I recently came across a YouTube video about the demise of Borders Books, and it sent me down memory lane about my bookstore days in the 1990s.
My friends in Norman, Oklahoma, and I would often meet for lunch on Sunday, then pick something to do in the afternoon. Much of the time, we would make a grand tour of the bookstores in Norman: Hastings, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and, in the mall (remember the mall?), Waldenbooks.
We browsed for hours, almost like in a library, though we almost always bought something.
I don’t know if it sounds bombastic or pretentious, but my first stop was usually the philosophy section. I was absolutely entranced by the idea of reading the world views of brilliant minds, both contemporary and historical.
Once in a while a couple of my Norman friends and I would drive up to Full Circle Books in northwest Oklahoma City, often paired with a stop at Akins Natural Foods nearby. Full Circle is just the right combination of coziness, impressive selection, and employees who love reading.
I don’t want to leave Ada out, of course. Many of us loved going to Hastings in North Hills Center. One of my closest friends, Jamie, worked at Ada’s Hastings for years, and I was always glad to see her there.
Ay, there’s the rub. As with everything else in the 21st century, reading has been transformed by our electronic devices, and not always for the best. I don’t want this to sound like a post mortem for reading. Some of the best people I know love to read, and would rather grab any book one their shelf than watch or listen to anything on their smartphones.
Hastings and Borders are gone, swallowed up by e-readers and bad business practices, but somehow Barnes and Noble is still around.
Not too make people know this yet, but I am finally getting my book together about my life with Abby, so a final question might be: would you read it in print, or would you rather see it on your smart device?