As many great book readers and lovers have said, books are like people, they are friends. When I walk into a bookstore and find the proprietor has for sale The Great Gatsby in first edition, I immediately have a bond with him. He shares my taste in books. And in reading that book, again and again, returning to it as one would regularly telephone an old friend to keep in touch, I develop a really good relationship with Jay Gatsby and Nick Carroway and Scott Fitzgerald. Their familiarity comforts me, I listen to their stories as a good friend would, and I get excited at the prospect of spending time with them. Even though I may enjoy cookies, or kiwis, or clean clothes, I do not form a relationship with any of them, or the places in which they are found. And so an independent bookstore, as opposed to a retail outlet for publications, becomes like a bar or café, where one goes to congregate with one's friends, meet similar folks, and gossip with the proprietor and patrons about what Salman Rushdie has been working on.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The discussion of independent bookstores continues over at Beggars of Azure. Quillhill eloquently conveys the magic of a great bookstore in this passage: