Readers Without Borders
I don’t just feel sad; I feel like an accomplice in the murder.
Since I’m a Jewish mother, and we specialize in guilt--- I can’t help feeling guilty about taking part in killing bookstores. What makes it worse is that technically this is a crime of passion---since there are few things I love more than books.
Even before the demise of Borders, there was guilt--for patronizing it after our legendary local bookstore was an early victim of the mass murder of independent bookstores-—one of many examples of the movie You’ve Got Mail.
And though I vowed to remain true to the printed page, like everyone else, I caved-- to the lure of instant electronic gratification. Now I can’t imagine life ---or books---without a Kindle or iPad. But I also can’t imagine life without a bookstore in the area.
Sharing them with my children was one of the joys of being a parent. My daughter glommed onto books from the time she could hold one in her tiny hands; and was a voracious and early reader. Books were always at the top of her gift list; and she would choose a visit to a bookstore over going to the park.
Once she was old enough, bookstores became her domain. We’d enter together and she’d rush to the kids’ section; choose a book from the shelves, and flop on the floor in one of the aisles. No matter how long I spent browsing, I’d come back and find that she hadn’t moved from the spot where I left her; and would plead to finish the book (more guilt that she read more books in the store than I bought.)
I told Alli about my childhood version of the bookstore---the BookMobile. It was a portable library on wheels that would come to our neighborhood once a week, and station itself by the park a few blocks from my home. I'd ride my bike over and browse the shelves carefully--we were only allowed to check out two books. I don’t think I ever missed a week--or paid a fine.Continued on the next page