This Saturday my partner and I headed to our local Borders, to see what was left. Now, I’m Eugenian enough to know that I’m not supposed to like chain stores on principle. In practice I’m sort of split down the middle. I prefer the anonymity that shopping in a chain gives one; I despise the close quarters of indy stores and the chummy attentions of the shop keepers, regardless of the shop in question. This, I admit, it a regional thing: my last trip back to New England included a less-than-normal annoying trip to Walmart, and it wasn’t until I was leaving that I realized it was the lack of constant barrage of ‘may I help you find anything?’ that made the visit so pleasant. I work in retail so I’m not putting the attentive employees down, and I know more shoppers in our city prefer being approached than doing the approaching if they have a question. Different region, different customs. No big deal. (Though I still think we should get little meters over our heads while shopping to indicate that we’ve already been asked and kindly let us shop in peace, but maybe that’s just me?)
I grew up in Massachusetts. I grew up in small town Massachusetts, and for the longest time my book acquiring options were: small town Massachusetts library (during days when our police staff was largely volunteer base, mind you, so that should give you an idea of 1: the library budget for books and 2: the library budget for being open); a used bookstore a town away; or, joy of joys, the Walden bookstore three or four towns over at the nearest mall. (Auburn, and that’s Aaahbihn, for those not in the know). When the first Barnes and Noble opened down the road from the Aaahbihn mall, it was pretty amazing. Going there now, it’s one of the smaller Barnes and Noble’s I’ve ever been to, but at the time? Ooh, joy. Oh, rapture. I have a number of fond memories as a teenager bookstore hopping with friends and burning up my paycheck before paying utilities became part of my life. We were a wild crowd, let me tell you. No bar hopping for us, oh no. Way more wild than that. We didn’t discriminate: we went to both chains and shopped with equal abandon. But, I have to admit, when I’ve had a choice, I’ve preferred Borders to Barnes and Noble, simply because the ones I’ve been to have always had more books that I’ve wanted than Barnes and Noble has stocked. I wrote a good deal of my novel the Fosterling in Borders while with a friend who was studying for nursing. Hours and hours and hours.
So, as Beth and I wandered the hollowed-out bookstore today, I was expecting to feel a bit of sadness, a bit of nostalgia, sure, but nothing compared to what hit me. Tonight, I’m downright blue.
I’m also a few books richer. I picked up Kelley Armstrong’s Spellbound and Melanie Rawn’s Diviner, as well as The Convert, a biography by Deborah Baker. Hitting the library, I also picked up: Abandon by Meg Cabot; Prayers for the Dead by Faye Kellerman; the audio book of Inkheart (terribly disappointing with the music in the background. Is this normal for marketed-for-kids audio books?); The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper; Lucy and the Greenman, these latter two for storytime; and a vampire anthology. Naturally, now that I have new books to read I’m back to Race and Human Evolution because I’m that sort of dork.
Editing goes well. I’ve got two weeks to wrap that up so my plate is clean for an edit pass of a friend’s novel (yay I get to read it for FREE) and then I’m throwing myself into the new book.
(Originally I linked to all the book titles. Then the computer hiccoughed, and I don’t have the patience to do it again. Google is your friend)