There's a certain magical feeling you get when visiting a used book store or comic book shop. It's something the big box stores just can't offer. Where else can you meet local authors, talk comics with new people, or test your D&D or Magic: The Gathering skills against challengers from your own area code in a laid-back and friendly atmosphere?

You don't have to drive all over creation to find your literary oasis. I found five great places to visit right here in Central Texas!

  • Book Cellar employee Jimmy unpacks new arrivals. - Photo by Aaron Savage

    The Book Cellar in Temple

    Growing up in Temple, I visited The Book Cellar just about every weekend. Descending those steps at the corner of Main and Central was like walking into another world and made book shopping feel like an adventure. The Cellar's been under new ownership since last year, but it maintains that otherworldy feel. There are still rows upon rows of great books, and the comic book section's been moved to the back so that you don't feel so claustrophobic while looking for that classic issue of New Mutants or Bone. Sports fans and history buffs will also find awesome collectibles and autographed items, and during my last visit I spotted some goodies Game of Thrones and Star Trek fans will definitely want to check out.

  • Left to right: Dorothy, Roxane, and Ken McWha are on hand to help you find your next favorite book. - Photo by Aaron Savage

    McWha Book Store in Belton

    McWha Book Store at 114 E. Central in Belton is a bright, charming shop with a huge selection. What makes it truly special are both its Local Authors section and the work owners Roxane and Ken do with the community, including providing books to local churches, schools, and the J.A.I.L. Ministry program, as well as mailing literature to local inmates on behalf of family. Right up front you'll find a shelf packed with volumes by over 90 local authors. Two notables would be KTEM personalities Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack, both of whom recently sat down for book signings at McWha. Speaking of book signings, the McWhas host signings once a month during Belton's Market Days. They offer an excellent store credit system, and they're part of our Seize the Deal Program.

    Visit McWha Book Store Online or head over to their Seize the Deal page to get $25 credit for $10 or $50 credit for $25!

  • Terry Stanley is a knowledgable and friendly guy who's there to help you get your game on. Go visit him at Book Stan' on North Ft. Hood St. - Photo by Aaron Savage

    Book Stan' in Killeen

    I paid my first visit to Book Stan' Thursday, and I'll definitely be going back soon. Located at 204 N. Fort Hood Road just a few blocks from the gates of The Great Place, Book Stan' is packed with comic books both new and classic and loads of cool collectibles. Also impressive is the wide array of tabletop games and accessories you'll find. If you're into card games, dungeon crawling, and punishing heresy Warhammer-style, you'll be in Heaven. Owner Terry Stanley is friendly and knowledgeable, and the store hosts several game nights each week.

    Stop by Book Stan's Facebook page and wish them a happy anniversary. June 1st marks their 24th year at the Killeen location.

  • The reading room at Fletcher's Books & Antiques is like the private library you always wanted as a kid. - Photo by Aaron Savage

    Fletcher's Books & Antiques

    As soon as you walk into Fletcher's Books & Antiques at 945 N Main St. in Saldo, the outside world goes away. In fact, Fletcher's doesn't even feel like a book shop. It feels like a favorite uncle's house, full of gorgeous and strange artifacts and stacks of books that make you wonder whether or not your uncle is secretly a professor at Hogwart's. After taking a left at the front entrance and entering the reading room, you'll immediately feel right at home and want to relax with a good book. Fletcher's has no shortage of those, and specializes in out-of-print and antiquarian volumes. There are plenty of modern books as well, and if you find yourself lost in the pages of something particularly captivating, don't be surprised if you look up to discover that owner Tyler Fletcher has placed a friendly cup of coffee next to your chair.

    Fletcher's hosts spring and fall book signings, and recently had a signing with local writer Paige Britt, author of 'The Lost Track of Time'.

  • I found an Infinity Gauntlet at America's Heroes Comics & Games. Go have a look at it before some maniac uses it to crush all our souls. - Photo by Aaron Savage

    America's Heroes Comics & Games in Killeen

    America's Heroes Comics & Games is a wonderful den of geekiness located at 104 West Rancier Avenue where you could easily lose an hour or more talking comics with the staff. They have an impressive selection of books, collectibles, and tabletop games and accessories. If you stop by on a Saturday, you can put your tabletop gaming skills to the test. Plus, if a nerd in uniform you love is stationed overseas, they can ship anything in the store for you.

    Click here to take a look at their website, or listen to the Sons of Geekery podcast.