The Allure of Bookstores

Of truth is the acknowledgement that “the best things in life are free,” and it pleases me when I see indication of people’s understanding of this, and of their indulging in such  worthy opportunity. Consider book stores, and in particular modern-styled book stores which boast of couches, free wi-fi, and in-house coffee shops where may be purchased a myriad of coffees, from a straight cup of black to the most exotic of blended versions, with or without a cloudy smother of cream, with or without a jolt or two of espresso. Peach smoothies and iced berry drinks whirled into delectable treats are offered alongside slender cellophane-wrapped Biscotti and a tender Danish selection that is visible on the shinning glass shelves. Have no money? The aroma is free, as are the sounds and sights, and on opening the door to enter the noble place one is besieged by the incomparable perfume of freshly ground coffee beans, by splendid light, and by the sharp rattle of spinning ice.

The best part though, are the long shelves of books and magazines, free for the taking; well, I mean free for the taking down to read, and then either to purchase, or to place back in its spot. Glossy periodicals on any subject thinkable, from photography to cooking to current events to home decorating to fashion. Books of every genre to peruse. Ample rich chairs to settle into with your trove for skimming, examining, browsing, or even for serious study. Ah, yes. A bookstore. One of life’s greatest gifts. Free.

We only have one in Lake Havasu; Hastings is its name. Jerry and I go there frequently. We hook into the internet, we read magazines and books, we write, we drink coffee. We gaze. We consider. Board games are tucked about as are boxes of crayons for any youngster who wants to use them.

On Friday evenings, we’ve noticed a group of young people who come in with their own tables, which they set up so as not to block the use of the regular tables. They set up games they have brought with them, and are soon immersed in that activity. Some bring their own drinks.

Last week I wandered about taking pictures in this wonderful place. When I went outside, I noticed this couple visiting in the balmy Lake Havasu night. “May I take your picture?” I asked.

“Sure,” they said, and turned to pose.

“No, just ignore me,” I instructed them. For I wanted you to see another unstaged scene from an evening in a bookstore, an evening available at no charge. Free. A gift.

_______________

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10 thoughts on “The Allure of Bookstores

  1. Hi, Carol. You’re such a sweetheart, and I do miss seeing you since our meetings are not the same ones anymore…and since we live so far apart. I do love you and your darling family. Please say hello to all of them.

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  2. We have a Barnes and Noble in our area that we probably frequent twice a month for so. For me, it is a bittersweet experience. I do like a lot of the things that were mentioned such as being able to peruse the books and the game section, the smell of coffee, occasionally purchasing a hot beverage and pastry to eat while looking at books, etc. etc. The bitter part for me is when you come across the books, magazines or games that are just totally ungodly. However, I have had some really good times there with my kids in the kid section. I have 2 teenagers, but sometimes we like to go in the kids’ section and just look at books there. There was one time in particular that we were all laughing hysterically over a book we were reading together. There have been other times too where we got into a conversation with someone about God or were able to invite someone to church. Bookstores can be a really good place to connect with people.

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  3. Rebecca

    I love you too my sweet mom. I meant to say earlier the local Barnes and Noble, not Starbucks. Isn’t it such fun to go find a neat book that you have heard or read about and sit down and read a little? Sometimes if it is really good you can even stay a couple of hours and read the entire thing! And its fun to people watch too!

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  4. Rebecca

    Oh I love to do this! I had some cards to purchase at a local store and while there also picked up a bag of mint truffles.(couldn’t resist) Then, happily made my way to the local Starbucks, found a book that looked interesting, spied a vacant chair and settled myself in. An elderly gentleman came a few minutes later and sat next to me and he too cozied himself. I pulled out the bag of truffles and dug in. Out of the corner of my eye I observed him looking at the chocolate and asked him if he would like one. He said, ” Oh I would love one. Mint truffles are my favorite.” We sat and talked quite a while about our shared love of chocolate. I left a bit later feeling glad I “couldn’t resist.”

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  5. Oh, Pam, I’m with you concerning books. I LOVE books. I should write about it one time, (maybe I already have–not sure) but one of my earliest memories is when I was no more than 3–probably 2–when we were visiting some people in the country in Missouri. The house was built high with an open foundation, and I crawled under the porch and found some old books. I remember asking the owners if I could have the book I held in my hand. I think the reason I remember this little incident is because my dad sternly rebuked me for asking someone to give me something. Anyway, I too, have loved books since childhood.

    A shame about your Barnes and Noble and Books a Million. I agree about physical books, thinking they will never be replaced by reading on a screen.

    Anyway…thanks for coming by and for your comments. Love.

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  6. We love to “hang out” in our bookstores here in Chattanooga. However, our Barnes & Noble used to be like your Hastings… in that it was a meeting place and you could spend hours there. It is no longer “user friendly” that way. So, it has been replaced with Books A Million and they are not what they used to be. They do still have the lounge chairs, but no longer have any place to set your coffee cup/drink cup. They used to have these black sturdy coffee tables in the middle of four lounge chairs. Now your cup is precariously perched on the arm of the chair while you peruse through your stack of books or magazines. I suppose there are many who leave a mess and buy nothing… but that is usually NOT our case. We almost always find some book we just cannot live without! Some say, books are on their way out??? I love the smell, I like looking at the covers, and I enjoy simply holding the book and manually turning the pages… I like the PRINT on the PAPER. I’ve loved books even before I could read them. Enjoyed your post!

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  7. Hello, Barry. Welcome to my site. Hope you visit here often. I went over to your site and read a bit there this afternoon. You are an inspiration, and write very well.

    Thanks for the information about LibraVox, a service of which I was not aware. I LOVE the internet, and although I know it may be fraught with real danger, it also is such a blessing, such a source of inspiration, and of useful material.

    Be blessed always.

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  8. While there are a few book store located in Ocean County, NJ; they may as well be on the other side of the continent. I can’t drive and don’t have access to an affordable means of transportation.

    Thankfully, there are solutions to this minor problems and you’re looking at it. 😉 I’m referring to the Internet. There are a tone of great books available that one can read. Guess what? Many of these books are FREE. There are even audio books available; courtesy of LibraVox.

    Thank you Father for providing solutions and inspiring people to go forward with them.

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