There is a holiday for everything. Executive Assistants Day, Grandparents Day, President’s Day (don’t these important men deserve days of their own?). According to my mother, every day is children’s day even when your children are adults. So Mom, where’s my daily present?
Hands down my favorite is November 7, National Bookstore Day. Addicts do not have celebrations of their addictions but I do! I am a book-a-holic, this is my day, and you cannot break me of the habit.
I don’t have one favorite bookstore; I have many depending upon the city. When I am headed to a new city my first stop is the local bookstore. Indie bookstores are my passion but the chain behemoths will do in a pinch. I will not buy books online unless I am against the wall and the book is out-of-print. Before I hit the final purchase button I do check my local library. I wouldn’t commit to a man without test driving him first (no online dating for me) and I won’t let a book into my life without seeing it up close. I want to hold a book in my hands, okay I admit, I cradle books and hug them when they become mine.
Friends window-shop and hit the malls. I spend hours in bookstores inhaling the words and thoughts of authors I know and those I haven’t met yet. But you rarely find me seated in a bookstore, I am on the move from section to section, carrying my coffee with me and avoiding the myriad of treats. Sticky hands do not touch books in my world. Books I lend out that come back with food stains might as well have a scarlet A on their covers. So I keep the publishing business going by buying books for friends. I am not a lending library. I don’t lend my dogs out; I love my books almost as much. Ssh, don’t tell Lola and Dylan I said that.
In Atlanta, A Cappella Books is my destination of choice. Owner Frank Reiss shares what’s out coming next, who’s speaking in town and knows exactly who or what I am looking forwhen I visit. He turned me on to THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG. The protagonist, Paloma, reminded me of me. I was a 15 year-old 40 year-old. Intellectual adults were my favorite companions. I crawled inside the cover of books as salvation from the scary world. Indie bookstores created the sensation over Muriel Barbery’s novel. A bookstore can ignite a career.
No visit to New York City, my hometown, is complete without afew hours at The Strand bookstore. “18 miles of books” is their slogan. Big box bookstores are laid out in neat grids dictating one’s flow to maximize sales. The Strand meanders and I roam along with it. Downstairs, main floor, every nook and cranny including the street side racks. I pack three or four books even for a weekend and I return home with a half-dozen more. Thank god for expanding suitcases.
Shakespeare & Co. in Paris. City Lights in San Francisco before I head to Chez Panisse in Berkeley. The average itinerary includes top restaurants, shopping and sights. For me it is the bookstore tucked away in a corner, known to locals, just the way I like it. A meal at the Jules Verne on top of the EiffelTower with a book in hand trumps a boring dinner companion. A bookmark comes in handy when riding the Ferris Wheel on the Rue de Rivoli at night. Paris is called the City of Lights for good reason though they aren’t bright enough to read by and dinner at revered Taillevent should not be laid to waste by motion sickness.
Going somewhere, ask me, I know a bookstore you will adore.