Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Collection of Bookstores

On Saturday nights in Brooklyn, when I was alone and my friends weren’t calling, I’d take the F train up a stop to Prospect Park and spend the evening in the Barnes & Noble. I wasn’t the only one who did this. The place was packed.

A man once came up to me in a San Antonio Borders and tried to recruit me for the army. It was midday on like Tuesday. I was out of work at the time and must have looked it. He said military service was a good way to make money for a few years. He didn’t mention war. Or patriotism. This was fall of 1999.

There was a Borders in the World Trade Center. You could still see the sign in the rubble.

I went to The Strand the second day of my first trip to New York. I decided then that I needed to move to the city.

Shortly before my son was born, the stress overwhelmed me. I left the condo and walked a long way to a Barnes & Noble (maybe a Borders) in downtown DC. I browsed for several hours until I felt better. Then I bought a Guide to Literary Journals and told myself I’d publish something before I was thirty. I had six months. Four months later, I received an acceptance from Flashquake as my son rolled side-to-side on his mat.

If I’m in Austin for even a couple of hours, I’ll stop by Book People. It’s across the street from the flagship Whole Foods. These are good hours.

There’s a bookstore in Dupont Circle with a bar. I don’t much like coffee. But a martini while I browse the new fiction? Genius.

I own a Kindle. I’ve bought a lot of books from Amazon and spent a lot of time on their site. This is all very convenient. But it never has the right smell.

Every time I take my kids to the nearby movie theater, we do two things after the film is over. We get ice cream. We go to the second floor of the Borders and we pick out a new book from the children’s section.

We should probably do that this weekend.

That store is going to leave a big space to fill.

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