As Carlos Luis Zafron once wrote, “I stepped into a bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling.”
I often wondered about the magic of bookstores. The stacks upon stacks of words written by those long gone. The hours of work to create something that would extend its hand from its dusty place on a bookshelf to find ours and pull us into its world.
You could just as easily lose yourself in those volumes as you could find yourself.
Bookstores to me were always a place of quiet wonder, each with its own quirks and unique features. And so I set out to find them. To create a roadmap of sorts to those treasure troves in my own town, Gainesville, Fla.
I was seeking to lessen the burden. Now books had left their yellowing pages to find themselves projected onto monitors and screens trying to emulate the beauty of a page, of turning it, of underlining it, of bending its corners. For those of us who love books, we know there is no substitute for the paperback, the hardcover. Now their prices make our never-ending book lists forcibly more selective. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
So my roadmap will lead you to all the books you want, for prices that are affordable, that won’t hurt your wallet or your reading list. But, if little Gainesville were not to have it, my roadmap will take you to the places online that will have the books you want for a reduced price.
Dollar signs shouldn’t stop your reading. And they won’t.
They are there waiting for us to open them, the stories that will teach us and those that our own stories will enhance. For remember, we are books also. As Ari Berk wrote, “I am a book also, words and thoughts and stories held together by flesh. We open and close ourselves to the world. We are read by others and put away by them. We wait to be seen, sitting quietly on shelves for someone to bother having a look inside us.”
Take a look inside. Find your reading nook.