We were at a tiny bookstore in a small town. I was crawling on the floor, searching for Tacitus. The foreign language section has been dismantled and banished to two bottom shelves in the philosophy section. I had to adopt a yoga pose with head lowered to read the titles.
A couple of years ago I saw an old battered Latin edition of Tacitus here. It was overpriced and in barely acceptable condition. I wanted to look at it again.
It is gone!
Darn! Who would have bought it?
Oh well, I have another Tacitus at home. True, I’ve already read it. I COULD buy a nicer (and cheaper) paperback copy online, except I cannot: I have resolved this year to shop at bricks-and-mortar stores.
Shopping at indies will make me a better person. Well, I’m already a good person.
Anyway, I am weeding books to find shelf room for books in boxes (including my London books).
Supporting the brick-and-mortar culture is part of my resolution to be more “present.” The experience of browsing among physical books is electronically inimitable. I miss it.
Although I hear that independent bookstores are having a comeback, I don’t see that here. As I’ve often explained, we have to travel 100 miles to find a good independent bookstore.
Anyway, here is a list of the excellent brick-and-mortar indies and chains I visited last year.
IN LONDON (THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY!): Skoob, London Review Bookshop, Oxfam, Foyles, Waterstones, and several used bookstores on Charing Cross Road.
IN IOWA CITY: The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa Book, Prairie Lights
IN OMAHA, NE: Jackson Street Booksellers, The Bookworm
IN OSKALOOSA, IA: The Book Vault
IN NORTHFIELD, MN: Content
IN DES MOINES, IA: Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books
IN ANKENY, IA: The Plot Twist
Very sadly, the last independent bookstore in Ames, Firehouse Books, closed last year.
I expect this to be a more leisurely year, with less shopping and more rereading.
Let me know your favorite brick-and-mortars. I’ll support them if I’m there!