U is for Used Books.

A lot of people were curious to know what I missed about the US while living abroad for so long.  Big hamburgers?  Giant parking spots?  Spatial awareness while walking down the street?  Nope. Used bookshops!  And, I arguably chose the best neighborhood to find these dusty treasures.  Although most recently my favorite has been Half-Price Books in Berkeley, the Mission is loaded with second-hand reading material.  In honor of my one-year anniversary of being back in the US of A, I decided to take a used book tour and look for U authors. Unlikely?  Perhaps.  I started out at my house on 16th street and ended up at the ultimate used-book center: the Mission branch of the SF Public Library.
My first stop wasn’t a long journey: Adobe books, literally across the street.  By far the most chaotic in terms of organization, Adobe is also the coolest and the quirkiest bookshop in the neighborhood.  It’s full of dusty paperbacks, worn-out lounge chairs and even more broken-in SF natives.  Today, I went to the Spanish section to look for my U book:  Score!  An staple from any undergrad Spanish lit course: Miguel de Unamuno, San Manuel Bueno, Martir.  On the inside, a bookplate proving its origin at the UT Austin Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Next up, Community Thrift.  Usually fairly reliable for $1 books, but unfortunately today’s trip was quick.  Their “U” section?  One book.
Further down Valencia street, I thought I would try out the sci-fi specializing Borderlands, whose U/V combined section contained approximately zero books by U authors.  Next door at Modern Times Book Shop, another fruitless search through their used book section, which consists of a cart on the street.
On to Dog Eared Books, also known as the place where I purchased my first used book in San Francisco (Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City.)  Here, I noticed a slight obsession with John Updike.  An entire shelf!  My interest is peaked.  Anyone have any opinions about this author?
My last stop was the library.  Frustrated and fed up with the letter U,  I took on a different mission:  Audio books for my upcoming road trip to Montana.  A sparse selection, but I managed to walk out with a few, including Jack London’s Call of the Wild.
Conclusion? There are not many authors whose names begin with the letter U.