Letters #4 Bookstores

John K King Used and Rare Books in Detroit, Michigan takes the cake.

I love bookstores. Can’t get enough of them. Even if I spend all day in one, I can probably revisit that same shop the next day and still have a great time. To me, a bookstore is a worthy alternative to traveling, right alongside heading into your own neighborhood and mingling with people wherever you happen to visit.

In a bookstore, you’re surrounded by books, but the books are really windows, portals into different experiences, different impressions, creations, names and faces. All kinds of places. Knowledge, philosophy, adventure, cooking, science, mathematics and matters of the spirit. It’s like you’ve reached the central cortex of the mind, some cerebral town square out of a dream, and from here you can walk through any particular doorway you choose.

You can’t do this on Amazon.

A library is great too, just like a bookstore in all these ways, except the difference between the library and bookstore is the vibration you feel when you walk in, since the busy-ness and hustle and bustle of a bookstore is much greater than what you might find in a library.

Some people prefer that about a library and generally find it a better place to work if they need to focus. Sometimes I prefer the library. Sometimes I need quiet to focus. Other times I prefer the bookstore, where that sense of heightened, surrounding action is stimulating in such a way that I can find focus just the same.

It’s like suspending your thoughts and emotions and finding a sense of peace, a strong center that anchors you in the chaos, like the drum beat in jazz music.

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