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Yesterday’s Books, today’s treasures
BY Melissa Hutsell"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." - Frederick Douglass

Those looking to escape the Central Valley, need to travel no further than Yesterday’s Books. The Modesto-based bookstore is a treasure all its own, and with hundreds of thousands of stories between its walls, it is no wonder it has claimed the title of the 209’s Best Bookstore.

From as far back as Paula Gauthier can remember she has always had a love for books.

“Some of my earliest memories are visiting the library with my mom, or buying second hand books with my grandmother,” said the store’s owner. “I still have copies of my childhood favorites, and I share them with my son.”

Gauthier not only shares her passion for books with her family, but also with the community. She began working at Yesterday’s Books as a teenager where she quickly learned.

“I didn't just love reading, I love books themselves — the smell, the feel, the sound of pages turning. I will be a book reader and lover forever, and I love sharing that love with our customers.”

Buying the bookstore in 2008 was a dream come true for Gauthier.

The bookstore nurtures the 209’s love for reading by buying and selling an extensive selection of new and used books, rare finds, music, CDs and audiobooks. With more than 100,000 books in stock it is easy to get lost in with wonderment. The shop is seemingly boundless for booklovers of all ages, “from 2 to 102, [we] have books that would appeal to anyone who loves to read,” said Gauthier.

The shop’s wooden shelves hold hundreds of categories that range from fiction to non-fiction, including history, literature, theology and children’s books.

“We do carry many new titles, both of major releases, like the new Harper Lee book 'Go Set a Watchman,' and local author titles, as well as classic literature that may be required for students in local schools,” added the owner. “The variety of our inventory means we truly do have something for everyone. Book lovers rarely leave without finding something to take with them.”

If they cannot find what you are looking for in stock, they offer special orders of new copies.

The only thing an avid reader enjoys as much as a good book is one at an affordable price. As the largest selection of used books in the Central Valley, Yesterday’s Books specializes in bargains and value. Every piece sold is fairly priced, and in good condition. Because of this, Yesterday’s Books is full of hidden treasures that have been passed on. General used books are the bookstore’s primary market, however, Gauthier has come across some incredibly rare finds, such as first edition Mark Twain, or John Steinbeck novels, a first edition of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" (her personal favorite), and a first edition of "Wuthering Heights." “Those collectible classic novels are always fun to see,” she said.

Finds like this are only part of the excitement for the staff at Yesterday’s Books.

“Being able to share books and a love of reading with new generations of readers of all ages means everything to us and we hope to be able to continue for another 35 years,” said Gauthier.

For more information, visit Yesterday’s Books at 3457 McHenry Ave., Modesto, call (209) 521-9623 or go to