Friday, August 12, 2005

then and now

Thinking about the actual thrill of holding a book of text -- as opposed to scrolling down a computer screen -- reminds me of other book related thrills that are no longer experienced, the ones associated with shopping in an independent book store.

Not to wallow in nostalgia, but there was a great joy in walking into a book shop in the 1970s and early 1980s, pre-Borders/Barnes & Noble, and discovering books that one would never find in the mall chain stores. I have quite fond memories of Garner & Smith Bookstore (no longer with us) in Austin, and Prairie Lights (hope its still there) in Iowa City. Much like the education one got from bibliographies -- those goldmines of groupings of similar and competing books before the age of on-line search engines -- a good bookstore taught, teased and pointed one toward reading. An aside -- search engines are quicker and probably more effective, but using them provides little sense of discovery.

I don't get the same thrill from wandering through the big book chains in the northern suburbs of Indy.

Sometimes I do get that feeling from wandering into a used bookstore, particularly one that is well organized and eccentric in its collections. But sadly in a city this large, I have not come across such a shop.

That said, the internet brings all possible books to one's fingertips. I am continually amazed at the ease and quality of ABEbooks.com to locate cheaply books I'd like to read.

3 comments:

Lisa said...

I,too, prefer to hold a book. I like the feel, the smell and the ability to take it where I want to read it.

I live in Roanoke, VA and there are a few nice used bookstore here. Visiting them is a favorite activity for my husband, kids and myself.

I can still get a thrill from the library, although I truly love owning books. I like knowing that I can reread it whenever I get the urge.

I enjoy your blog very much. I'm a choir singer as well and I like to get my hands in the dirt. I am only a beginning gardener...very, very beginning. :)

Kirsten said...

Have you been to Big Hat Books? While the store is small, the staff is very helpful. On a garden-related note, they also sold my boyfriend the wonderful shade gardening book that is helping me plan the next stage of my lawn-eliminating plan!

Don said...

Lisa -- thank you for your kind comments. All best to you in your new gardening endeavors.

Kirsten -- I've never heard of the Big Hat bookstore. I assume its in Indy? I'll look for it.