BY Lisa Lindblad
July 21, 2010
Tuesday’s announcement that Amazon was now selling more electronic books than bound books was a sobering one. I mourn the passing of the book but, to be honest, I mourn the precarious future of corner bookstores even more.
My first recognition of what made me, me was discovered through the stories I read and the stories that seeded my imagination. As importantly, however, was the pleasure I experienced as a young child in the reading room of the public library. Later on, that pleasure was replicated in other libraries and, then, special bookstores. The stillness, the hugeness of the worlds and the words encompassed in the volumes on the shelves, the safety, the kinship I felt, from all those authors who offered up their stories, comforted and encouraged me. When my children were growing, I found the public library annex of my neighborhood and the wonderful bookstores and reading rooms that offered a carpeted floor on which to sit and peruse books or a Saturday morning author visit that electrified them.
The Corner Bookstore, near my own corner in New York, is such a place. Well located at the center of many wonderful schools, I have watched it harbor children of all ages after the school day is done, offering them a bench on which to lose themselves in the magic of some tale. The children know Chris and Lydie and Nick and all the others who devote themselves to the store. And, as importantly, they know the children and their interests, becoming mentors of sorts, guiding them along their reading journey, special ordering an English author or an academic source for a school paper.
It’s a hard business, keeping a corner bookstore thriving in our world of electronic gadgetry. Perhaps I am biased – the man who runs The Corner Bookstore is my best friend – but I believe that there is no substitute for what he offers to me and my neighborhood. We know we can find books anywhere – digital or bound. Not only are his books selected with an eye that is particular and particularly good, but they are offered generously to the passing traveler; come and rest yourself on the bench inside this intimate and calm oasis and let your mind go. Here you will find a respite, a friendly face and some one to share an idea with. Now that is rare!