Re: I Love Bookshops
- Hello Tejvan,
I feel exactly the same way about bookshops.
When I was young, going shopping with my mother to the local mall was quite a regular event. My mother loved to look through the stores and try to get me excited about dressing girly. I suppose every mother with a daughter wants to dress her up, however our shopping trips never quite went as planned.
Inevitably I would get bored and difficult so we would split up and arrange a time to meet later.
Every time this happened, my mother knew that she could find me in the bookstore if I did not arrive on time to our appointed meeting place.
She just never understood the lure of spending hours poring over books.
Luckily my father did, and this is something that we did together; he in the science fiction/fantasy section, and me buried in the mysteries.
In the city where I live now, gratefully we have many thriving local bookshops, and my favorite is a store called Whodunnit.
As the title suggests it is a mystery bookstore, and it has both new and used books.
The owners somehow know all of their customer's tastes and are always able to recommend just the perfect new book or new series. They know for instance that I don't want anything gross and gory, just lighthearted and fun, or as lighthearted and fun as a murder mystery can be:)
You can sit in there in their cozy reading area and read the backs of as many books as you like, while you sip hot tea in the winter, or iced tea in the summer, free of charge.
When Kindle can provide this kind of service, I may consider giving up my bookshops, but until then...
- Hello again Tejvan,
I can't believe that I left my most important bookshop story out of my first reply!
At a time in my life when I was desperately seeking, I used to frequent every spiritual/new age bookstore that I could find to hopefully find the answers to my burning questions.
On one trip I could not find anything that really appealed to me,but I found one book that I liked only because I liked the picture of the author on the back. He had a sweet smile and I felt very drawn to him. Of course it was one of Guru's books, but at that time I had no idea who Guru was.
The book was The Garden of the Soul, and I read it from cover to cover as soon as I got home. I remember lighting a candle and praying before I read it. I had never done this before.
I loved the poems, but I was very frustrated that I didn't really understand the stories.
At that point in my life they really didn't make sense to me, and I was disappointed because I felt somehow that this book was special and that it was supposed to hold many answers for me.
Over the next couple of weeks I kept re-reading the poems which really spoke to me, and 2 weeks later I was sitting in a meditation class browsing through the books that were being sold, and saw on one of the books the same face looking back at me that was on my book.
I took it as a sign, and 16 years later, thanks to a friendly neighborhood bookstore, here I am, able write about our beloved Guru.
Your beautiful post made me laugh out loud! That's because I've been suffering from a debilitating chest cold these past few days and have been passing the time by reading and re-reading "Garden of the Soul!" It's such a beautifully put together and seamlessly woven collection of Guru's writings. It's wonderful. I particularly love the story "Go Alone" towards the beginning of the book. I've been in the Centre for a long time, but re reading this book has been like an infusion of fresh spiritual light.
"Go Alone" is a particularly evocative and moving story. Reading it again really touched my heart.
I share your enthusiasm for old bookshops. As well as old record shops. As I mentioned to you previously, I prefer listening to classical music on LPs. That's because the old vinyl somehow has an immediacy, a presence, that is sadly lacking in cds and mp3s. The best place to buy records is at thrift shops and garage sales where you can pick them up for a song. At actual record shops, you may have to pay a little more, but the quality can be better. I recently paid fifty dollars for Yo-Yo Ma's first recording of the Bach cello suites. Yes, it's a lot of money, but his interpretation is really sweet and affecting.
I like your account of discovering "Beyond Within". That was the first book of Guru's that I read, too. It was actually intended for use as a college text book on the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy. It's so intriguingly and accessibly organised, and so inviting and enjoyable. I never feel that I have read that book enough.
I agree, it's a shame that book stores are dying out. That's why I deliberately try to patronise my local used book shops as much as possible. Fortunately, Chicago is a very old-fashioned Victorian city and there are still many wonderful independent book retailers to choose from.
Right now I'm reading "The Three Musketeers" as translated by Richard Pevear. It's a great read, so funny and so full of joy and life. I highly recommend it. (Anything Richard Pevear translates is wonderful- his translation of "The Brothers Karamazov" is revelatory).
I'm very happy to belong to this family of voracious book-worms!