With only one independent book store left on the island where I live, and the Borders book stores all gone, the recent replacement of the Barnes and Noble with a Ross Dress for Less seemed like the end. Although I find it hard to leave a bookstore without buying a book, clearly my purchases could not sustain their existence, and I too have been guilty of the convenience of mail orders and e-books. But a place without books is like a room without books – says something about who lives there.
So, on my road trip in California, I’ve been seeking out book stores, finding friendly owners who actually read books, and losing myself in the stacks, opening covers, touching pages, feeling the comfort.
So far, thanks to a fellow reader, I found Chaucer’s books in Santa Barbara – bought Rosemary Ahern’s The Art of the Epigraph: How a Great Book Begins a book I never would have found without browsing. Next, nestled among the bakeries and kitschy storefronts of Solvang, I found The Book Loft; my purchase – Valerie Martin’s The Ghost of Mary Celeste.
As I travel North to Monterey, I’ll be looking for more book stores. Do you know of any I can visit? I brought an extra suitcase.