There are places in this world that are just magic, for whatever reason. For me, bookstores were such places of wonder and magic. I miss bookstores. I know they still exist out there but the magic seems to have dissipated.
When I was a child I used to go to the Ridgefield public library a lot. I was reading by the time I started kindergarten. I didn’t want to stay in the kids’ section, though. I’d sneak upstairs to the adult section of the library and lose myself in the aisles. I’d browse and read the dust jackets, marvel at the cover art and wish I could just read them all RIGHT NOW, just absorb all the words through touch and feel all the stories between the covers. It was a historic old building and full of atmosphere and there was nothing better than finding a scary looking book there on a rainy day and hiding in a quiet corner to escape the world.
When I was in my twenties I worked for a leather goods manufacturing company called Trafalgar. They made all the Ghurka handbags, which I still love! The company was on the Post Road in Norwalk, CT and right across the street… was a Barnes and Noble, complete with a Starbucks cafe. It was my favorite place on earth. Lunch breaks several times a week were spent at the store. With no sense of hurry I perused the shelves and displays, sticking mostly to the Horror and the Sci Fi sections. I fell in love with covers and lost myself in stories from new authors and old favorites. Dean Koontz. Stephen King. Melanie Rawn. Robert McCammon. Barbara Hambly. I was a voracious reader. I’d make my decision on which wonderous tales were coming home with me over a cup of mocha cappucino and then head back to the reality of the business world.
The world has moved on. Books are now instantly downloadable onto our phones and tablets. We don’t have to wait for anything. The selection process doesn’t include holding the book in hand, flipping through pages, there is no amazing bookstore SMELL… The world is in a hurry. We want what we want and we want it NOW. I’m as guilty as anyone else. When I do find time to read now it’s usually on my Kindle. I write and publish books and they’re available on Kindle. I always get a little extra excited when I see people buying the actual paperbacks.
I hope my books are in real stores out there somewhere. I hope that at least a few people have picked them up, flipped through them, loved the covers, brought them home… I guess I just want t be part of that magic.