Last night I got an e-mail from Border's with the subject line "a fond farewell" and I am sure many of you got the same thing. Up until that point I had believed that somehow the reports of Borders and Walden Books closing their doors were somehow untrue but this mass e-mail made it official for me. I am going to come clean...I actually got a little teary eyed over the whole thing! Why would a (mostly) composed adult get sappy over the closure of a bookstore? Because I love books.
Growing up, there was a tradition at my house. We visited picked up muffins and donuts from Dunkin' Donuts, visited my Nana and then went to Bookland to browse and shop books. From a very young age I loved books of all kinds and devoured them one after the other. My parents were thrilled and accommodating with this obsession and would buy me a stack of books each week. I would spend the rest of the day Sunday reading until I could not keep my eyes open. I remember the anticipation of going into the store and seeing what was new and what looked like a good read. I loved the endless rows and shelves of books all waiting to be discovered. I can still close my eyes and get that good feeling back.
Bookland closed quite some time ago, replaced by Borders but it was still the same for me. A place to go and lose myself amongst stacks of books. I could spend hours (really...hours) looking at titles, choosing some for now and keeping a list of "must reads" for later. After the kids were born I began to take them into book stores and ,while it can be a test of my sanity (3 children browsing 1 million book titles is an almost invitation for disrupting stacks!), it gave me enormous pleasure to see them losing themselves in the joy of a book and the magic of a bookstore.
I know there are other bookstores out there but I am worried. We are an online world now and we do our shopping through virtual shopping carts and browse books by web page. I do it all the time and I even suggest you all buy them this way in my reviews! I will admit it, when you are a grown-up it is hard to take the time in your day to head over to a bookstore just browse...it is often easier and more time saving to visit Amazon and just click. I want to encourage you all to not choose this route ALL the time. Please visit your local bookstores so we don't lose these magical places all together. When I think of bookstores becoming an online pleasure only I get a little panicky. I want that magical "real" bookstore pastime for my children and while an online bookstore IS a time saver it is not the same as browsing real bookshelves stocked with real books to thumb through and lose yourself in.
Please go visit your local bookstore and treat yourself to some time amongst the shelves. I guaranty you won't regret it and maybe we can preserve these magical places for ourselves and our children. Happy reading and please feel free to share...let's keep bookstores alive!