I've always kind of had an obsession with books. I love them. I love how neat and organized the words are on each page. I love the designs on the covers, be they old and simple, or new and beautiful. And I love the smell. I think I've probably smelled almost every fiction book that I've ever read. Not just a little whiff, but a nose-to-the-binding deep inhale. Ah, I love books!
New books are great--they smell like new paper and glue and they are crisp, clean, and all mine to break in. Used books, though, they are my favorite. They tell a story, not just with the words on their pages, but with their smell, with their dog-eared pages, and their stained covers. They tell the stories of those who have devoured their words before me. They tell the stories of those who love to read.
This love for reading has prompted me on many occasion to head to the book isle when I'm in need of a gift--especially a gift for a beloved niece, nephew, or other little one. I long to share this love with others, especially those whose imaginations have not yet been stunted or forced into hibernation by the realistic world in which we live. In the past, though, I've found myself so disappointed with the book selection I find in big stores. The prices are just so-so, and the choices of literature and stories leaves much to be desired. I often leave these excursions wishing I'd had more forethought and ordered something online.
However, this last excursion was far different; it was truly wonderful. I visited a new little used bookstore in my neighborhood and completely fell in love. It was quaint, charming, and filled with books. What I had meant to be a quick trip turned into an hour of pursuing shelves and brushing my fingers across bindings. There were so many classics! So many books I'd never heard of. And so many books I longed to buy.
I eventually found my way to the children's section and was able to pick out a few favorites for our nephew's second birthday. When I finally walked out of that store, I felt a little like I had walked out of a fairytale. I know, a little dramatic, but stay with me....
Books, like so many things in our society, have become things that we buy new, use, and then discard. While the digital world is definitely taking over a bit in the book selling business, it has not stopped newly printed books from appearing on bookshelves. These new books are wonderful, but I think they cheapen the quality of the written word. The thing that I loved so much about this little used bookstore was that the shelves were filled with good books--books that someone had taken the time to decide if they were worth selling or not. There were also so many books that had lovely hard covers, just waiting to be opened on someone's lap. (Fact: it's much easier to knit while reading if you have an old hard cover book with a broken-in binding...)
So, with all that...I must say that I felt a little bit like Belle as I walked out of that shop...I may have even considered saying bonjour to people standing outside of the taproom across the street...ok, not really...but that would have made for a great story!