I share your enthusiasm for old bookshops. As well as old record shops. As I mentioned to you previously, I prefer listening to classical music on LPs. That's because the old vinyl somehow has an immediacy, a presence, that is sadly lacking in cds and mp3s. The best place to buy records is at thrift shops and garage sales where you can pick them up for a song. At actual record shops, you may have to pay a little more, but the quality can be better. I recently paid fifty dollars for Yo-Yo Ma's first recording of the Bach cello suites. Yes, it's a lot of money, but his interpretation is really sweet and affecting.
I like your account of discovering "Beyond Within". That was the first book of Guru's that I read, too. It was actually intended for use as a college text book on the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy. It's so intriguingly and accessibly organised, and so inviting and enjoyable. I never feel that I have read that book enough.
I agree, it's a shame that book stores are dying out. That's why I deliberately try to patronise my local used book shops as much as possible. Fortunately, Chicago is a very old-fashioned Victorian city and there are still many wonderful independent book retailers to choose from.
Right now I'm reading "The Three Musketeers" as translated by Richard Pevear. It's a great read, so funny and so full of joy and life. I highly recommend it. (Anything Richard Pevear translates is wonderful- his translation of "The Brothers Karamazov" is revelatory).
I'm very happy to belong to this family of voracious book-worms!