Recently, I ventured to my favorite Barnes and Noble bookstore, of course expecting to go in, browse, and perhaps make a few purchases.
Imagine my surprise when I walked up and noticed a sign indicating that the bookstore had permanently closed. It was as if I was living that memorable scene straight out of the 90’s classic romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail. “Quelle nightmare!” (Where is Meg Ryan when you need her? Only this time, the big-chain bookstore that served as the villain in You’ve Got Mail, has become the victim too.)
The closure of this particular Barnes And Noble leaves my city with zero- that’s right, zero- big chain bookstores.
Thanks to several adults in my life, I grew up nurtured with a love of reading. I always felt right at home at B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, or Super Crown. I’d spend forever looking for the latest in Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series. I just had to have the latest Judy Blume book. What? Me leave the bookstore without the latest installment in Emily Chase’s Girls of Canby Hall series? Never! Fortunately, my mother indulged my addiction. My aunt would sometimes also pass along her books to me after she finished reading them, including her copy of a biography on famed athlete Wilma Rudolph.
As a child, whenever I curled up with a good book, I felt transported into the world of the characters in those books. (I feel like I grew up right beside twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield in Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series.)
But my love of reading served another purpose. I believe it was being an avid reader, and falling in love with the written word, that made me want to become a writer and obtain a journalism degree.
Today of course, the reading experience is a lot different than it was when I was growing up. I still enjoy the physical copy of a book, and smelling the print as I turn the pages. But like so many others, my primary method of reading has become the electronic book (e-book) on my phone and tablets. I also enjoy listening to a great audiobook while in transit.
But the calm, oasis and magic found in a brick and motar bookstore is something that still cannot be replaced.
If you’ll excuse me now, I am in a period of mourning.