On May 23rd, 2019 I visited Haslem’s Book Store in Tampa, Florida. Whenever I go on vacation, I like to purchase a book or two to read later and add a memory to my vacation. This is something I would strongly suggest readers do. When you see the book or re-read it in the future, you will remember the vacation you bought it on.
On the plane to Tampa I was reading Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher but had just finished Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. It is safe to say one of these books is very different from the other. Never read Dreamcatcher and read Way of Kings yesterday. After enjoying Way of Kings so much I was in the mood for some adult fantasy. I have often been underwhelmed with fantasy because it is written for teens. It was time to find some adult fantasy.
Haslem’s Book Store is a large warehouse type building on the corner of Central Avenue and 20th Street in the Historic Kenwood part of Tampa. It is not a modern, beautiful building by any means. In fact, you would likely think it is a Goodwill or Thrift Store if you didn’t see Book Store across the front.
As you entire, the newer fiction and fantasy is shelved. There are about 10 shelves in this section. They are very strategic and only have a handful of books from the most popular authors. If you are looking for a specific book from a newer or unknown author, you likely are not going to find it here.
As you browse towards the back of the store there is a very unique antique book section. There were dozens of older books ranging from $50 to $2000. There was even an original users manual from the Mac2E. I didn’t see anything that caught my eye, but if you enjoy antique or rare books, you might want to check Haslem’s Book Store.
To the right of the main room is a used book room but it is mostly romance and mysteries. There was a very small section of used fantasy.
After doing a little research I decided it was time to jump into the Jim Butcher Dresden series. Haslem’s Book Store had a copy of each of the 14 books in this series so I purchased the first two – Storm Front and Fool Moon. I also noticed the Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy and remember reading that these were very adult fantasy. I purchased The Blade Itself.
Overall, Haslem’s Book Store was very good but not great. If you are looking for used fantasy or want a suggested section with some great authors or books, this is not the store for you. I have been to many other book stores that have better suggested sections and were better laid out to offer you the best titles in your favorite genre.