We went to Strand Bookstore while we were in New York. I’d never been, first time.
Largest independent bookstore in the country, I think that’s what their sign says. It doesn’t matter because whatever their small print, it was a super awesome bookstore. Huge, multiple levels, and filled with that smell of paper and book dust that I love so much.
They had shelves, but lots of tables too. I enjoy books on tables. Tables say, “Come over here and pick me up,” more than shelves do. There were new releases, classics, books I’d never heard of, funny books, foreign ones, it was a party and I could have stayed there all day.
I’ve been to cool bookstores before. Had a love affair with the brick and mortar for a very long time, and I’m not sure one is better than the other. Some stores are small, some only carry specialty books or used books. The basic setup of a bookstore is the same. Sure you can get tea at a few or beer at others, but a bookstore is a bookstore, so I’m not sure why I’m so drawn.
I figured it out this past week.
I like bookstore people.
I don’t mind being surrounded by them, bumping into them while they are reading the back of a paperback, or dancing around because they’re a little crazy. Bookstore people are tote bag carriers, sandwiches wrapped in paper, smudged eyeglasses, last night’s mascara people. They’re upright sophisticates and a hungover hot mess all in one place. They’re fun browsing and quiet brooding, light and heavy. Bookstore people are my kind of folks. They are curious thinkers interested in an endless array of subjects. They’re hands on, messy.
Even the people that work there, that have to be there, are colorful. They wear weird socks, pin buttons to their vests, or have messed up hair on purpose. It’s almost as if bookstore people leave their inhibitions at the door. I’m not sure what kind of people they are out on the street, but in the bookstore, they can be about anything they want or nothing at all.
There’s no pressure in a bookstore, it’s about the books.
Could be I like my bookstore self more too. Maybe that’s why I crave the tinkling bell or the paper receipts no matter the city or the frequency.
Strand Bookstore was extra cool building, another great bookstore with more than my fix of the groovy bookstore crowd.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Nighttime Read.