A few years ago, I was in the throes of the college-choosing process. Near one college I considered, there was a smallish bookstore, and almost every time my mom and I were visiting the school we would swing by.
Usually I would enter looking for one specific book, but the shelves would inevitably pull me in. I found books that seemed to be old, half-forgotten friends, strangers I now wanted to get to know or acquaintances I had heard of but hadn’t officially met. Even if no specific book caught my eye, just standing in the aisle–among all those writings and stories–impressed me with a sense of awe. In addition to being a store that sold books, it was also a building that held great stores of knowledge.
The bookstore was a dangerous place. The tall bookcases enveloped me and made it so easy to forget that I needed to leave soon; that I had homework to finish, a dog to feed, errands to run. When we finally left, hours later and with four times the number of books we had intended to buy, it was still with a sense of reluctance.
I’ve lived in the Fox Cities for three years now, and while I’ve visited some of the bookstores in the area, I know there are many hidden gems to be discovered. And that, dear reader, is why I am writing! In a series of blog posts this summer, I will be exploring the stories of local bookstores, while also hearing from book sellers, book owners and book lovers about the power of literature and the special role of the bookstore in our culture and time.
Follow along if you are interested in local businesses, books, facts, fictions, choices, life, death, love, or hate–or even if you are just looking for a place to while away a few hours this summer. You can find all of that in just one bookstore, but we’ve got a whole summer of them ahead of us. See you next time!
“There is nothing like the smell of a bookstore. If you ask me, it’s actually a combination of smells:
part library, part new book, and part expectation for what you might find.”
—Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Destiny, Rewritten
—By Katie Nelson