Thursday, June 18, 2009


After four recent readings for The Year That Follows, it’s worth noting the joy of going to bookstores—the real brick-and-mortar kind, where you can browse among the tables and shelves and even find an employee (or two) who knows something about, well, books! In the last week I’ve read in New York, San Francisco, LA, and Santa Barbara, at Borders, Book Passage, Skylight Books, and Chaucer’s Books, respectively. I’ll always have a soft spot for Borders, as I used to shop at the original store, back when Borders was an independent, a Mecca for books in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Book Passage is a book Mecca itself, just north of San Francisco in Corte Madera. Skylight Books, which has received earlier mention in this blog, is one of my favorite spots in LA—tons of books, a huge skylight and tree, a staff of Iowa graduates (who says you can’t get a job with an MFA?), and shelf after shelf of the publishers’ finest. The front tables at Chaucer’s are reason enough to visit, a smorgasbord of fine literary dining.

The point of all this is simple: readers need bookstores. We need them because we need places to browse, to ask questions and get suggestions, and we need the tactile pleasure of picking up a book we’ve never seen and making it ours.

There’s only one way to save bookstores: shop in them.

(And now, since you’re going anyway, pick up a copy of The Year That Follows. It’s been out a week, and received some nice reviews.)

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