also have half a case packed with gardening books, with emphasis on the environmentally-friendly and the food-as-well-as-beauty-producing (and around the corner, agriculture, now with books on urban farming). Look in the Green Room at the top of the stairs.

Also, philosophy readers, you might want dibs on some of the stuff I just shelved in the Blue Room.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dozens of fresh art books, mostly in architecture, photography, and individual artists; half a shelf of Hunter S. Thompson (Journalism is in the red room upstairs); "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman; Hoberman spheres, wooden letter blocks, terrariums, and Sylvia Plath and Noam Chomsky finger puppets. And that was before 2pm.

Monday, March 24, 2014

So we had to rearrange United States History and Military History to fit in the new arrivals from last week, and now it looks like we have hit a fiction jackpot, some interesting Economics, and a shelf or two of early Christian theology (not just Augustine, but Tertullian and Origen and Gregory of Nyssa and more). And there are new plush dinosaurs. So we're pretty happy, but we'd be even happier to share our toys. Come on in!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The staff banded together and gave Nialle a week off.


...Now that Nialle's back, though, it's time to play "How much Shakespeare criticism and Latin can we cram into the bookstore while adding another shelf to Buddhism?" Next week, we'll have some new toys, including a Tesla doll and fearsomely cute plush Angora rabbits as well as awesome new educational games and toys for the 2-5 age group. And then we'll get cracking on expanding the U.S. history department, though there will doubtless be other surprises as the weather warms and friends with fascinating books to sell escape their winter lodgings. Be the first to see what they bring - come in, come in!

Monday, February 24, 2014

So I had just barely finished putting out a box of Native American history when a ton of biology, programming, and two great big, crisp, clean omnibus editions of The Walking Dead came in, and I wasn't done even sorting those before about thirty books of classical theology came in, and that's to say nothing of the daily oddments like birding books and practically-new fiction and - oh yeah, boxed set of George R. R. Martin hardcovers - so. This is Monday. I reckon we've put out about three hundred books since last Monday. If you haven't been in, you might not have seen the one (or more) that you want....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

So back on the subject of Milton, Shakespeare, the history and criticism of English literature - see, the person from whom we got this collection gave us a *very* generous deal on the books, fourteen boxes of them, so we can pass savings on to you. Average price of books I'm putting out right now: $2.95. Come see what treasures you can own for less than the cost of lunch!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Taking a break from putting out dozens of books about Shakespeare, Milton, and the literary scene between them (temporally) to think about a word.

On the cover of a book of found-poems, a blurb says the author has 'astringent intelligence.' Poets and poetry readers, what do you make of that? It seems like it could be functionally correct, considering that it's found and edited material, but - somehow the word seems unindicative of desirable poesy. Am I wrong?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Whew. More than a hundred fresh titles in fiction, still working through the Judaica collection (four boxes out now), distracted by books on acting technique and Aldo Leopold. If you haven't been in to see all the new arrivals lately, you're missing out!

There are things we almost never have, things we have often wished we could get, things you've been asking for, and things so surprising and fascinating that we all wish we had five or six extra days just to read them....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our house: as it appeared in Margaret Keyes' book "Nineteenth Century Home Architecture of Iowa City," first published by the University of Iowa Press in 1966.

To give you an idea of the age of the house: Iowa had only been a state for a few months when it was built. The house is younger than the Old Capitol, Stone Academy, and St. Mary's Church by just five years; it is older than Old Brick. It was fourteen when the Civil War began, and it turned 100 not long after World War II ended. This year, the house will celebrate its 167th birthday.

Nialle plans to be here for its 200th

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quick Tour of the New Haunted

Virginia's Room - A star quilt over a comfy chair, an endtable for your coffee cup and book pile, and visible beyond are part of World War II through the Korea and Viet Nam conflicts. You're in the Military History section.

Virginia's Room - Looking the other way, toward the U.S. Civil War and the first World War. While we often give directions by calling this "the red room" it is actually named for Nialle's grandmother, who has been a tremendous supporter of the Haunted over the last nine years.

This squishy chair is in Will's room, also known as "the green room" or "the science room." Look: bird books and gardening books... hey, which smart aleck put a book with tigers on the cover in the bird section?

Looking the other direction in Will's Room: Linguistics and a lot of books in French, German, Spanish, Latin, and more. Behind you are Biology and Ecology, and off to your right are Astronomy and Physics; to your left are Psychology and Medicine.

Will's Room, the Human Department: Psychology, Education, Games, Sports, and Medicine. Visible at left, books by Dr. Nancy Andreasen; at center, the rapidly growing Chess section; not so visible at the right but definitely a priority with us, Baseball, and some other sports.

Agriculture and Anthropology and the door from Will's Room to the next room. Anna, you old skeptic you, I want you to notice that while you can *see* sacred writ from the science room, it's not *in* the science room.
Where sacred literature *is* is in the Radulpharium, named for Ralph Keen. Visible here is Christian theology; not shown but to the left is general spirituality, and to the right are Eastern religions; around the corner to the right (it's a maze) are Judaica and Islam. In the background/center of this picture is the other side of the room, where we keep philosophy and cultural history.

Cultural history (Native American Studies is particularly visible at the left front) and Philosophy (now with more philosophers! on the right), as well as our (in)famous Sex, Death, and Cities sections (now with more cities). Also visible at the top left is a south-facing cat bed and the trim that gives the Radulpharium its nickname of "the blue room."
Between the Radulpharium ("philosophy and religion room") and the history rooms on the north side of the building: Mythology and Folklore. Yes, we did that on purpose. The couch is under the east window and is sunny by day and cozy by night; make yourself comfortable. The cats might even sit in the baskets in the window and not on you. Unless you pet them, and then your lap trumps the baskets.
Across the hall: Josh's Room. On the near left is the currently unusually large Medieval History section; on either side of the chair are Oceania, Africa, and Asia; housed in the bookcase on the right (on loan from the Jon Collection) is Geography, conveniently located in exactly the same way that the Urals are, between Asia and Europe (not shown, off to the right).
Europe is still just a bit of a jumble, but probably because it is confused about Russia being at the beginning of this bay, or possibly about the book displayed two pictures ago - the flag book with the possibly soon to be altered Union Jack on the front. (Vexillology alert: If Scotland secedes, some feel, the blue has to leave the UK flag.)
This photo, which shows the mess - I mean the room - to the right as you walk in the front door of the bookshop, is a placeholder awaiting tomorrow's project: to depict the main floor.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


We have finished moving into our new location on Gilbert Street. One more day of settling and moving things around to make room for book buying, and we will resume regular buying hours - 11am to 4pm, Monday-Saturday.

There's still a mess, and we still welcome help with checking to make sure that the alphabet happened where appropriate, or with moving this to that spot, or with making Logan and Nierme feel welcome in the new space, but WE'RE HOME.

Pictures, events, and general delight to follow.