Thursday, May 21, 2020

I Really NEED to Visit a Brick & Mortar Bookstore - And Soon

I can't tell you how badly I want to get inside a brick & mortar bookstore right now - any brick & mortar bookstore will do. I want to want to experience again the immense pleasure that comes from picking up a book that I know absolutely nothing about, a book whose cover just reached out and grabbed me as I was walking past it. There's nothing like experiencing the crispness of a brand new book, the weight, the paper grade, the way the pages have been cut and bound, and best of all the new book smell that, for me, is rivaled only by the smell of a new car. 

I want to wander the shelves aimlessly on a Saturday morning, maybe taking the occasional coffee break along the way, and gathering up a few books to take home with me that I didn't even know existed on Friday night. 

I want to search the "Bargain Book" shelves to see if something by an author whose work I collect has recently ended up in the stacks of remainders there. 

I want to take a look at the magazines on offer to see if there's some new literary magazine I need to read or subscribe to. 

I want to listen in on the occasional bookish conversation between customers or between customers and booksellers that often make me smile to myself. (Sometimes, I even gather the nerve to worm my way into the conversation - even if a bookseller is part of it.)

 I want to browse all the bookish junk that bookstores place near the front of the store in order to tempt you one final time as you stand in line to check out (bookmarks, pens, journals, book-lights, bookends, bookstands, etc.).

I even want to look at all the puzzles, games, toys, and LPs on offer in so many bookstores today - a practice I've often criticized, so I must be getting soft.

The thing that scares me most about not being able to shop an actual bookstore is the possibility that I will forever miss out on dozens and dozens of books I would have otherwise discovered for myself by browsing shelves. 

And, I'm really getting tired of reading so many e-books. That's just not the same reading experience as reading a hardback or quality paperback, and it never will be.

Just writing this short post has made me realize that if I ultimately contract Covid-19, the most likely reason will be that I started shopping bookstores before it was really wise to do so. 

I can hold off on most other shopping without much of a problem because I didn't do all that much of it even before this mess began. And, as for groceries, I find that if you go early enough in the morning, and keep that cart moving, you don't run into all that many people anyway. So I'm not as nervous about grocery shopping as I was just a few weeks ago. 

No, it will be a bookstore that gets me, I'm pretty sure, if anything does. I can't imagine holding out until a vaccine is available in a year, or two years, or ever. I really need my bookstore-fix, and I need it soon.



9 comments:

  1. I feel your pain. Perhaps not quite as badly as my town is not well off for bookstores so I don't get to spend time in a really good one very often. Luckily I was able to indulge myself the week before lockdown when we were in Penzance which has an excellent one. But yeah, as soon lockdown ends I'll be off to off to find a good bookstore for a good mooch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Something like what we are going through forces us to recognize our true priorities. I've noticed that it's mostly the little things, the simple things, that I miss most.

      Delete
  2. I've recently seen a movie, and thought that Sam has to see it. We streamed it through Apple TV via our local movie theatre, who got half the money during this time when it can't open. I'll send you the link, and hope you can find a way to watch it. And yes, it is related to your post!
    https://booksellersdocumentary.com/

    STUDIO MOVIE GRILL CITY CENTRE
    822 TOWN & COUNTRY BLVD, HOUSTON6.2MI
    logo
    STUDIO MOVIE GRILL - COPPERFIELD
    8580 HIGHWAY 6 N, HOUSTON14.4MI
    logo
    STUDIO MOVIE GRILL - PEARLAND
    8440 S SAM HOUSTON PARKWAY E, HOUSTON

    https://thebooksellers.vhx.tv/products/the-booksellers-for-museum-of-fine-arts-houston

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Nan. I'll see if I can figure out how to make this happen for me.

      Delete
  3. This is how I feel about my library. I've been jonesing for a fix. I guess this is how addicts feel. But oh how I miss browsing and checking out books. I miss bookstores, too! Can the world please go back to normal now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid that normal will never really be normal again, that there are some permanent changes, not all of them good ones, coming from this mess we are living in right now. I've already had one son-in-law lose his job because of the changes, and finding a new one is proving next to impossible. But I still want my bookstore and library visits to return as soon as they can figure out how to do it safely. You really can't browse e-books, no matter what Amazon's PR folks try to tell you.

      Delete
  4. I really really miss visiting the public library. I have allowed myself to splurge online at an indie used bookstore, and got a ton of swaps in the mail, too (soon to arrive, maybe I will post a stack picture) but it's just not the same as browsing in person, especially the different scents of paper and ink I do love the old book smells!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me, browsing is all about being surprised by a few new titles that I had never even heard of before coming into the bookstore. The vast majority of books being published today don't get anywhere near the amount of publicity necessary to bring them to the attention of the very readers who would most enjoy them. Sometimes it boils down to the kind of pure luck that can only happen inside a bookstore. Stumbling on books you will eventually come to love is a truly wonderful experience.

      Delete
  5. I feel you on this one! Bookstores are definitely comfort places for me. I miss browsing in them for all the reasons you list. At least when they do come back, maybe we'll appreciate them even more??

    ReplyDelete