Confession: I have a “thing” for bookstores.
This isn’t a new thing. I’ve had a thing for bookstores for as long as I can remember. We’re talking pre-cafe, pre-espresso machines, pre-cushy sofas, pre-piped in music. Wifi? Please.
I’m not picky, either. Corporate multinational book chains? Love ’em. Small indie bookstores? Love ’em. Airport bookstores? Love ’em. School bookstores? Love ’em. Shabby newsstands on the streets of Beijing? Love ’em. Garage sale with a box o’ books for 25 cents a piece? Bring it on, baby!
Next to the library, bookstores are my favorite places of all time. The mere thought of a bookstore conjures up such happy feelings that I can hear Julie Andrews putting it to song in my head. And, of course, now that I am a soon-to-be-published author (No! Yes! No! Yes!), I love bookstores even more.
So what if the shelf life of a new book, especially fiction, is two months? So what if you don’t have a riser in the front of the store and are banned to the shelves (also known as Siberia), spine out? So what if no one knows where to find your book because you’re a first-time author and they have yet to hear of you? None of that matters* because you are going to be on the shelf in a bookstore, a glorious bookstore, several glorious bookstores (and maybe even a newsstand in Beijing!**) and that’s, well, pretty damn cool!
At least for two months. But regardless, I will continue my bookstore lurking, grabbing stolen minutes and hours whenever I can, browsing Siberia, rummaging through bargain book bins, flipping through the acknowledgments of new hardcover bestsellers, searching for great Christmas gifts (I can recommend six debut novels you might want to consider). Bookstores are my refuge from an otherwise hectic life, one of the few places I can go to forget everything else for a moment and remember what I love to do more than anything***: write.
* OK, it matters a little.
** If this were to happen, it would most likely be a pirated copy seeing how I am waiting for those foreign rights to start pouring in.
*** OK, I love my kids and my husband and doing things with them, but seeing how my love of writing pre-dates them and has been going strong for, oh, the past 30+ years, I’d say it’s right up there as one of my greatest loves of all time. Chocolate runs a close second.