When I was a little kid, going to the bookstore at the mall with my mom was enough to send me over the edge with excitement. I was one of those worrisome children that found the bookstore more thrilling than 31 Flavors or the pet shop. When my middle daughter was a pre-teen, she got to be part of the magic by standing in line at Borders for the midnight release of two of the Harry Potter books, complete with balloons and everything. As an adult, I performed a comedic reading at a Borders Books & Music on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Many singer/songwriters who never would have stood a chance in corporate America, were introduced to their audience through a Borders tour. I also escaped a family crisis there one Easter Sunday; where I drank espresso, read American Scholar, and pretended my real family was from another planet.
I have purchased countless books, magazines, CD’s and DVD collections I probably would have never even known about had I not been able to experience the full sensory sensations of being in an enormous multi-level Borders. While visual impression is very important, there is nothing like the 3rd dimensional feel of an item; the gloss of the magazine, the smell of the ink, the weight of a photography book, the crackle of a newly opened hardback, the aisles of bookshelves or music bins there for your pawing pleasure, the quiet murmurs of others sharing in the awe of discovery.
I feel guilty, like a neglectful lover. I moved away from my favorite Borders almost 3 years ago when I relocated from Southern California to a small coastal Oregon town. The nearest Borders to me is (or was) about a 90 minute drive away. I meant to go there, but I have been so busy, and yes, I did get a Kindle last Christmas. I still buy books – primarily from Amazon. After I got into the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I did patronize a little local bookstore because I was so desperate to get the next book in the series – I couldn’t wait for the shipping. But it will never be the same as going to what I always felt was the Disneyland of Borders at the Rivers mall in Palm Desert. It would feel like a blast furnace outside, and my daughter and I would go into the freezy Borders – before or after whatever movie we had come to see – and each drift to our own area and lose ourselves. It was way too easy to accidentally be late to the movie, or stay until we were starving. But it was so hard to leave. Now, we can never go back.