At first, I thought I must have entered the wrong store absent mindedly, revelling in my new found freedom from intensive dog sitting. Looking around and beyond, I saw books on display but in my immediate space, entering the bookstore I was treated to a whole section of cozy grey wool blankets, tea making things, candles, table linens, dinnerware, yoga mats and baby gifts. Bookends, word games, giftwrap and you name it engulfed the side aisle of the store.
Near the back of this long line of lovely things I found a display of children’s books that led in fact to a whole section of children’s games, toys and oh yes, some more children’s books.
Making a quick but thoughtful purchase of some children’s books for a family gift I made a dash out the door to avoid spending anymore money on stuff I most likely didn’t need. I was tempted but I overcame the impulse.
They didn’t really want me to buy books in that store. They wanted me to buy the illusion of the book reading lifestyle. Rare teas, rich chocolates, soft woolen throws and earthy looking pottery soup bowls on pedestals demanded my attention and my cash.
A book lover all of my life, I keep warm while reading in woolen blankets crocheted by my sister, drink my tea out of mugs collected from garage sales ,enjoy the scent of finally using ancient candles stored for years in case of a power outage and eat my homemade soup out of small tempered glass pot that can either be heated on the stove, oven or glory be, the microwave.
I used to go into the store to just look around at the books and breathe the bookish dusty atmosphere. I didn’t mind the scent of coffee brewing along the café side of the store. In fact I found it often a temptation I couldn’t ignore. Also appreciated were the many interesting chairs and tables around the very large store encouraging the buyer to stay awhile, read and then decide about a book purchase or not. Phased out a couple of years ago, the music section was another favourite spot of mine. Replacing the jazz, blues, folk and classical vibe are displays of electronic media stuff. Oh well. I can maybe find a music store before they are totally replaced by on line sources.
Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed and out of the loop, yet again. My idea of a bookstore keeps being made over and updated while I hang onto a dream place of quiet shelves, stocked with real books. The kind of store that the second hand type of bookstores have become. A little cramped, a little dusty, rather quaint but filled with choices and treasures of the literary kind.
I’ll go back. I always do. I know the books are in there…. somewhere.