Alright. This time, I have a good excuse as to why I didn’t post my blog on Monday. I was out of town. And more than that, I was at Barnes & Noble.
My family and I were driving around town, heading towards a restaurant where we were meeting a friend of Dad’s for Second Breakfast, and I saw a Barnes & Noble off the side of the road. “Mom, Dad, can we go to Barnes & Noble?” I asked.
My sister scoffed. “Why go there when you’re not going to buy anything?”
Now, I had two decent reasons to go to Barnes & Noble, the first one being that we don’t have one near us in Texas. The closest one is about forty-five minutes south from where we live. I’ve been there exactly twice, both times to exchange a defective Nook which I ended up trading for an iPod Touch. We do have a bookstore—Books-a-Million—but it’s smaller and, honestly, not as cool. Secondly, there was only one other place I’d asked to go on our trip—Culver’s, a fast food restaurant that we don’t have in Texas
Mom, however, came up with a third reason. “We’re going to Barnes & Noble because it’s fun,” she said. And sure enough, as soon as we finished up at the restaurant, we went to the bookstore.
Oh, glory. So many books. So many words. I was in heaven.
The first rack—new releases. Hardcovers. I touched their jackets, gazed at the reviews on the back, read the blurb on the inside jacket cover. I thumbed through the pages and inhaled the glorious scent of ink. I searched for the price tag—twenty-five dollars for a book? No, thank you.
The second table was even more glorious. Five-dollar classics—big, thick books, too big for the average purse but perfect for the average bookshelf. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, works by Tolstoy and Bronte and some Russian dude whose name I can neither pronounce nor remember. This deal was too good to pass up. Seriously considering The Art of War, I instead picked up a collection of Sherlock Holmes books. I’m currently two hundred pages in.
But then I kept going. Immediately to my left were some Bibles and Christian nonfiction. I did a quick search for C.S. Lewis—I’d just ordered three of his books online, so I knew I wasn’t about to buy any of them—but I found Of Stories, a collection of his views on literature and storytelling. I read just enough to learn that he, like me, thought George Orwell’s Animal Farm was better than 1984. I confess that I haven’t finished the latter, and I’m not sure if I can. It’s both boring and frightening.
“Can I help you find anything?” a clerk asked me.
“Nope,” I said. “I’m just browsing.”
Oh, and browse I did. I wanted to spin through the aisles, touching every book, stroking every soft cover. I lingered over a table of $25 classic editions of books, their covers ornate and gilded. I gave half a glance at the children’s section, but I found a special surprise with the board games: hnefatafl, a Viking cross between chess and checkers. I gave a
“Did you have fun?” Mom asked my sister and I as we got back in the car. We were off to see my uncle. My reaction was unnecessary; everyone knew I’d enjoyed myself. My sister, however, gave a smile that was quite unexpected.
“I got to make fun of the politicians,” she said.
Which bookstore do you live by? Which one’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.