Green Apple is a rambling independent bookstore in San Francisco. As a kid I lived several blocks west of the bookstore, and spent a lot of time combing the Used Sociology section (full of racy books), the graphic novels and the Nancy Drew section. The store smelled like fresh envelopes and old dust. You could stand around reading for hours. It is still a great place to find books.
As with any mecca of specialists, Green Apple boasted an astoundingly knowledgeable staff. I remember one long afternoon spent browsing the SciFi paperbacks in search of Philip K. Dick novels. There wasn’t much I hadn’t read, so I asked a guy in a Green Apple shirt what he might recommend in Dick’s place. He paused, ruffled his beard, and cocked his head sideways to scan the SciFi titles.
“Arthur C. Clarke,” he decided, plucking a thin volume from the shelf. It cost one dollar. “Clarke is the poor man’s Philip K. Dick,” he explained, and rang me up without asking if I wanted the book. Which I did, of course. Of course I did.