I enjoy visiting well-stocked used bookstores and have, quite literally, visited such bookshops all over the country. I have a strict practice when I travel on business to find two things: a coffeehouse with character and a good used bookstore. In Texas, the largest and best stocked used bookstores belong to the chain Half-Price Books. So, when I travel to Dallas (which has the largest store in the chain), Austin, or Houston, I make a point to spend some time in those stores, often visiting several in each city if I can make the time.
My work took me to Austin at the end of last week and I managed to spend some time browsing the Half-Price Books store on North Lamar. I found only one real treasure, but I picked up several other good books for reasonable prices. The treasure is James Brodrick's excellent biography of one of the most important Jesuits during the Counter-Reformation: Robert Bellarmine. The book is titled Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Scholar and it is the one volume distillation of Brodrick's original two-volume biography. It is by far the best biography written about this extraordinary Jesuit.
I was also pleased to find a hardcover version of Roger Scruton's interesting work Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey. It is actually an extensive survey of topics taught these days in modern philosophy and I am looking forward to reading Scruton's always insightful perspective. I found at a fair price Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master and A Year With Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from his Journals. Finally, I purchased Kathleen Norris' Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer's Life, which is also currently available on Amazon in hardcover for not much more than I paid to acquire it in paperback. I purchased this book because I like Norris' writing style, which I discovered several years ago in The Cloister Walk, and the subject matter (acedia) is of interest to me on several levels. All-in-all a fruitful used bookstore visit.