Saturday, January 15, 2022
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KC’s book scene

Caroline Turner

Looking for a break from schoolwork that also benefits your academic success? Read a book. Reading other books, you are interested in besides required reading may help you read and comprehend books you’re not as into.

Besides the two bookstores on UMKC’s campus and the libraries, bookstores offer another space that are a less academic, more relaxed environment and benefit your education. They are a great place to meet other interesting people and share new ideas.

Half Priced Books (1002 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111), a small chain store in Westport, is a favorite among locals. Vast and open, the building is lined with various subject sections. The store buys and sells books, music and movies, so if you are looking for some cash you can also sell your own collection. The large one level layout has very scarce seating but is well organized and direct, so you can quickly find what you are looking for.

Patrick Sanders, a UMKC junior, said that at Half Price Books, “The philosophy (books) gets eaten up really quickly.”

Half Price Books in Westport.
Half Price Books in Westport.

An English and Sociology major and consultant at the Atterbury Writing Studio, Sanders also writes poetry and especially likes seeking out poetry, philosophy and fiction books at local stores. He said that at Half Price Books, “they have the (poetry) greats,” and overall it is, “really good for a chain.”

Prospero’s Books (1800 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO 64111) remains a favorite in the community for around 100 years. Located near KU Medical Center and nestled among many local restaurants, cafes and shops, the shop has a cozy community feel. Sanders mentions his experience at Prospero’s as usually walking in looking for something specific and walking out with possibly anything.

Three charming levels full of books and lots of seating invite you to get lost. Sidewalks outside are lined with $2 books, and the average shelved book inside runs around $8. The upper level lined with large windows and green plants has couches and spacious seating. Display tables dot the store with some of the local area’s favorite authors and niches. The lower level provides a more intimate and secluded space for quiet reading. The staff is very kind, welcoming and eager to help. The 100-year-old hardware store turned bookstore is full of character on every level and has something for everyone.

Sander’s favorite shops were Prospero’s Books and Half Priced Books, but some other local bookstores to check out are:

  1. Rainy Day Books- has an exceptional reputation for the numerous events and authors they host year-round.
  2. Steele’s Used Books- a local treasure with a variety of subjects and events.
  3. Willa’s Books- beginning as a street vendor on 18th and Vine, now specializes in African-American books.

An anticipated bookstore to welcome to K.C. fall this year is Afterward Tavern and Shelves- a bookstore, café, bar, all in one, coming to the downtown area.

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