Thursday, May 6, 2010

What I Miss About Bookstores

I don't remember when it was exactly that I stopped buying books in bookstores.

I'd like to say it was the invention of Amazon, but I think it was prior to that. I think Amazon was just my golden ticket out of my non-reading phase.

No, I think it was around the time I hit 18, and still looked around 12,  but was conscientious enough to know that I was older than all the other girls in the "Young Adult" section of Barnes and Noble. Of course, at 18-looking-12, I was probably still well-within the demographic, but I couldn't bring myself to go into the section anymore.

For a while I tried reading more "adult" literature, but I found it way too full of graphic sex and a lot of drivel about adult situations (kids, marriage, how hard life is) that I couldn't get into the books.

So then I quit reading.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

When I re-read my pieces during that time period, I can see just how much my writing suffered because of it. I stopped expanding my mind, and therefore, the words that I had used up until then were the same words I continuously used. I no longer had an extended vocabulary. I was limited by what I knew previously, and pretty soon, my writing had regressed to a state of sheer embarrassment.

And worse yet--I missed reading.

With the invention of Amazon, I could buy all the YA titles I wanted--and no one would ever look at me funny. I could spend hours scanning titles and searching for books and making lists about the ones I wanted, and pretty soon, they were all mine with nary a funny look in sight!

But I forgot one thing.

I forgot how important it was to be able to read the first few pages. How much you needed to be able to open up that book and look at the dialogue and hold it in your hand. How important it is for that book to be a tangible thing.

Now, mind you, I still buy all of my books on Amazon. I still read YA novels. I still steadfastly avoid the YA section (not just because of the funny looks anymore, but because most of the books I was seeing for a long time were all realistic fiction about who's stabbing who in the back, and prom, and blah-blah-blah, which is SO not my thing).

But I do miss browsing title-by-title in B&N, looking at each book, reading the back of every one on the shelf, and begging my mom to buy me the armload I carried over to her.

Ahhh... Memories...