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Adventures in bookhunting: Milwaukee

This past Saturday, Frank Wheeler and I spent the late morning and afternoon hitting some used bookstores in Milwaukee. The places to hit have changed from when I first started spending my time out hunting for cool books though there are still plenty of places to go.

part of the day's finds

part of the day’s finds

We started heading south and so our first stop was an old favorite in a new location. Downtown Books was moved out of their wonderful location downtown so a hotel could be put up. They have a smaller location around the corner to the west. They also opened a new location near the old Allan Bradley building, just to the north and east at 1134 S. 1st St. in Walker’s Point.  While they do sell some of the higher ticket items on line it is still a great store and you can spend a lot of time browsing. In the years I’ve been shopping there I have never left empty handed. We even got to see owner Keith who is now semi-retired and letting his daughter take over the business. Great staff, great selection and good prices. I bought a Lily Tomlin album on vinyl and a few mysteries.

Next we stopped at a new flea-market that just started and is open each weekend. We walked around, laughed over a few items and talked to a dealer who was 100% carny. Interesting stop, but nothing bought.


More of the day’s finds.

Next up we headed down Kinnickinnic into Bayview and hit Bayview Books and Music. I shopped their store back when they were Recycled Music and Books before the new owners of the Prospect Mall chased them out. They are now in what Dan Dehling says is their permanent home. It’s a nice locations with lots of space. They have a wide and varied selection of books with good prices. I found some really nice old paperbacks and some really interesting non-fiction as well. They also have loads of vinyl and comics and movies.  It’s a great place to get lost in while looking though the books. The only thing I would change would be to add a little bit more light.  They are at 2653 S Kinnickinnic Ave.

We next popped down to the corner into Rush-Mor Records. A great indie record store with a wonderfully eclectic selection. I picked up some Die Kruezen on vinyl and had a nice chat with the person working. If you are hitting Bayview books you need to go here as well.

West Allis was next on our magical book hunting tour. A brief in and out of the Salvation Army store which is much like all other thrift store, kind of hit or miss.  I found a few hard covers I wanted extra copies of including Jonathan King and Michel Connolly.

The it was new territory for me as we entered Schroeder’s Books and Music. I had read about them on line but I really didn’t think it could be quite the experience the web claimed it would be. I was wrong. It was all that and more. The place is floor to ceiling books and tapes and magazines. Piles and piles of them. The west wall had shelves of books but were covered by stacks of books in front of them, EIGHT STACKS DEEP in front of the shelves. There is little organization to the store and it actually has a few aisles so full that you can walk down them. I frankly wonder how they are allowed to stay open, though I’m glad they are. I found a some fun books and really enjoyed the half hour I spent digging (literally) around the books. I could spend many hours in there. There are no prices on the books, through Alma, the older woman who runs the place took my books, did some scribbling of numbers on paper and using a secret formula came up with a very fair price for what I bought. My inner organization freak wants to organize the place. And truthfully I don’t think they ever said no to a single book, there are many paperbacks so beat up they should be tossed out. But there are also some real gems for shoppers with patience who truly enjoy the hunt for books.


2 southern, 1 chili cheese…..


Martino’s is a must visit place in Milwaukee

We ended the adventure at Martino’s Italian Beef for hotdogs which is the perfect end to any adventure. ( I had 2 southern dogs and a chili-cheese dog and Frank had 2 Chicago Style). I could eat here everyday and never get tired of it.

The day was filled with talk of books and publishing and various adventures we have had, the state of college English programs and the merits of different forms of education.

And more books…..

There are other great places in Milwaukee for books, Mystery One on Prospect, Boswell Book Company on Downer, Renaissance books at the airport  and we have great Half Price Book locations here. There are still plenty of place to hit so look for another article on the further adventures in book hunting.