Before you read today's post, did you challenge yourself? Five more days to keep the story going! And can I just say, I love where it's going. :)
Oh, and I almost forgot: Happy Victoria Day, Canada!
Now for today's thoughts...
I can't think of anything I love more than shopping for a new book. Nothing makes me happier than walking into a bookstore and wandering the aisles, looking for the newest title from a favorite author, checking out what's recommended by the bookseller, picking up books with artsy covers and turning them over to see if the blurb on the back has anything provocative to say. While I don't mind ordering books online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, there is sheer pleasure to be had in walking into a brick-and-mortar store full of books. Because a store full of books smells like a store full of books, and that, my friend, is the best smell in the world.
I was in Portland, Oregon last week and finally had the pleasure and privilege of visiting the world's largest bookstore for new and used books. It's called Powell's Books, and from the outside, it doesn't look like much. But on the inside... oh my word. Taking up an entire city block, the store is four floors of nothing but books, books, books. Used mixed in with new. Impeccably organized. A store map with sections labeled Rose Room, Blue Room, Orange Room, etc., with everything contained in those rooms meticulously categorized. The clerks were grungy and some kind of look half-stoned, but they knew instantly where everything was without having to check the computer. Customers ranged from little kids to homeless people to scholars to tourists. No attitudes, no snobbery, no literary elitism. Just hundreds of aisles of worlds within worlds, waiting to be discovered by book-lovers from every walk of life.
I didn't know where to begin. It was an assault on the senses.
I don't often get a chance to visit used bookstores. I normally don't buy used – I try really hard to support the publishing industry by buying new, because the more books publishers sell, the more money they have to invest in unknown writers like me (yes, it's always about me in the end, isn't it). But sometimes, there are books you just can't find brand new. And this is when I give myself permission to buy a book that once belonged to someone else, thereby shutting out the shrieking, horrified voice of my mother that says, "What are you doing! You know that people read their books while sitting on the toilet, don't you? Hoy! Don't buy used!"
After two hours (about as long as I willing to torture Steve), I left with a massive bag filled with about twenty books ranging in price from $1.95 to $9.95. The more expensive the book, the newer it was. All told, I spent less than $75. Most of them were young adult and children's books, ones I used to own but that somehow got lost along the way. And, as I'm trying to widen my reading scope, I bought my first women's erotica and my first paranormal romance. he clerk didn't bat an eyelash when she rang up The Sexual Life of Catherine M right after Ramona & Beezus. If I had purchased this combination at Barnes & Noble, I would have gotten very strange looks. Hell, two weekends ago, the gay clerk at B&N made a sarcastic comment when I bought a book on gardening. So what? A girl with a perfect manicure can't buy a book on gardening? I wear gloves!
But at a store like Powell's, the clerks don't judge. Because frankly, they don't give a shit. They're just happy their customers love books as much as they do.
And I do. I do I do I do.