Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ode to Bookstores (Laura)

I heard the very sad news a few weeks ago that the Barnes & Noble on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis will be closing this spring. It is a lovely store with lots of character, light, and a stairway. Nobody has a good old-fashioned stairway anymore. Needless to say, I am going to miss it. Close to where I work, it's where I tend to go during the week to buy books. More than that, though, it is a reprieve from the corporate world outside. A place where I can relax, be myself, and be good enough. I go to the children's section or writing section or the journals downstairs. Sometimes I just walk around and look out the windows. Sometimes I buy, sometimes I don't. I understand Barnes & Noble is a business, and a powerful one in the publishing industry. But it is a home for books and for me that I will miss downtown.

So, in honor of bookstores, here is my attempt at an ode:
P.S. Libraries count too.

          Oh bookstores, how I love the mystery of new light and old dust on your shelves,
          the many worlds that live in you,
          the impossible endlessness.
          I can hold you in my hand, I can feel you around me.
          I feel your muses,
          your histories,
          your stories.
          Your pain and healing spaces.
          All the thousands that dwell here.
          Here, where I can sit and be.
          Bookstores, you have always been there for me,
          watching over,
          bringing people together,
          giving both windows to the soul inside and the world out.
          Oh, bookstores, be the rock that stays through change.
          The reliable.
          The steadfast.
          Real as soft, brown earth and passionate fires.
          Dear bookstores, you are both, like no other.

Not to get too dramatic, but in my melancholy over the closing of Barnes & Noble on Nicollet, I can't help but reflect on my all-time favorite movie, You've Got Mail, when Kathleen Kelly (spoiler alert) closes her little Shop Around the Corner. But now it's the big, bad chain closing stores.

Though I am glad the accessibility of online books and e-readers gets more people to read, I hope there are enough people out there who still love holding books in their hands and the experience of bookstores to keep them around.

There remain many Barnes & Noble locations throughout the Twin Cities, as well as great independent booksellers that continue to do well, like Magers & Quinn, Eat My Words Bookstore, and Common Good Books, and  in the children's arena, Addendum Books, Red Balloon Bookshop, and Wild Rumpus. Find information on many more here.

If you happen by the Twin Cities and love bookstores, especially unique and interesting ones, check these out.

What are your favorite bookstores, and what do you love most about them?


Belle at library: http://dumbledoresarmyroleplay.wikia.com/wiki/File:Belle_beauty_and_the_beast_by_theoriginalginger-d55zhon.png


  1. Beautiful post, Laura! I love bookstores, too, though I admit now that I have kids the ease of ordering books online is very tempting. But there's nothing like being surrounded by books, able to take them off the shelves and flip through the pages. Time-consuming (at least for me!), but such fun! The link you included for local bookstores is an awesome resource, I need to check out more of the stores around the Twin Cities!

    1. Thanks so much, Laurie! I need to check more of the bookstores out too. I've been to Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus and love them both. Your boys might like Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis. They have kitties and other animals roaming the store! It's really cool.

  2. This makes me sad, too. I love actual, paper books, and bookstores. In You've Got Mail, I always wish The Shop Around the Corner could have somehow stayed open.


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