Borders, books and memories


The Borders in Mays Landing sold its last book Thursday. Books-A-Million is taking over the location before the holidays. Press of Atlantic City, 9-16-11

The demise of Borders has generated a great deal of discussion as people and cities assess its meaning to them;.  Las Vegas lamented the loss, while Atlantic City is welcoming a new book store, Books-a-Million.   I received a few comments from friends about my blog, books and bookstores; the comments reflect people’s ages, reading habits and experiences buying books.  Books can be very private and personal – two people can read the same book, but not share the same images or even emotions.  The action after all takes place in our head, not on the pages or on a screen.  That is the way people are reacting to the Borders story, personally; I have no significant personal association with Borders, the best of my book buying experiences of my life all involved old books, dusty shelves and the romance of finding something very special.

Not everyone sees a book as scared, some are only looking for the content and for them an e-book fills the need as well as any other book  Here is a quote from a younger friend who has no problem reading an e-book or downloading content from the Internet.

As you know, many books are now available for e-book readers, but there must be authors. Technology doesn’t replace our creativity. It just helps us be creative.

But there are others with the exact opposite view of books – those like myself who see books as almost sacred objects of worship. I don’t knee when I hold one of those treasures, but there is certainly an air religious devotion in the way I hold it or talk about it.

I love many technological goodies that are available to me…No that’s not true…I use a computer, I download movies from Netflix, I order books online, I don’t leave home without my cell phone….but the one thing I know I will never embrace is an ebook.

I am currently reading 84, Charing Cross Road which is a series of letters between a woman in NYC and a bookstore in London…Here are a couple of excerpts that are pertinent:..Thank you for the beautiful book… I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to…Oh my, I do bless you for that Walton’s Lives.  It’s incredible that a book published in 1840 can be in such perfect condition more than a hundred years later.  Such beautiful, mellow rough-cut pages they are…

 The bookstore itself often becomes a sacred place – the kind of “other place” that Starbucks set out to become – a place that is not work and not home, but one that offers comfort, stimulation and friendship.  Here is one more quote from a friend about Borders – coincidentally the Las Vegas Borders was always one of his favorite places.  We were in Las Vegas a few years ago together working on a business deal and he insisted we visit Borders as part of our trip.  He said when he lived in Las Vegas, Borders was always his favorite place to spend lunch hours. I will give him the final word for today.

The last time I was in that particular Borders at Rainbow and Lake Mead, I ran into my grandson, who was shopping with his dad.  He gave me a big hug when he came up behind me with “Hi Granpa..”  It is a sweet memory of a place and time that I will never see again.  Everything changes, but in our dreams, the worlds we loved can always be renewed for the spark of life and light that never dies. 



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