Shopping Locally

Once again, I was in a bookstore on a Saturday night. Our downtown indie bookshop is a warm, quiet place to while away an hour or two. The baristas in the cafe make fantastic coffee drinks (lavender lattes are a wonderful, wonderful thing), an old upright piano is there for anyone to go up and play, and the shelves are stocked with all sorts of books from all parts of the world. There’s a life-sized tree sculpture in the children’s section. During the holidays, it becomes an angel tree for people to buy toys and clothes for under-privileged kids. There are tables in the back for people to come and play board games and little nooks and crannies for people who want to sit and read.

They host literacy events and author signings, have hot meals for free to anyone who comes in on Tuesday afternoons, sell arts and crafts by local artists, and advertise amazing local events. If they don’t have the book I’m looking for, it’s no problem to order one and pick it up in a few days.

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Padric, one of the cool cats at the used bookstore

The used bookstore several blocks away is very much the same, except
with cats instead of a cafe. It’s a good trade. I shop in both places. A lot.

Now, I could certainly buzz through Amazon in a fraction of the time and find books at a fraction of the price, but I don’t. I don’t like spending my time searching through endless web pages, looking for the best deal and while I don’t like shopping in general, what little I do, I prefer to do in actual, physical, brick and mortar stores.

I don’t buy much of anything online if I can help it. I like my quirky local shops too much. I like being able to handle a book, flip through its pages, and smell that new book scent. Half the fun of book shopping is the physical aspect of it, of looking at the rows of books and picking up the ones that obviously have a lot of thought put into their production with their beautiful cover art, thick spines, and deckled page edges.

There’s also a joy in talking to people at books shops, whether they’re explaining the incomprehensible allure of Philippa Gregory novels (I still don’t get it), or telling the story of how they were chased through Cairo by Egyptian military officers wielding machine guns. You never know what sorts of stories you’ll hear. Each trip to the bookstore is a small adventure.

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As per Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, I bought flowers for my apartment. I had to split the bunch into two smaller arrangements, so now they are brightening up either side of my living room. I don’t buy myself flowers often enough, despite the fact that the grocery store has a little flower stand all year round, and they’re always of good quality.

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I also began my long-delayed crochet project while waiting for the new Sherlock episode to come on the other night. It’s going to take a lot more yarn than I anticipated, but it’s very soft and very warm, so it will be well worth it.

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