Bookstores

 

There’s a special feeling about an independent bookstore. It is similar to a church or a library in that it has a reverential sense, but without any restrictions on moving about, talking or laughing. A bookstore can be a haven that often serves as a safe place to meet friends or family, and it offers a sense of community. In a bookstore, people talk about books and share recommendations. Writers get to have readings there. And bookstores have actual booksellers who are almost always people who know and love books and can supply helpful information. 

Ordering books on the internet gives you a very different experience. Yes, the purchase might be less expensive, but the experience is a good deal less expansive. In a real bookstore, you can browse and pick up the books and get the feel of them in three dimensions. Four, if you spend time with it. You can chat with the bookseller, ask questions, get help with finding the books you want. You will encounter real people, people who share your interest in books. On the internet you  look at graphic illustrations, press buttons, enter numbers, and a few weeks later you will receive a drone-delivered book.  It’s not a human interaction and it doesn’t have much to do with literature. The big internet stores and the big chain stores make it clear: they see books as “product” and they are all about product.

 A real bookstore isn’t about product; it’s about people and place, and poetry and prose. It’s about inquiries and explorations and connections.

 Earlier this week I had the good fortune to read from my book Minerva’s Owl at Vancouver’s Massy Books on Hastings near Main — http://www.massybooks.com/ — which describes itself as is “a funky retail destination in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood” and as “a place full of wordy, quirky, artsy, connectivity.”  Massy Books is all those things and more.

 At the beginning of my reading, I commented on the surroundings and noted that you can get the feel of a really fine bookstore as soon as you walk in. Everyone nodded. It felt good there. And I picked up a couple of great books at low prices!

Vincent Van Gogh saw the positive spirit of such surroundings, “Bookstores always remind me that there are good things in this world,” he said.

These days we need to be reminded of that.

Check out Massy Books. You’ll feel better for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

4 thoughts on “Bookstores

  1. I was so glad to be able to attend that reading, primarily to hear you read from your latest book but also to listen to the lively and thoughtful discussion afterward. The bookstore I would call the icing on the cake except that icing doesn’t last that long and I hope I’ll be visiting Massy Books regularly for years, now that you’ve introduced us.

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  2. I was so glad to be able to attend that reading, primarily to hear you read from your latest book but also to listen to the lively and thoughtful discussion afterward. The bookstore I would call the icing on the cake except that icing doesn’t last that long and I hope I’ll be visiting Massy Books regularly for years, now that you’ve introduced us.

    Like

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