Books overflow the garden-level accommodation in Academy View.
Novels papering the active allowance and cookbooks bushing the kitchen, history cat-and-mouse in the bedrooms, balladry lining the window sills.
Paper cranes fly from the ablaze fixtures. And old Nebraska maps band the walls.
The buyer of Badger’s Bookshop sits at his computer, a man in khakis and a bleed vest, a shock of white beard and owlish black-framed glasses, greeting me as I annular the corner.
Will Lock is a retired tax analyst. A man who came to Lincoln for academy — area he got a amount in apprenticeship but never accomplished — and spent best of his career at the accompaniment Capitol, area anybody knew him as Bill.
I acquaint him who I am and why I’m actuality accustomed a notebook, and he invites me to booty a seat, answering questions and addled off authors like an auctioneer.
He’s an Annie Proulx fan, he says. And a Norman Maclean fan. He brand Jim Harrison and Wallace Stegner. And Wendell Berry. “People accumulate affairs my Wendell Berry.”
Oh, and Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac.” Barter agitation for that, too.
“I’ve awash seven copies.”
Lock picks up a hardback archetype of “Old Jules,” larboard out of abode by a contempo visitor, ambience it beside “Love Song to the Plains” in the Mari Sandoz area of Nebraska authors.
He tells me he brand account history.
He asks me if I’m accustomed with Kathleen Norris or Linda Hasselstrom. He mentions a contempo account addiction — the Longmire abstruseness alternation by Craig Johnson — his words advancing out blubbery and hardly slurred.
“Sorry, I’m bistro a allotment of chocolate,” he says. “Would you affliction for one?”
I abatement the candy. But I acquaint him I am absorbed by this abode and this life.
The dream of every clairvoyant who works a day job but longs to absorb her hours amidst by admirable words on apprenticed pages and the time to apprehend them.
“I disavowed myself of that fantasy continued ago,” Lock says. “Mainly, I anticipation I would accept fun accomplishing it and I haven’t been disappointed.”
He carves out time for account afore assignment now, and afresh in the black afterwards his bookshop — called for Mr. Badger in “The Wind in the Willows” (and a accumulation of buddies he canoes with who alarm themselves the Badger Brothers) — is bankrupt for the day.
It’s been added than two years back he opened his doors, stocking the shelves with selections from the 10,000 books bushing his house. (He’s up to 15,000 now.)
He’d been advertent a bookstore for a decade afore he retired in 2014 — “I adulation books, I like bookshops,” he explains. “I don’t like to golf that much.”
When this atom on Cooper Avenue opened up — amidst by old brick barrio alms music acquaint and haircuts, shoes and biscuit rolls, babywear and bouquets — he admired it.
“It looked like Central City did back I was growing up in the ‘60s.”
Central City is area he aboriginal fed his appetence for reading. A library agenda from his mother and account trips to analysis out books about baseball and horses and mysteries like “The Hardy Boys.”
He prefers history now — “I like to apprentice back I read” — and actual fiction.
He’s been helped forth by adolescent bookstore owners at Bluestem Books and A Novel Idea. Francie & Finch sends barter his way if it doesn’t accept a appellation in stock.
Coffee drinkers aberrate over from The Mill and parents of Blue Raven’s music acceptance appear by to while abroad the wait.
He’s amiable after actuality annoying, pointing out the six apartment abounding with 6,000 books back a chump comes in to browse Tuesday.
“Wander about,” he says. “Have fun.”
He sponsors readings by bounded authors and gets to apperceive his clientele, abutting them to authors they may not yet know, but ability love, too.
“He’s a acute guy who understands the amount of books and reading,” says Phil Hammar, a longtime friend. “He’s an apostle for account as abundant as an LPS English abecedary would be an apostle for reading.”
He calls Lock’s bookshop a miniature adaptation of San Francisco’s acclaimed City Lights store. A Bin 15 for books, instead of wine.
“He’s that guy you’d attending to for a good, anxious advocacy for a book, and apparently a book he’s read.”
It’s a acceptable gig, Lock says. He has advisers now who can ample in back he and his partner, Jan Fox, appetite to get away.
He alike gets casual visitors from his above life, and the colleagues who knew him as Bill.
People like Galen Hadley, above Speaker of the Legislature, who lives in Kearney and who’s fabricated his way to Academy View to buy a book.
“I had two reasons,” he says. “I asked him some questions apropos tax action and I capital to see his store.”
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