During college, my high school friends and I had many joyful reunions in the Tatnuck parking lot. Then we’d roam the store for a few minutes, selecting books and magazines, and claim a table at the in-store café. The menu was eclectic; you could get anything from chocolate cake to quesadillas. We ate, drank, flipped through our books, talked, laughed.
The good folks at Tatnuck never gave us a hard time about making too much noise or tying up a booth for hours. Before we left we always bought something — a book or two, or a little trinket from the nook that displayed jewelry, incense, and pretty twirly glass things to hang in your window.
That location closed in 2005 to make way for the “new” Tatnuck about ten miles away. It’s become the largest independent bookstore in New England. Any thriving independent bookstore in this day and age is a victory.
Matt and I recently rented You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Meg plays the owner of an independent bookshop, a cornerstone of her community, a gathering place. Tom plays the owner of a mega chain bookstore that’s opening across the street from Meg’s little inde. Meg’s character and Tom’s character strike up an anonymous online flirtation and fall into virtual love, not knowing that they’re actually sworn enemies.
If you like romantic comedies in the vein of When Harry Met Sally, I recommend this film. The dialogue sparkles, and the tension is great fun. Plus, it’ll bring you back to the days of enormous cordless phones and unflattering early-90s fashion. And, it’ll spark important conversation about local shops versus chain monsters, and inde booksellers going the way of the dodo bird.
Do you have a favorite bookstore or bookstore memory? How about a favorite bookstore movie?