Page 5 of 6
Best Old-School Bookstore
Traditional used bookstores — the kind with a mix of recent hardcovers, classic fiction and obscure old tomes with gotta-have titles such as I Was a Soviet Worker — are going the way of the 8-track, thanks to the Internet. That’s why BOOKS AGAIN is so refreshing. It carries Southern literature, mysteries, first editions, signed novels, children’s books and so forth, ranging in age from last year to the late 19th century. And its downtown Decatur location is appropriate, given that our most progressive suburb has become a literary center with its own annual book festival, an antiquarian book fair and more than its share of independent bookstores. Books Again reminds us of why we like used bookstores in the first place: You never know what you’ll find.
225 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-1444. booksagain-ga.com.
Best CD Shopping for Indie Snobs
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into CRIMINAL RECORDS is that the high-set counters make the staff tower over you like gods of musical knowledge … either that, or tatted-up pharmacists. Instead of handing out Prozac, however, they’ll prescribe you the latest from Peter Bjorn and John or the Polyphonic Spree. Tucked between Junkman’s Daughter and Aurora Coffee, this L5P staple doubles as a comic-book shop, a magazine stand, a toy store and, sometimes, a concert venue. It’s got plenty of vinyl, material from local bands, concert DVDs and rare EPs from the likes of Death Cab and Kings of Leon. Plus, its ridiculously wide selection of graphic novels (it has more than most stores that just sell comics) means you can satisfy penchants for Brian Eno and Brian Michael Bendis simultaneously.
466 Moreland Ave. 404-215-9511. www.criminal.com.
Best Record Shop That Feels Like a Time Warp
Former Athens music staple LOW YO YO STUFF, well-known for its tight quarters and unwieldy selection, relocated two blocks ITP in April 2006. The shop didn’t set up camp in some hip intown neighborhood filled with artsy types and trendy bars. Instead, the Low Yo Yo dudes chose a tiny and deteriorating strip mall behind a towering office building off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. The cave of a store finally has enough space for both people and LPs. Records galore fill table after table and range in price from $5 to $100 or more, depending on how serious you are. The real fun is sitting on the floor searching through the old vinyl, priced from $1 to $2, and gawking at garish ’70s album covers. Be advised: The store is only open Fridays and Saturdays, from noon-6 p.m.
3854 N. Peachtree Road. 706-207-7014. www.lowyoyostuff.com.
Best Reason to Stay Away from Blockbuster
Don’t let some nationwide chain — or your Netflix queue — dictate which films you check out next. If you really want to broaden your horizons, head to VIDEODROME. Like some kind of bizarro-world version of Blockbuster, here it’s the “mainstream” films that get pushed into the back corner. Tarantino himself would be impressed by its Shaw Brothers section, and nearby shelves are exclusively dedicated to the finest in Hong Kong, Korean, German and Russian cinema. It also has a stand-up comedy section with every special Eddie Izzard has ever recorded. That alone is reason to stop by. It’s also probably the only place in town you’ll find Dementia 13 (a cheapo, B-movie horror flick that happens to mark the directorial debut of one Francis Ford Coppola) sitting right next to The Godfather trilogy.
617 N. Highland Ave. 404-885-1117.
Best Accessories for Pampered Pets
Whether you’re looking for a $170 dog bed, a $325 kitty jungle gym, $60 doggie booties or cat kibble labeled duck or salmon “a la veg,” HIGHLAND PET SUPPLY offers a fine collection of both high-end and semireasonably priced goods for the discerning pet owner. The selection of organic and natural pet foods and treats — including a $22 stack of sweet-potato chews — is almost enticing enough to give us humans hunger pangs. There are also fancy pet carriers, “party collars” and a wall filled with toys, many of them made from hemp and other natural products. The store also offers a five-week off-site training program and do-it-yourself in-store grooming stations, complete with elevated tubs, shampoo and conditioner, tools, towel, and blow dryer. What next, doggie pedicures and kitty facials?
1186 N. Highland Ave. 404-892-5900. www.highlandpet.com.