It used to be, back when your mother and father were young and there were still such things as penny candy and magic, there was a bookstore in every town and every one was different. Some were so small that you would have sworn it could have fit inside a shoebox.
Yet the proprietor always managed to find the exact book you needed, when you needed it, even if you had no idea that particular book was going to make your heart sing.
Others were so large that you could lose whole gaggles of children amongst the stacks. Some did, only to be found at closing time by the store cat, asleep with picture books open in their laps.
Nowadays, when people live next door to each other for years, yet still can’t rightly tell each other’s name, there are fewer bookstores and less magic, too.
But if you’re lucky enough to find one in the town where you hang your coat at the end of the day, go in and say hi. Put your phone in your pocket and gaze around in wonder as you step over the threshold into a place of joy and welcome.
Find that book you’d forgotten, which made you brave when you were young. Pick up a slim tome, on the recommendation of a handwritten sign stuck precariously between the spines, that may just save your soul. Buy the fat novel with a title that tickles like déjà vu at the base of your neck on the advice of the bookseller whose smile crinkles the corner of her eyes when you say yes and who whispers that the book is one of her favorite friends.
There’s still magic in the world, though it’s hidden more often than not. But you can find it wrapped up in the pages found in bookstores owned by people whose veins flow with prose and poetry. Don’t be shy, come on in, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear the books call your name, too.
Dedicated to Renee on the occasion of the Grand Opening of Books on B. Thank you for bringing back magic, warmth, and community into our downtown through your bookstore. May all the pages of your days be blessed.