One Book Out

20121114-083913.jpgAlthough I can commiserate with Amy Wilentz’s dilemma of overcrowded bookshelves in her essay for the New York Times Book Review – ...One Book Out, her decision to discard Carlos Ruiz Zafron’s Shadow of the Wind, one of my favorite books -without reading it – had me reassessing my own indiscriminate culling of books for lack of space. If Wilentz had inadvertently thrown away a treasure like Shadow of the Wind (maybe she didn’t mean it), what chance did I have to thin my shelves; just think what I might be missing.

If you think a candy store is tempting, try getting out of a bookstore with me without buying at least two books. On my last trip to Los Angeles, I decided to forego flying back with my neatly packed carry-on to load up on books at my favorite bookstore in West Hollywood. Of course, the books were available – online, by mail, probably in my bookstore back home – but that didn’t matter. Had to have those books, which now sit in a pile with other impulse book purchases in a corner next to my bookshelf.

Like Amy Wilentz, I own books I have yet to read, taking up precious space. Every now and then, I too try to thin the stacks. I mail books to a friend who has just bought a new house (empty shelves – happy birthday!) This works if I can get the book in the mail soon after I’ve finished reading; once that book claims its niche on my shelf, it may never leave again.

The Little Shop Around the Corner

After reading Bob Minzesheimer’s Hope for Small Bookstores? in USA Today, I couldn’t help feeling a little satisfaction.  How long ago did the big blockbuster bookstores take over, to drive those little shops around the corner out of business?

Now that the tables are turning toward e-books and mail orders,  and they are feeling the pinch, customer service seems to be the only significant saving grace for any independent book stores still around.

Will the little shops make a come back?  Will it be enough that they have someone there who will be able to talk to you about books they have read? Is the cozy nook with soft seats and aromatic coffee brewing all day going to draw in readers who buy actual books?  Hope so…

Reminded me of  my favorite books about bookstores…

The Secret of Lost Things

The Shadow of the Wind