Finding Friends in the Margins

I won’t pretend like I don’t enjoy shopping from my bed at Midnight and being able to get almost anything I desire delivered to my doorstep in a matter of days, but this makes me sad…

As the company begins its bookstore expansion, a joyless retail experience awaits.

via Amazon’s New Stores Aren’t Happy to See You Either — Longreads

The bookstore is still one of the few places left where an introvert can be amongst people to curb that overwhelming sense of being alone in the world, but yet not have to really interact with anyone.  Introverts recognize each other because we don’t make eye contact when we apologize for being in the way or needing to walk between one another and the bookshelf.  We know that on some deep level we are really apologizing for even existing.

Maybe there is a silver lining to this story though.  At some point we need to part ways with some of the books we met in that lovable brown box we picked up from our front porch. There are many new arrivals waiting to take their place on your bookshelf.  I spent two hours at a used bookstore yesterday.  I exchanged a tote bag full of stories for six new ones, and I only had to speak roughly 10-12 complete sentences.  I was able to delete three books from my Amazon wishlist.  Of course the tradeoff is a slightly yellowed and gently loved version of the brand new book Amazon would have delivered straight to your mailbox, but there is something magical about finding a book with notes already scrawled in the margins.  Again, I think it is a feeling of connectedness with another person who has the same taste and could be your friend if you ever met them.  But you don’t have to!  You just know that person is somewhere in the world marking up a copy of “This Boy’s Life” with a bright blue ink pen and that is enough to keep you company for today.


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