As a kid, grocery-shopping day was my favourite of the week. While my mom perused the aisles unencumbered, my sister and I were set loose in our farm community’s local library. Giddy to be surrounded by ALL THE BOOKS I’d lose myself for sixty minutes, sitting cross-legged in my brown cords (it was the 70s) on the carpeted floor that always smelled like corn chips, the stack’s metal shelving leaving indentations in my back.
All these years later I still love libraries—the smell of book pages caressed by so many eager fingers, the possibilities that exist behind the spines, the sense of peace and quiet librarians still enforce—and like libraries, independent bookstores bring up the same feelings. They are spaces of freedom, and abundant creativity. Somewhere to take a breather and be transported into someone else’s story.
Indies are about the pure experience—all books, all the time, nothing else to distract or take away from a love of reading. Need to find a book to make you laugh-cry? Want something haunting, written by a Canadian? Hoping to find a beautifully written and diverse story for your teen? On the hunt for an obscure book that never made the “lists” or achieved mass market success, but is a gem of a story? This is where your indie bookseller shines, because they are not only book experts, they are also book lovers—fiercely so, I’ve found.
I have quite a long bucket list (one I’ve been keeping since I was 17 years old) and nestled amongst the one-hundred-and-twenty-or-so items is “own a little bookstore.” In reality (and understanding what it takes) I may never get further than a Little Free Library at the end of my driveway, so am grateful for indie owners who have opened their doors within our communities for the rest of us book lovers to gleefully escape for an hour or so.
(c) 2016 Karma Brown
KARMA BROWN is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist and author of the international bestseller Come Away With Me. When not mulling plot lines in coffee shops, she can be found running with her husband, coloring (outside the lines) with her daughter, and perfecting her banana bread recipe. Karma lives just outside Toronto with her family. The Choices We Make (July 12, 2016) is her second novel.