Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bookstores Are Dangerous Places*

I like to travel and move around (if you're playing along at home, you probably know I'm bumming around SE Asia right now). I also like to read. A lot. Maybe too much… Anyway, for a long time, these two things combined meant that whenever I moved to a new place or went on a trip, I would end up carting anywhere from a bundle to an entire suitcase of books with me. Heavy, expensive (luggage/shipping costs, dude), but (to me) necessary.

Then technology happened, and my parents bought me a Kindle. A new world opened up to me. I can carry one book that's actually hundreds of books! I can pack light and not immediately undo my good work by adding a few dozen pounds of paper! Traveling--and reading--extensively has never been easier. I still enjoy paper books, but I'm not really missing anything, right?


Then we walked into a bookstore. Noah (with whom I travel and do most other things these days) wanted to pick up a new book for our "chill times" (he doesn't do the whole e-reader thing), and we wanted a guide book and a map, so in we went.

… And then I was 6 years old again, in my neighborhood library, marveling at the collection of knowledge on those shelves and determined to read absolutely every book I could get my hands on

… I was a nerdy teenager, spending half my paychecks from McDonald's at the bookstore…

… I was a young college student, mouth agape at the idea that my campus was home to not one, but at least 3 libraries, each of which could eat the unassuming one-story brick building in my hometown many times over

… And I was me, 27 years into this world and carrying around a small library in my purse, but still unable to stop myself from lingering long after I found what I needed, running my hands across countless titles and breathing in the smells of ink and ideas and effort. Technology is great, but there are some things you just can't replace.

And no, I didn't walk out of the store with suitcase full of books, but it was a close thing.

*Dedicated to a literary friend who cannot comprehend why I own an e-reader.

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