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why it's so cool to own a used bookstore. what we're selling, what we're reading, what we're listening to. why west concord is the new cambridge. fun facts to know and tell. and of course the cat.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Books Gone Wild!!!! 

"Secondhand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack...in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world."
- -Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting

Virginia Woolf was one MAD chick!

My newest idea for store signage:

"BOOKS GONE WILD!!! We're your source for the best sizzling words-on-paper action! Hook up with Madame Bovary, Jane Eyre, Moll Flanders and Anna Karenina (hint: she's hotter than Kournikova!) for a classic group scene!!!! Rub against complete strangers like Ivanhoe, the Count of Monte Cristo, and Silas Marner! They want to get you between the covers! Enlarge your vocabulary, lengthen your attention span, and widen your horizons. Your partner will notice a difference immediately! Bring one of these literary hotties home, and we guarantee they can keep you UP ALL NIGHT! Read about real people who want you to get to know them. Thousands of interesting characters are available 24/7!"

Probably no one will think that it's funny, except for me.

(Note to self: stop reading all the nasty spam that oozes through the filters....)

Now listening to: "Show Some Emotion", Joan Armatrading, on LP
Now reading: "Poetry for Cats", Henry Beard. My favorite, by William Carlos Williams' cat:
"so much depends upon/ a yellow goldfish/ washed down with bowl water/ inside the white kitten".

Sunday, June 29, 2003

scent of a bookstore. 

It's Sunday, and we're closed, but I'm at the store doing stuff: shelving books, pricing, cleaning up a bit, playing with the cat, reading (Alison's Automotive Repair Manual, a funny sweet novel by Brad Barkley). Mostly I'm just enjoying being here, and thinking about what this experience of owning the store means. The bookstore has a personality and a presence that is partly mine, and partly its own. The books, the cat, the fixtures and tables and decorations, the paper stars in the windows, the twinkle lights over the shelves, the comfy chair and sagging sofa. Over the last couple of years it's become a second home.

Years from now I will walk into another old bookstore and it will somehow smell just like this one, and I can smile and remember what it was like to come in here every day. The best time is first thing in the morning. I open the back door, say hello to the cat, and stand still. The air is cool and quiet, like the library of my childhood before it had air conditioning, and I can smell the books for a moment. It's a combination of old leather and cloth bindings, glue, paper, a bit of dust and wear, countless fingers running along under the words, gently touching the spines to pull out a favorite book, days and years spent among the stacks. And then just as quickly as it comes, the scent is gone, my brain's smell receptors recognize it as "my bookstore", and I don't notice it again until the next morning. It makes me happy every time.

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