There is a community for readers and book lovers that exists around the world. We meet in coffee shops, bookstores, cozy corners, and classrooms. I hope others can agree with my statement that readers are not anti-social. We enjoy talking with others and interacting with the greater populace. Reading may be a solo activity for most, but after I’ve read a good book I want to share it with others whether they have read it or not. Reading is about learning and sharing; a book that is left to collect dust is a wasted book.
While visiting my home state of Vermont I took the time to visit my all-time favorite shops, The Green Mountain Bookstore. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to Olivander’s Wand Shop from Harry Potter, except with books and not magical objects. As you walk in, there are shelves pushing to the front of the store with narrow hallways leading to of volumes of books both new and old. Rarely do I go in looking for a specific book, but I almost never leave without a new treasure found among the shelves.
In this visit I had no intention of buying a book, which so often happens when shopping on a whim. As I scanned the shelves I found The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and The Children of Hurin by Christopher Tolkien. I read The House of Scorpion when I was in the 6th grade and loved it. I’ve been wanting to read it again and my wife has been looking for a copy to read herself. I was excited to find both, one for $8.00 and the other for $4.00, and in good condition too.
Even after finding these I was in no hurry to leave. I enjoy exploring used bookstores to just look at titles and see if I can find any books from some of my favorite authors. While in my search I had a wonderful conversation with the owner of the book store, Kim Crady-Smith. I asked her about a few science fiction authors, and though she had nothing from them she began telling me about some of the books which she had enjoyed, both on and off the shelf, while I listened and added my two cense here and there. It was wonderful conversation. While we talked I realized how much I’d missed having conversations like this; even as an English Major in college it’s been hard to find people interested in a good book talk.
As we made our way back to the counter and I made my final decisions on what to buy, I asked her about some of the books I have read and plan to read this summer. The fact that I was writing a blog and my challenge of fifty books by mid-September came up as well and as I set the books down for purchase she told me she would be giving me a free book as well.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been given a free book from a bookstore.I’ve met a few bookstore owners, but never have any of them offered to give me a book. In saying this I do not mean to imply that this bookstore is in the habit of giving out books. I’ve been going there for about ten years and this is the one and only time it has happened.
More than receiving the book, which I was quite excited about, I was happy at the friendship and connection that I felt with the bookstore and its occupants; I realized how easily people can feel connected simply by bound pages lining shelves and the stories within them.