Fact: I am the worst person in the world to go into a bookstore with. This is not an embellishment. People who know me know better than to ask if I want to go inside a bookstore if we pass one while out and about. I got into some kind of book-induced coma and literally cannot form a coherent sentence until physically removed from the store. The sight of me emerging all slack-jawed and blinking isn’t unusual. Or worse, some unfortunate bookstore employee will choose the wrong moment to engage me in conversation and will find themselves locked into an hour-long debate about whether or not it’s better to read the book before watching the movie or after. (Before. Always before.)
That’s ok, though. I actually became good friends with some of those bookstore employees; I count one of them among my closest friends because we have known each other for almost nine years. It kind of makes up for all of those friends I ended up losing after dragging them into a bookstore. (I’m kidding. Kind of.)
It’s why I was a little reluctant to tag along when my sister suggested checking out the opening of a new used bookstore just a few blocks down the street from where I live. I had visions of myself slumped over the books drooling and glassy-eyed but I figured she’s my sister, and she has to love me no matter what. Right?
It turns out, there really is such a thing as choosing a great bookstore buddy. I think I’ve finally found one in my sister. She’s the type of person who enjoys reading enough that she’s happy to spend time browsing alone while I wander zombie-like among the shelves. Being a well-read person also helps, as she was able to coax me out of my stupor once in awhile to ask a question about the book I was studying, or to show me another title she thought I would be interested in.
Best of all, my sister makes the perfect bookstore buddy because we trade virtually almost every book we read back and forth, which means that we went in on our purchases together knowing that some of our choices would compliment each other’s collections perfectly. Plus, my sister is cool enough to want to try some of the weirder, more eclectic titles that I’ve been meaning to read. In fact, she’s got a few of them of those on her wish list as well.
Even though most people shy away from a bookstore outing with me, I’m grateful my sister was brave enough to drag me out because it turned out to be a pretty great bonding experience. Trapped between shelves during a crowded bookstore opening actually got us talking- and I mean really talking- about the different books we loved, the books we wanted to love, and how much all of these different titles meant to us.
It took me years to find my perfect bookstore buddy, but I finally think I’ve found mine. She was right under my nose this whole time. But I’m sure my sister will forgive me for not noticing sooner- said nose was probably buried deep inside a book.
Are you able to enter a bookstore like a normal person, or am I the only one with this problem? Have you found a bookstore buddy to accompany you to ensure your safety as well? Give them a shout-out by commenting below or share your most embarrassing bookstore experience by writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to see some of the things that I’ve been reading for the past little while? Visit what’s been on my bookshelves here, some of the non-fiction I like to review here, and if that’s not nearly enough reading for you I have a to-read list that’s like 10,000 miles long on my Goodreads profile found here.
I probably need to visit independent bookstores more often. I never get into conversations with the clerks at Barnes and Noble.
That’s true- the bigger bookstores definitely lack some of that charm. I was fortunate enough to have two friends that were bookstore employees: one did work at an independent one, but the other happened to work for one of Canada’s larger chains. I think sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw!
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