This is the way it’s always been:
Once I enter the large wood-framed glass doors, whether they’re in the mall or next to Ralph’s, my world shifts subtly, becoming a place of beauty and opportunity and most of all, calm. My cares drift away, and I let myself go, knowing I’m in a safe place. I wander the carpeted walkways, the halls, sometimes going up and down escalators. I gaze appreciatively at this corner or that, checking also if any of the chairs in the nooks are taken and if I might have a chance of collapsing into one later.
As a child, my steps, guided by a parent’s or relative’s hand, led me to the section with the big “JR.s” sign above it. All the shelves were at reachable child level, there were dolls and games in a corner and there was the same hand that had led me before, pointing out titles and pictures, helping me pick and choose.
Later, as I grew older, I would venture into that section alone, looking for the taller shelves. I would find my heart’s desires there – whether they were embodied by girls who rode horses and lived in the country or by boys and their dogs or detectives or super heroes. When my hands were too full to carry any more, I would plop myself down on the floor and lean against the shelves or recline in one of the comfy chairs by the windows and wait until my mother and brother were ready to go and pay.
Today, I feel the echoes of these times with me whenever I stride confidently through the vast halls and floors of Barnes&Noble. I focus my energies on the Fantasy-and-Sci-Fi section and the Young-Adult section – for it often holds fantasy novels as well and some adorable easy reading material besides. Whenever I am in the US, most specifically my beloved LA, I beg to be left alone in the shop for a couple hours so I can make my purchases and buy myself a strong coffee and read, cracking the spines of the new books with joy.
5 thoughts on “My LA Haven”
Boy, do I ever love Barnes and Noble. I like just going up and down the isle’s like you just described. Sadly, I don’t go to them to often. More often now I buy my books online only because they are so much cheaper but man, those book stores really do smell good don’t they?
PS….do you really like “cracking” your new books spines?
When I was a little boy, my mom would often take us (my brother and I) to the library, especially during the summer. We’d check out two books each, then return them and get two more. Didn’t matter how may times I went to the library I always found something to read, something that drew me in. It might have been the summary on the jacket, or even just the cover art. Something compelling to make me want to read.
I haven’t changed much in that regard today, although I rarely go to the library. I buy the occasional book online, but more often than not I’ll go to a used book store. I still love to browse at B&N, though–something about the scent of books and the comfort of being around others who enjoy, appreciate, and respect books for what they offer . . . for what they’ve provided us all since childhood.
So wonderfully written. talented. Reading, I was seeing those hands, and hearing the turned pages; their spines cracked… :>)
I just met Barnes in London for once…Here in France, we have FNAC; less noble. But I guess it may be different in Paris. I actually don’t really know.
Thank you dear.
Joy – Something about cracking the spines, you know, opening the book like that for the first time, it just makes the book yours. I ONLY do it when I buy books though – I’d never ruin that experience for someone else while browsing the books.
J.W. – Libraries are wonderful as well, it’s just that the library here sucks and is expensive and I’ve only taken books from libraries in the US a couple of times, on longer visits there.
Mae Linat – Thank you so much for the complement! It really means a lot. I think any book store that is cozy feels like how I described. B&N has the advantage of being large AND cozy.
Yippee….the link on your name works now!!! Yea….
The only reason I asked about the book spines is that I used to get great pleasure out of trying to get through a book without doing that so my books always looked really good. Now I don’t try and read that way. When you have a really long book, it gets very hard to hold and read.