One of the most important aspects of my life is reading. Books are central to my well-being. One of the main reasons I am so keen on the concept of the book exchange is that I can regift books. Peter’s great advice was “When you find something you love, stock up.” When I read a book that teaches me how to expand my horizons, that opens me up to new exciting possibilities, I’m excited to share the name of the book with friends. I read to grow, to learn, to be enchanted by the author’s “writer’s capital.” What writers read and what they’re enthusiastic about is contagious. Dr. Samuel Johnson suggested that a writer has to read an entire library to write a book. That’s a tall order indeed.
A few weeks ago in The New York Times Economy section, there was a lead article that made me pause: “Your Local Bookstore Wants You to Know that It’s Struggling.” The message from the American Booksellers Association is clear. If you and I don’t buy from our local independent bookstores, they won’t be around much longer.
This 2020-2021 winter, we’re going to spend more time in our homes than ever before. As we hunker down in the comfort of our “private world of retreat,” we will be wise to have a home library of books we’re inspired to read. To help support our local bookstores, we can “stock up” on extra copies to give to family and friends for the holidays. Imagine someone’s delight to receive a book you send out of the blue that you know they will want to read? Magic.
During the lockdown, Bank Square Books in Mystic and Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly delivered book orders to their local customers in their Bookmobile. It was their “horseback librarian moment.” They saw a lot of dogs!
These personal gestures of caring, of making an extra effort at a human connection, can be a lifeline for many. Especially now.
Book lovers are passionate about words. Working in a bookstore is a remarkable calling. When I was having a visit in the garden with the bookstore’s event manager Ani—who took over for Elissa—she told me her job is not for everyone. When you’re fortunate to be able to do what you love, you make deliberate choices. You simplify your life. You realign your priorities.
I can’t imagine my life without my good friends at Bank Square Books and Savoy. For all of you who don’t have a personal relationship with a local bookstore, adopt ours. Call 860-536-3795 or 401-213-3901, or shop online at www.banksquarebooks.com.
In addition to buying current books you want to read, as well as ones you want to give as gifts, consider investing in adding great books to your home library or buying a book or two for your local library. I can think of few greater investments than sharing good books. Keep reminding yourself that learning is like breathing. Just as our bodies need nourishing, fresh food, our souls require inspiration. Reading will extend our lives and deeply enrich our most challenging days ahead.