Sunday, February 18, 2007
Every Sunday I go to the very large commercial bookstore in my neighborhood. I go there because there was a time when I liked book stores and old habits dont go away so easily.
I remember a time when book stores (even the big ones) were quiet. I MEAN SILENT! Sadly times have changed. Book shops are now mega bookstores. They are sort of like a Costco or Best Buy for books. Where by loud music echos throughout the store, milk is being steamed to perfection as it bellows from the cappuccino machines, and small children are encouraged to run around screaming.
I'm all for Americans reading more but I cant say for sure if any reading is actually going on. In fact I cant quite understand why so many people are there in the first place.
You cant thumb through a new novel that you may want to buy because you would need to actually pull a book off a shelf first. This task is impossible to do unless you are willing to you climb over packs of children that litter the isles using book shelves as leaning posts and head rests. You cant sample a chapter of that new political biography because even if you make it to the shelf you cant actually hear your inside voice read over the noise of Dido singing about "going down with the ship" on the store's stereo system. You cant even read a magazine because the local chapter of Moms with Attitude are holding a town meeting about alternate side of the street parking and the new neighborhood hair salon in the magazine section.
The only section of the store I can find any kind of peace is in the Religion and Middle Eastern studies section which is sort of ironic. Its the only section of the store that has not been colonized by the suburban American beasts that do nothing but drink Green Tea Frappaccino's and catch up on local gossip while other shoppers watch them wishing Hilary Clinton's "It Takes A Village" really gave permission to scare other people's children into obedient silence.
For the third week in a row I have come home with a book about the religions of the world. This weeks purchase was Jerusalem: One City Three Faiths last week's purchase was The Fight For Jerusalem. Interesting reading, yes. But in a sea of books could I dare hope to find something else? Nope.
I used to like book stores. I like reading. I like browsing for new ideas. I dont want to buy my books on-line. I miss the old lady in the reading glasses with her gray hair pulled back in a bun shhusshing everyone. I want my damn bookstore back.
So when did this happen? Has the bookstore truly gone the mega route? Is nothing sacred anymore.
Perhaps I need to renew the good old library card. Or do they play out dated pop music there too?
I agree with you on every point in this post. I haven't been to a bookstore in months because of the atmosphere.Post a Comment