Monday, February 19, 2007

Relishing the Possibilities

Most of the hours of my days pass by in the whirlwind of details and duties of daily life. I’m not complaining; it’s just the way is. But because of that we need to recognize and relish those special moments life, slowing down to savor the possibilities.

And for me, both as a reader and as a writer, walking into a favorite bookstore is always, ALWAYS, one of those moments. When I open the door to a place like Powell’s City of Books, I pause, grinning from ear to ear, and let the myriad of possibilities wash over me.

If you’ve never heard of Powell’s, the store covers a square city block in downtown Portland, Oregon. It’s a ramshackle labyrinth of books—all genres, new and used. It’s so big, the rooms are color-coded and you need to navigate the place with a map.

I love it.

In any bookstore, I love knowing there are new releases by my favorite authors or books by authors I have yet to discover waiting forme. Ooooh—the possibilities!

But it’s the wealth of nonfiction books in a place like Powell's that has my pulse racing and my monthly budget in jeopardy. Over the years, it’s been in those towering stacks that I’ve first met so many of the characters who have populated my books—a U.S. Marshal, the ladies who started their own literary society, the warriors who became my Paladins. I can’t wait to see whom I meet next!

So how about you? Do you have a favorite bookstore? What about it makes it so special?


Nancy Morse said...

I "had" a favorite bookstore. It was called Bookbusters and had anything and everything you possibly want. It wasn't trendy. You couldn't sit down and read your newspaper over a latte, but it had the thing all book lovers want - a gazillion books at great prices. Alas, it has gone the way of all such places, swallowed up by the Wal Marts, B&Ns and Borders of the world. I guess my favorite bookstore now would have to be Borders because they also have a music section and they do make a great mocha freeze.

Terry Z McDermid said...

I don't have a favorite, probably because I haunt so many. My internal radar can sound out a bookstore driving down the road during vacations. Fortunately, my oldest son shares the love of books and we also manage at least one stop while on our trips. I often use my 'artist's date' to go into one of our local bookstores and just browse (sometimes splurging on a mango smoothie while I wander).

Bonnie Edwards said...

There's a bookstore in Vernon, BC a tiny town in the middle of the Rockies, run by a gnome of a man with a lost air about him.

Lost because he's always reading, always book-headed (did I just create a word?). This is one of those dusty, crammed bookstores that makes you sigh with want.

The first time I walked in, I was on a mission. An editor had recommended an old out-of-print book for me to study. She wanted me to see how the author had characterized the heroine.

The book was long gone, impossible to find locally.

I wandered into the store. Found the section loosely inclusive of romance and searched for a couple of minutes. I glanced at the piles of boxes of books (yes piles of boxes) at my feet.

On the top of the top box was the book. Sitting there, face up...ready for me to find.

WOW! I mentioned to the gnome that this book was really hard to delighted I was in his store.

Then I asked if he was the web. Could people find him and his incredible store on the internet?

He glanced up with that vague book-headed look that comes over readers and said, "No, I just have the books and people come in and buy them."

It was so simple, so RIGHT, all I could do was smile.

Thanks for making think of that store again. I haven't had occasion to go by there in years, but I'm betting he's still not on the net.

And he's still dusty and book-headed...