My Favorite Book Stores
My favorite bookstores don’t have national recognition or stockholders. They are often downtown near the court-square. The owner is some now semi-responsible ex-hippie who digs Dylan and at least knows Monroe. She is mom of mom and pop, and pop makes the coffee and offers homemade banana bread in Saran wrap with a small round yellow sticker that indicates the price.
The floor are pitted wide hardwood planks. An old man in a Lazy Boy chair reads the Wall Street Journal. A window AC unit and an overhead fan labor to rearrange the dust. The newest national titles are on a rack near the cash register along with a stack of a cookbooks written by a local author. The autographed copy is no extra charge and she’ll be by Wednesday. A kid in the corner plays Celtic music and sells CDs. There is no cover charge and the store doesn’t take a cut out of his CD sales, either.
They don’t believe in censorship and have the racy books too but keep ’em out of plain view of the kids. They aren’t naive. They know this generation didn’t invent sex, but they don’t exploit their wisdom. There’s a time and a place for everything.
A computer at the front desk will locate all the titles they carry, and it’s a suprising number. If they don’t have it, give ’em an ISBN number and they’ll get it. They love books too, and think if a writer worked hard on one it should be read by at least somebody.
If an old doctor with mandolin walks in to play ’em a tune they don’t shoo him away, but smile and hear out his story. They are my kind of people and I hope to find ’em all.
I’ve always loved these kinds of book stores. They are artists, not biz people, yet they still have to be practical. They need to clear enough to stay open, and I want to help their cause. Independent book stores, like independent people, need to hang around a little longer.
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