You could have spent a week at A. Amitin's now-closed Washington Avenue bookatorium. You could do it on purpose, browsing World Book Encyclopedia sets from the Eisenhower era, going through stacks of black-and-white porn magazines or finding a first edition of a Gide novel in the original French (sans cover). You could also do it against your will, getting lost in one of the poorly lit sub-basements and having a giant stack of obsolete medical textbooks fall on your head and knock you out. After the store finally shut down in October 2003, the half-million or so books were quickly cleared out. Owner Larry Amitin kept some and donated some to Larry Rice. But the rest are stored in the old Globe-Democrat
building downtown and will soon be back on the market. "Amitin's is not gone, it's nestled in the bottom of the earth, ready to erupt again," imparts the certifiably affable Chesterfield claims adjuster, who says he will soon start selling tomes by appointment only (inquire at email@example.com
). In his free time since shuttering his legendary independent store -- founded in 1932 -- Amitin is penning what he describes as "a fantasy novel about the future of bookstores. I don't call it St. Louis but I call it 'Midwest City.' If Michael Moore ever sees this thing, he's probably going to have ten orgasms."