What is it about bookstores?


On a recent visit to New York, I had a long list of places I wanted to visit. Museums, parks, old churches, restaurants. Crazy how much you think you can do on vacation, and yet how little actually gets done.

Of course, once I showed my daughter the list, her eyes jumped right to the Strand Bookstore at the top of the list and she saw nothing else. It has 18 miles of books, what else do you want? It has used and new books, stacks of old books, carts of $2 and $1 books on the street and even a separate floor for antique books. She was in heaven.

What this means is that we spent two days at that bookstore. We didn’t get to the museums because she wanted to return to the bookstore and that was cool with me. The great thing about it was that we didn’t miss the museums at all. Spending two days in a bookstore was a blast and we would have spent three if we could have. We stopped and ate mac & cheese at S’Mac in the Village (nothing but mac and cheese, nothing but divine!), then dove right back into the books.

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Mac & Cheese at S’Mac. Can’t stop at just one.

The smell of a bookstore, and the rows and rows of books, are a comforting sight. I feel alive, peaceful, curious, excited and more when I’m in a store like that. I just want to pull up a big comfy chair, cup of tea, cushy blanket, oh wait, I don’t live there. But oh if I could.

We’ve been watching old episodes of Black Books on Netflix since we got back (free on Hulu), a British sitcom about a guy who owns a bookstore. Sounds simple enough, but with typical British humor, Dylan Moran does it while drunk most of the time with a sidekick who is hilarious. Once again, a sitcom in a bookstore has got to be a hit, right? It’s books, what’s not to love?

So, when I need another bookstore fix, I’ll be at Bookman’s or Half Price Books, trying to get that NYC kind of feeling again. But it just won’t be the same.

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