I stopped at Barnes and Noble today. With a gift exchange tonight centering around books, I needed to grab a couple of specific titles. As I meandered around the store, searching for my desired purchases; I was quickly reminded of how times have changed.
My immediate observation was that I hadn't been to B & N for ages. One year, to be exact. I was in the store last Christmas to buy a book on cars for a charity event. I haven't been back since. Although I wouldn't have believed this fate five years prior, it was reality.
A trip to Barnes and Noble was a weekly outing as my boys grew up. We would wander the aisles, checking out the glorious volumes of bound paper. As the boys carefully examined everything from action comics to their favorite reading series, I would eventually be drawn to the "employee recommendations" section. All-time best sellers would catch my eye as well. Although I am realist in knowing this goal is likely unattainable, I do have a desire to read all the classics in my lifetime.
An added routine when it was just Ben and Grant in grade school, was to study at B & N. This was a treat for their hard work. We would find a table to plant ourselves with backpacks shuffled on the floor and me with Starbucks in hand. I would peruse the newest picture cookbooks while the boys would go about their school work.
And now this is all a distant memory. Most of my books are now read on my iPad. Few hit my hands these days in the paper version. And I never thought it would come to this. In fact, I fought it for years. With the purchase of my iPad, I tried out what I thought I would hate. But I didn't. The convenience of having my book handy at all times with ease of reading at night outweighed my desire to touch and feel the paper.
Now I feel guilty for cheating on my long-time friend. My love for the paper book has slowly waned away.
I distinctly remember my dad questioning me as a teenager on my book purchasing preference. A shopping mall had just been built forty-five miles away. I had discovered a wonderful book store nestled in the middle. Although I did enjoy the many colorful clothing stores and the Orange Julius in the food court, I was ultimately drawn in to this book store.
On this particular day, I walked into the door at home with my mall purchases; a bag of books. Included was a large book containing the full collection of Sherlock Holmes novels. The size of the bag was larger than my usual book runs. Dad asked the obvious question.
"Why do you spend your hard earned money on books when there are books for free at the library down the street?"
I really didn't know how to answer, other than knowing this wasn't an attractive option to me. Yes, I enjoyed the library as well, but I also liked to buy books and keep them. I couldn't fathom giving up my prized treasure of Sherlock Holmes after completion of the read.
Book stores have remained a constant part of my life until recently. And I didn't see this day coming. Although resigned and comfortable without my paper companions, I do miss a good bookmark. The feeling of accomplishment with the visual of the bookmark moving deeper into the book will be forever missed. As will the feel of the pages on my fingers and the comfort of a good novel on my nightstand.
What hasn't changed is the satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from reading. I was reminded on this when the previews to Walter Mitty came out. Before they disclosed the title, I whispered to Garrett, "Walter Mitty!! I LOVED that book." Although it had been twenty years since I read about Walter's adventures, they remained fresh in my mind.
As an adult, I tell myself that my reading should now encompass academic literature on healthcare and business. But instead I sneakily switch to my current read, The Hunger Games. Deep in my heart, I am a fiction girl; tried and true. Give me Walter Mitty and Katniss Everdeen all day long. The words in a piece of fiction bring me to places where I can escape; anytime, anywhere.
At the end of the day, I don't need a bookmark or Barnes & Noble for that. Just a mind open to the next adventure awaiting me in the written word. A simple life pleasure...regardless of the medium.