My Son’s First Trip to a Bookstore.

I posted this on my personal blog where I write about motherhood, but I wanted to share it with my fellow books lovers.

I’ve come to the realization that bookstores are dying. I was in denial for too long, but it finally hit me.

James and I used to go to Borders once a week. We walked around, browsed, and occasionally went home with a book. Okay, I usually went home with a book. But the point of the trip was the experience in the store. The smell of all those new books. The weight of five, heavy, fantasy novels in my arms before I guilted myself out of buying four of them. The instant gratification of buying that book, taking it home, and opening it (or just putting it on a bookshelf).

When Borders closed, I was probably a little more distraught than others. There was a Barnes and Noble about a 20 minute drive away, but I never cared much for their layout. Plus, it’s hard to make that a weekly outing. Borders had been just five minutes away. So, my visits to bookstores were nearly wiped out. I would make the drive if I got a gift card, but I bought books much less, and usually from Amazon or the library yearly sale.

When Anthony arrived, I knew I wanted to start him early with reading. We read everyday. He loves Clifford and Curious George. I know he can’t fully understand what I read to him yet, but I know he recognizes certain books, and I know he enjoys the sound of my voice as I read aloud. The past week, he has been really grabbing at the books, looking like he is trying to pet Clifford, just like he pets Koda. Sometimes, he just tries to eat the book, but I knew I wanted to get him one of those “touch and feel” books.

This past weekend, we were looking for things to do on Sunday. We had spent the rainy Saturday indoors, so we wanted to stay out on the sunny day as long as possible. I had a gift card to B&N sitting in my wallet since Christmas, so we made the drive to Reston. Here in Northern Virginia, they have a lot of strip malls, and they all start to look the same. So after getting a little confused, we finally pulled into the parking lot where the bookstore was. And I do mean “was.” It’s gone. Replaced by a Container Store.

Sigh.

So now, the nearest B&N is a 30-40 minute drive to Fairfax, right next to my old job. And that time frame is being considerate. The drive there is awful. A friend told us that there is a Books-a-Million in Leesburg, about 15 minutes away, but I have always hated that store. I guess desperate times may call for desperate measures.

Luckily I had already made plans to visit some of the girls at my old job today. We met up for lunch, where Anthony was his usual smiley and talkative self. He was also squirmy and a little whiny toward the end, but he was hungry and tired, so who can blame him. After lunch, we made our way the the bookstore. After a quick change and a bottle, we walked around.

Anthony’s first trip to a bookstore. Yay!

We found a Clifford nighttime story, and when he saw it, he wanted to hold it. I pushed him around in his stroller as he was talking and holding this enormous book. I wish I had taken a picture. His mama was so proud.

This time, instead of carrying around five fantasy books for myself, I carried around a boxed set of “touch and feel” books and his new bedtime story book. I considered spending over my gift card amount for a book for myself, but decided against it. My library is big enough for now.

We spent an hour in the store, and I told my husband I could have spent all day there. But, it had been a big day for little man, and it was a long drive home. I was just happy that I got to take him to a bookstore before they disappear.

Though, my wish is that when he is old enough to pick out his own books, I will see him walking toward me in a bookstore with a stack almost too heavy to carry.

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One thought on “My Son’s First Trip to a Bookstore.

  1. I remember first the Waldens Books closing down in the mall and then the Books-a-Million closing down and then the Borders closing down in my hometown and they were all sad. Luckily there were a couple of great used bookstores that I could at least go wander around in. I love that I live in a larger city now and am able to visit a lot more independent bookstores, but I can’t afford to buy as many as I could at the big box stores, but I still try and support them! I hope they don’t fully disappear.

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