Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Tower of Power

With most of the Buzz Girls buzzing toward San Francisco, I thought I’d step up to the plate again...

I was thinking this morning about the first time I stepped into a large bookstore--along the lines of a Barnes & Noble--and how it had seemed like my birthday, Christmas morning and an “A” on a math test all in one.

See, back in my hometown, in dark ages of my youth, books were purchased at “stationery stores.” There were a few racks that featured paperback best sellers from recognized publishers and authors. And we had one independent bookstore which catered mostly to high-end adult tastes like coffee table books and hardcover copies of the classics. My solitary joy, therefore, was the library.

Until the summer I was 18. I was wandering through the mall in a nearby town when I spied a long storefront and the banner “Paperback Booksmith.” (The chain has since gone out of business, but here’s a photo of one in the Boston area.)

I remember peering in the window and seeing hundreds, maybe thousands of books, and my heart taking off. I dashed in there, and went absolutely crazy. Every book I’d ever wanted, and some I’d never dreamed of. To have and to hold, and to keep!!! I scooped up book after book until I could no longer carry more.

At the register, I proudly wrote a check--I was working and had just opened an account--but for some reason, they didn’t put them in a bag for me. Maybe because I refused to stop holding them?

Outside, I ran into an on/again-off/again boyfriend who looked at me like I was nuts and asked me what I planned to do with all those books. “Uh, read them,” I said, and promptly went home to do just that. Joy to the World.

These days I browse bookstores--both brick-and-mortar and on-line--frequently, and for the most part, taking them for granted. So it’s wonderful to look back on that day and my Tower of Power...and to recall the deep-in-my-soul delight that good books can bring.

On that note, I've got a book deadline, so back to work!

Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, National Reader’s Choice Award


Janie Emaus said...

Hi Tina,
I know how you feel. I used to carry around those little Golden Books when I was young (so, I've been told) and have always loved reading. It's sad to see some of the independent stores closing, but life does change. I just hope that we never forget how wonderful it is to lose oneself in a good book. Better to get lost in a good book than anyplace else.


stephhale said...

I used to dream about being locked in a bookstore all night. I couldn't imagine a better place to be trapped! :) I still can't.

Heather Davis said...

So nostalgic, Tina! I love bookstores. For me, my mind always returns to the middle school library where I'd have to hang out early in the morning since my dad was a teacher and I rode in with him. I can still here the squeak of the paperback spinning racks. That was a magic place.

The bees are doing fine in SF but sure miss you and Steph!



The Golfing Librarian said...

I used to dream about being locked in the public library all night. Occationally, on some of the "wilder" days around the house, I still do! :)