Maile Chapman

The UNLV English professor says our bookstores have one very distinct advantage: They don’t smell like mildew. Apparently, in her home state of Washington, books are always slightly damp. The avid reader—and author of Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto—took a break from working on her second novel to give us a tour of her favorite used-book shops.

Book Boutique. This cheerful little place has bright yellow shelves and books that are stacked horizontally, so you don’t have to turn your head to read the titles. It hosts author signings and offers a large local-author selection. With a $10 minimum purchase you get to pick a free four-pack of books tied up in ribbons; they’re mostly well-thumbed romance paperbacks, but it’s a nice gesture. 19 W. Pacific Ave., Suite A, Henderson, 697-0001.

Academy Fine Books & Antiques. This store is ideal for browsing. It has windy aisles and stacks of books all over the place. Academy has been in business almost 19 years, and during that time has amassed beautiful ephemera, photographs, vintage hardback young-adult books and a vast selection of African-American literature. At Antique Square, 2026 E. Charleston Blvd., 471-6500.

Amber Unicorn. The enormous cookbook selection makes this a destination for the culinary aficionado. There’s also a sizable metaphysics section, so you can think of it as a one-stop shop for the mind and body. 2101 S. Decatur Blvd., Suite 14, 648-9303.

Greyhound’s Books. They have really beautiful reading copies: big, nice hardbacks with wide margins and clean pages instead of crispy, brown paperbacks. In other words, these are books to hold and admire. Fans of mysteries and Nevada history will enjoy this space. 4704 W. Sahara Ave., 444-9415.

Plaza Books. Here, literary criticism, biographies and fiction can be found on a single shelf. It sounds confusing, but it helps readers locate books in context. For example, I discovered a biography of diarist Alice James in the Henry James section. Plaza also offers a quality dollar shelf, comfy chairs and signed books. 7308 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 120, 263-2692.

Dead Poets Bookstore. This bookstore could double as a community center. It has multiple couches, a chess table, “stress-reliever” bongos and a free book bin. In the corner, there’s a Spanish salon where you can take Spanish lessons behind a velvet curtain. Oh, and they have a great fiction section, too. 937 S. Rainbow Blvd., 227-4070.

Savers. This may seem weird, but I buy a lot of books at Savers. The reason is the price. If you buy four, you get one free, and if you bring in a non-monetary donation, you get a 20 percent discount. There’s a surprisingly nice variety of classics, as students seem to be dumping their books after English classes. Six locations in Las Vegas;