Day 257

Living within walking distance of a bookstore or a library for me is as important as living close to a park, a coffee shop, and a train to the city.

Seen on Watchung Bookseller's shelveshop.

Twelve years ago I moved two blocks away from Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey. Over the years my children and I have walked, jogged, biked and occassionally even driven there to browse, shop, or talk books.

I had the chance to share my appreciation of Watchung Bookseller this week with blogger Dawn and her readers on the fabulous She Is Too Fond of Books site. Here’s a piece of my post…

The Magic of a Local Bookseller

We didn’t have a bookstore in the town where I grew up but I could see our library from my house if I stood on the roof, something I was permitted to do once a year on July 4th to watch the fireworks display. Everyone else oohed and ahhed about the fireworks and so did I, but all those books on the library shelves, all those stories to be told and heard, the lives to be shared – that’s what I dreamed about at night. That was magic, to me.

I lived in cities after graduating college, places ripe with libraries and bookstores of all kinds. In Chicago I met a man named Jim A___, whose father had been a bigwig in the publishing world. Jim told us that his father had arranged a credit account at their neighborhood bookstore when he was a boy, and all the A___ children had free reign to charge any book of their choice, one a week, all year long.

“Anything?” I asked Jim.

“Anything,” he nodded.

“Fifty-two books a year?”

Such a luxury of privilege and trust (not to mention money) seemed not only un- imaginable to me, but a relic from the past, as well. Were there really neighborhood bookstores that offered such proximity, opportunity, freedom, and choice to children?

In 2001, when my children were 8- and 12-years-old, my husband and I bought an old Dutch colonial in Montclair, New Jersey, three blocks from Watchung Booksellers… (to read the rest, visit She is Too Fond of Books).

And come back tomorrow to read Dawn’s funny recap of her recent walk odyseey walk through Central Park!