Tag Archives: Books

Don’t leave me at a bookstore

When I do my annual one day of going “out there” {shudders} to do Christmas shopping, I save the bookstore for the end. Because I know me, and I know that while I pretend I’m going to look for a specific book for one person, what I’m really doing is browsing all the interesting books I can find, to my heart’s content.

The smell of the books, the coffee aroma every bookstore has now, all of these topics I wish I could quit “regular life” to pursue full-time … the combination is dangerous.

I’m not even a voracious reader, compared to many I know: I read slow, at a deliberate pace as if I’m narrating a PBS special in my head — picture “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a gigantic cockroach” narrated at Ken Burns pace — and invariably switch among six different books at one time, none of which will be finished in a calendar year.*

*unless the person who loaned me the book asks for the third time: “So…have you gotten through that book I loaned you yet?” Then the guilt kicks in, and I explain that’s my morning breakfast book, not my evening dog-run book or my post-dinner bathroom book or my bedside book, but I will switch it to full-time book and get through it pronto, I swear — provided I’m not distracted again by…’Ooh, look! Pretty maps!’

I saved Borders for the end of my shopping today, a Sunday where I figured everything would close early and I’d “avoid putting myself in a position to make a bad decision,” as I believe they instruct addicts of various stimulants. But then I walked through the Borders door and saw “Open until midnight” for every night this week.


I don’t even remember everything that happened, just that I had the relaxed urge to poop off and on. The bookstore is like the Internet with eight different feature articles open in your browser, and you click stuff on a long breadcrumb trail and don’t even remember where you started or how you got there. It’s sphincter-relaxing like a library, but without the punishment and guilt a candle-lit church adds to that sensation.

I was forgetting things I was looking for and spending 15 minutes “just checking” something about the history of the shah of Iran, while thumbing a copy of “The Invisible Man” that I already freaking own.

Yada yada yada, three hours later I came out with one gift book I actually went there intending to buy, and one book for myself about the influence trains had on the landscape and urban development of America. All in all, not too shabby in terms of unintended money spent — but I probably could have been a tad quicker about it.

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get around to reading that train book one day.