Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Looking at my Books

Border's Bookstores going into bankruptcy. Powell Books laying off workers. Bookstores in trouble.

I sit looking at my books thinking of my mother picking up a children's book for her daughters. I'm sure she took her time reading each one finding the one that made her chuckle or one that drew her to the pictures, those her children would love. She didn't pay attention to the authors. No, Mom went for what she knew a child would love. I sit looking at my books.

I love going to the library where I can follow my favorite authors. Titles call out to me. I can take a couple of books to last me for enough days to get them finished between watching kids and puppies, writing and household chores. The history that surrounds me is incredible. I feel at home.

"Grams, can we go to Powell's?" Sydney asks.

Powell's has been referred to as the largest private bookstore in the world. A map is needed to get through the store of new and used books. What a great place to get lost for a couple of hours. For my girls and I, it is an one of our favorite places to go. http://www.powells.com/

"Grammy, will you go with me?" Gabby asks when we get to the bookstore. She leads me down the aisles showing me books she has read and those she is sure she needs. We take a couple of books to a table and look at them together. Her list of wants grows longer.

"Grams, can we take our sketchpads?" Syd asks. We often take our pads to the bookstore settling into overstuffed chairs in the art section. The pencils come out along with the pad filling with new efforts.

"Grammy, can you help me find a book?" Gabby asks as Sydney heads off to find her own.

I settle them in then go to find a drawing book of my own. We are each lost in the silence of our art despite the noise of other shoppers. This is our niche. An hour passes. Time to move on.

"Grams, can we come back soon?" my oldest grandchild asks.

We will return as long as there is a bookstore. We will peruse the books as long as there are shelves to hold them. We will cherish those we have of paper and ink, those we remember from the day we picked it out or the day we received it as a gift from someone who made the effort to find the perfect one. I sit looking at my books.

Our technology is vulnerable to anyone who could plant a virus into it eliminating everything. Maybe it isn't probable, but it is possible. Hm. What would happen then?

I sit looking at my books. I sit wondering if I am looking at a time past. I'm wondering if we are wise to give over our books to technology. We can share them, but the need for a bookstore is to this writer very important. I'm wondering if I will lose those precious moments spent walking the aisles of the bookstores.

I sit looking at my books.


  1. It's a terrible shame to watch book selling go online. I don't think books are in danger but browsing the stacks and leafing through the possibilities is. People don't realize the value of some things until they are gone.

    Sometimes, marches right over us because we simply don't believe the pace of change.

  2. Before Christmas I visited an awesome bookstore, Faulkner House Books in New Orleans, where the author once lived. The manager of the bookstore was so knowledgeable. I couldn't mention a recent work of fiction that she hadn't read. That's one thing that the chain bookstores sometimes lack--personnel who read voraciously and like to share their love of books. So while I'm sorry about Borders, I'm much sadder when an independent bookseller bites the dust.

  3. Susan, I so agree. Our Powell's is a local store. In fact Portland claims it as a treasure. We have already lost several small book stores. How I miss them.