The 3-Hour Bookstore

3 Hour

Obviously, we like books. The name of the website makes that pretty clear. Our houseful of books that extend two and three deep along the hallway to our bedrooms makes it more clear. The kids’ secret bookroom built into the eve of the house makes it really clear. The books in the bathroom, on the kitchen table, under the bed, beside the chair, and sometimes even outside on the porch make it abundantly clear. We like books.

And that also means that we like homes for books – places like bookstores and libraries. More precisely, we love bookstores and libraries. If you were to go through our family photo albums of recent years you would see some particularly peculiar pictures mixed in with the normal shots of holiday events and family gatherings and music programs and goofy iphone pics taken for no definable reason at all. The peculiar photos would be of bookstores.

The girls and I started this adventure of trying to find bookstores in whatever town we were visiting on short Saturday trips around town or longer extended vacations out of town. We have found many and all have been an adventure.

I remember one that we found in a small town in west Texas that was painted entirely in pink, both inside and out, and was downright scary. It smelled of about a thousand cats and its tables and bookshelves were so packed that you had to dig through the rubble of books just to see what was there. It was a place that worried us and intrigued us all at the same time. As booklovers, we couldn’t help ourselves as we looked through this crazy place to see if a treasure was waiting for us. I’m sure we bought a book or two there, because we nearly always do.

The other night, my 13-year old and I spent three hours in a bookstore. Three hours was not the plan, but when we found each other in the children’s section at the back of the store and I looked at my watch, it had been three hours! We were both shocked and thrilled and wondered how it could be that a place would keep us that occupied for that long.

I think the most logical reason for it can be found in a quote by Augustine Birrell, who said, “An ordinary man can…surround himself with two thousand books and thence forward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy.”

Three hours or two thousand books…either way, we’re happy.