Monday, September 3, 2012
The Book Store
I was reminded recently of just how much I love those independent book stores. Really, browsing through a book store is a great afternoon’s entertainment as far as I am concerned. They are getting harder and harder to find. One opened in Burlington fairly recently, a companion of an independent store in nearby Essex, VT—the Phoenix Book Store.
This past summer, I went there with my sister to hear Richard Russo and his daughter talk about there new book. He wrote the stories and she did art work to accompany them and they talked about their experience of getting the set published. This past week, I went with two other members of the writer’s group to hear Daniel Lusk read poetry and David Huddle read from his new book, Nothing Can Make Me Do This.
You know, it did not used to be so hard to get out in the evening.
As a kid I sometimes had dreams about the candy store or castles made entirely of candy. As a teenager it was clothing stores that had my obsessions. In my twenties I got completely hooked on book stores and that has stayed with me. At one point, my fantasy occupation was to own and run my own book shop. Since I have retired, I spend a lot of time in my new version of the candy store—sometimes yarn shops but more lately—fabric stores and quilt shops. Still, there is nothing like wandering through a cozy book store.
You might think that as much time as I spent at the local library this past summer, I would be done with books. Not so, although, in truth, most of the fiction books that I read are from the library. There is nothing quite like a new book store. Everything is clean and attractively laid out for browsing. There is the smell of new books (as opposed to dust) and you can still imagine that any given item has not been handled by a thousand other people. You simply cannot get the sensation by shopping online. I stop by Barnes and Noble sometimes, but it is hardly cozy much as they try to make it that way. It is like shopping at Costco versus the small specialty market where the owner will suggest just the right bottle of wine to go with your tuna steak.
I always go to the new book display and staff picks. Then I look over the cook books and the garden section. Crafts, hobbies, home decorating, sewing, kids, blank journals—amazing how much time I can spend just on blank journals. I almost always buy something if only to thank the store for being there, and I have my Christmas shopping started.
I am really quite sad that so many of the little independent book stores have closed. Maybe I should make a plan to visit more of Vermont’s bookshops.