Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coffee and Books

The bindings unbroken, the pages unfurled and freshly printed. The store smelled of fresh ink--warming and welcoming. Together we stood, laughing, smiling, and contemplating the synopses on the back of every book, graphic novel and comic. The daring adventures, shallow and deep characters, and ideas were floating around me, making me dizzy. Melody was to my left, inquisitively studying the fiction section in hopes to find more to read throughout the course of the summer.

"I have too much to read!" she sighed. I know Melody; she will never finish her list--it never stops growing.

The middle of the week means, even in the evening, there will be a lot of cars in the parking lot, but they are always misleading. For us, I felt as if we were two of the only people actually looking at the books. The rest of the shallow and disturbed were huddled by the bound Starbucks mooching off of the wireless internet and sucking down their customized Frappucinos--flavors so airy and light it is almost unsatisfying. Melody and I bought some drinks quickly and hurried back to the shelves to explore some more. Most of the time was spent trying to keep Melody from any cover that read the name "Loki" on it. We had finished watching "Thor" at the neighboring theatre, and her new obsession with the man behind the character was exhausting--exhausting, but amusing, just like Melody.

Few people stopped and stared as Melody and I managed to get louder and more obnoxious. Those who dared to peak above their newspapers and People Magazines were greeted with likewise glaring stares from me, who had lost all patience with the impotence on the coffee side of the bookstore.

Because having a free-standing Starbuck's full of your kind isn't bad enough, I thought.

God forbid any of the Superficials spill their lattes on the books, their caffeine-shot eyes and Macs were indicators they did not come to the bookstore to actually read, or, at least, find something to read other than the news-feeds on Twitter and Facebook. How they would even manage to line their eyes long enough to finish a sentence or two is beyond my comprehension.

I am not sure when bookstores stopped being about the books and, rather, a hot-spot for all of the indie-fascinated folks this side of town, but I would much rather coffee and books be separated once more. The merge might help businesses gain customers, but I would much rather walk into a bookstore and see readers than find people who wreak of cocoa bean and a mysterious perfume I would never dream of buying [just for the sake of buying].

It is a blessing and a privilege to a hold a book in one's hands and experience a new life, either previously had or imagined by someone brilliant. I am waiting for the day I can walk into a bookstore again and feel as though I am standing in a store full of books, and nothing more.

And then there's the section with Twilight and other juvenile sins against literature...


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  1. I agree completely. There's something precious about a real, physical book--just one reason why I don't own a Kindle. To me, technology strips some of the personality away from a book, instead replacing it with a glowing screen and a battery warning. My book collection keeps growing, and I don't think it will ever stop. :) Loved this!

  2. (: Yeah, I think people are starting to forget about that kind of stuff.

    Kindles are convenient, but why lose something beautiful like a book for something digital that you can't ever feel?

  3. I think Kindles can be good for getting cheap textbooks and stuff. I know my World Lit professor was saying that it can end up saving English majors a lot of money with it. All the same, I don't think I'll ever turn to that before I turn to a solid, crisp book, be it literature or just something that has entertainment value.

    It's just not the same.

    I had a good time, BessGewdFrann. :)

  4. I personally love books...the paper feel...the words in ink that would last indefitely in that special chest, instead of becoming lost when you crash your computer...a book is a work of art...

    I sort of agree with you...People shouldn't go to book stores just to get wifi or coffee...but reading a fine novel with a hot Vanilla Caramel Mocha Cinnamon Latte by my side is one of my favorite things to do...
    why not have a Coffee corner with a door to the Starbucks next door? That way, people can still drink and read...

    With kindles...It might be great for a whole library in a compact package...but at home,an actual book...

  5. I'm having this discussion also, with a friend too. Books become part of the reader where as something electronic has it's own limitations. Also, when reading a book it naturally feels like an escape and a good alternative compared to staring at a screen all day!

    If there were no books, we wouldn't have bookmarks, drink stains, sand in the creases or smell of new/old paper, even the gift of writing our own message in the book cover and passing the story onto a friend wouldn't exist.

  6. I have mixed feelings about blending coffeeshops with books. On the one hand I agree with you about respecting the sanctity of the written word...on the other hand, I love the smell of coffee (though I don't drink it anymore) and it's soothing to be greeted by that particular aroma when I walk into Barnes and Noble. As long as the patrons don't lose sight of why they are there I am happy with the combination. However, so many people lose sight of what really matters.

    And speaking of losing sight of what matters...down with Kindles. I will admit to being tempted. The idea of carrying your entire library in your hands is attractive. But you just can't replace the touch and smell of a good book. We can all agree on that.

    Nice post.

  7. "Twilight and other juvenile sins against literature..." Quite.

    Three cheers for books :)

  8. The funny thing is, I agree. I HATED reading in high school, probably because I was FORCED to read what was assigned. Now, I can read the same books and actually enjoy them.... never thought I'd say that. I have no interested in e-readers and I, too, would rather have a book physically in my hand.

    They say the perks of Kindle-like contraptions are that you have multiple books to read at one time. For me, I am usually reading one at a time so having 50 books for a two hour plane ride (or car ride... or anything else) is kind of pointless to me. I don't like mixing my stories. LOL

    But, I like the fact that there are Starbucks in book stores, it gives me an excuse to get my double chocolate chip frappe while I look for a book. LOL

  9. Oh there's really nothing that can compare to the feeling of reading a REAL book! Call me a freak, but I even love being in a bookstore just for the sake of being there, surrounded by books. I only keep PDFs of medical journals; other than that, I'd rather stick to paper-books at any day.

  10. Oh the joys of reading a real book in bed, turning the pages one by one!
    Reading this at the end i just wanted to tell you this: imagine the day when you walk into a bookstore and you see your own book on the shelf...can you picture it? I can! Keep this up :)

  11. hmm, i've only ever seen one bookshop with a coffe shop inside it (i'm from qld), and thats closing down. i think the coffee shops moving, though. i don't know if the coffe shop had wifi, but i know there were a lot more people at the coffee shop than looking at the books. i never actually really thought about that before.
    thanks for that.

    i hope melody found some good books on norse mythology, that stuff is awesome.

  12. I couldn't agree with you more! I just gotta say though there are a few really good books in young adult fiction you just gotta look really hard for them :)

  13. They make physical books still? Idk, there is a loss of some kind of process that occurs when you transfer from a physical book to an electronic book. Flipping through pages is something more primal, than flicking across a touchscreen. It's more "cool", maybe.

  14. Idk what qld is, but we have coffee shops in all of our bookstores, here.

  15. qld is queensland, its a state in australia. the most awesome one i think, but i'm biased.

    coffee shops in all of them? so, i guess the bookstores in america are pretty big then? the book shop i mentioned was the biggest one i ever saw.

  16. Once upon a time, my favoirtest coffeehouse housed a used bookstore of special magnificence. The tragedy, these days, is that bookstore has been turned into a wine bar, and the coffeehouse has been infected by neo-hipsters that have no conception of the secret divinity of coffeehouses.

    Otherwise, I prefer a used bookstore to a chain. A labyrinth of battered tomes in no particular order. The smell of old books, the stories of those other hands and eyes. It is there some of the best treasures are found.

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, by the way...

  17. "It is a blessing and a privilege to a hold a book in one's hands and experience a new life, either previously had or imagined by someone brilliant."

    Beautifully written, I couldn't agree more.

    There's nothing better than a real book. You can hold it in your hands, touch and caress it.

    An e-book is - I'm sorry for that - just a bunch of bits and bites. One blow and it is gone.

    How many more years will it take before most of 'us' don't know the real meaning of the word 'book' any longer? It's a shame ...

  18. Robbie Grey: I'm glad you see what I mean, and that you liked it! :)

    I love used bookstores, we have on in the middle of my hometown that is a home to nothing but wonder.

  19. Noobyman: Yeah, they're pretty much all capitalized chains--big and useful, but frustrating at times, too.

    Ben: So glad you agree.

  20. I am a proud Starbucks addict, who loves real physical, tangible books. ;) But the entry did make me smile 'cause I know exactly the types you are referencing! haha. And the part about Twlight just about killed me! Well done miss! :)

  21. Hahahaha I'm glad you enjoyed it! I used to love anything Starbuck's, but now I only like so much from it... We have both a Starbuck's and a Jazzman's on my school campus and after comparing the two, you really start to see how "meh" some of Starbuck's stuff is. :P

  22. Have not heard of Jazzman's, sounds intriguing. I think I have to check it out... :)

  23. Yeah, I'm not entirely sure if it's exclusive to campuses or if it's a real free-standing chain.

  24. I've got to confess, bookstores tend to be my sweet escape, whenever I'm in need of one. Or even my favorite, Indie/Folk inspired cafe in town. Ahhh, I sigh, sweet escapes. :)

  25. I have to take the indie scene in small dosages. Glad you enjoy it though! Everyone needs a sanctuary. :D


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