After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner last night, replete with some of the best turkey I’ve ever had and tasty side dishes (and, of course, the requisite political argument between a couple of brothers-in-law for the entertainment portion of the evening), it’s hard to imagine that I’m going to get up and go shopping the next day. So I’m not going to. I’m going to maintain my tradition of avoiding the shopping malls for holiday and Christmas shopping and instead do what I’ve done for the last ten years or so, and that’s do a lot of it over the internet or wait until the last minute and pick up some trinkets at Circle-K. Everyone can use a super-sized pack of AA batteries, right?
My favorite kind of shopping, though, is done in a bookstore. I can spend hours in one, especially one of those old-fashioned independent shops like Books and Books in Coral Gables that isn’t in the mall next to the Candle Factory, but a quiet place with row upon row of tables and shelves crammed with every sort of book covering every sort of topic from great literature to the last political tell-all to a field guide to the wild flowers of the Uintah Mountains. Some stores even provide comfortable chairs where you can sit and read the first chapter or two … or more … before making your purchase, and I remember places like The Tattered Cover in Denver where it was more like being in someone’s home. I marvel at the stunning variety of topics, the glorious colors of the large picture books, the hundreds of titles of new and old books, the names of authors I remember from years ago and those I’ve never heard of. As an aspiring author it gives me great hope to see that even in our age of virtual books on Kindle, there is still a vast number of books that are printed on paper. (It also tells me that if I should ever get something of mine published, who would ever find it in the vast ocean of print? Sometimes I wonder why a publisher will print crap like The Da Vinci Code while my Great American Novel can’t get beyond the hard drive. Sigh.)
For the sake of the economy and our eventual recovery from the Great Recession, I hope that the retailers and the shopping malls do a lot of business this year, and I hope that everyone finds the perfect gift(s) for the people they’re buying them for…and themselves. As for me, I’ll be at the bookstore. Alert Capital One.