Monday, July 23, 2007

on reading for pleasure

I grew up surrounded by books, with weekly trips to the library, where I was eternally frustrated that my mom would only let me check out three books at a time. My parents read to me; later, I read to myself, for pleasure. I read Madeline l'Engel, trashy grown-up novels at sleepovers with friends where we giggled over the dirty parts, and historical fiction which led me semi-directly to my current career. So, whenever I'm in Home City, one of the places that I always make a point of stopping at least twice is Big Independent Bookstore. BIB is one of the last of a dying breed. But it's going strong.

The one in Home City has a number of branches in that town, and I visited two of them, and bought two academic books, and one novel (Zadie Smith's White Teeth, which has been on my "to read" list for about five years now). I loved being so surrounded by books that I could get lost. I loved the fact that the selection was determined by the owners and employees, not some national headquarters. I loved the fact that they sold books -- not CDs, DVDs, toys, character-licensed merchandise... just books. (Well, okay: there was coffee, too.)

But the best part of visiting BIB is that there are ample spaces to plonk yourself down and dive into a book, right there. And people were doing just that. =>

Now, with no children of my own, I read to my niece & nephew whenever I get a chance. And I love to see other adults doing the same. This kid is obviously engrossed, and there's not a hand-held video game in sight.

So, I invite readers out there (yes, all three of you) to use the comment space to shamelessly promote your favorite indie bookstores, and encourage you to patronize them, either in person or online. Let's make sure that the next generation of geeky little readers has the same opportunity as we do.

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