To All the Bookstores I've Loved Before

When I was a kid, my favorite store in the mall closest to our house was a Waldenbooks. When I say "closest to our house" this particular mall was still roughly 30 minutes away, but in those days it was the mall that everyone went to. There are more than a few things I loved about country living. Lack of proximity to bookstores was not one of them.

I loved that Waldenbooks. It was a small store and you could see all the way to the back looking through the glass front. It was filled with books, as you would expect. The counter was on the left side, with a wall of new releases and magazines behind it. My favorite section--the young adult and middle grade section--was at the back.

The trip that I remember most was July 21, 2007. A week before my birthday. The release day for Deathly Hallows. 

I'd pre-ordered it long before, not wanting to risk going into the bookstore and it not being there. I needed that book. My mom didn't understand the draw of a midnight release (a missed opportunity that I'm still a little sad about), so it was noon when we walked into the mall and I made a beeline for Waldenbooks, walking as fast as I could without actually running.

It was busy, of course it was, but I made it all the way up to the counter and asked for my book. I hugged that book to my chest all the way to the car.

Waldenbooks closed many years ago. If you're not familiar with the name, it was a subsidiary of Borders so it isn't a surprise. Then, though, I probably cried over it at least once. 

The next nearest bookstore was about 45 minutes away, a Borders. To me, it was huge. I don't remember much about it other than the exact location and the fact that it looked exactly as you would expect a Borders to look in the 2000s. I didn't get to go often but it's where all my books came from throughout high school.

I did cry when Borders closed.

In college, there were two indie bookstores in town. When the weather was nice, it was about an hour's walk to get to both of them. I went to school in the north. The weather was only nice for a month or two in the autumn and then, if you were lucky, finals week in the spring. I went without a car for my entire college career so I didn't get to the bookstores often but it was a nice treat when I did.

One bookstore was two stories and filled with a maze of tall shelves. All the books were used. Some of the ones on the high shelves above the doorways were antique books. They looked beautiful--with warm leather spines and titles that I was too short to read.

To all the bookstores I've loved before: Thank you for being there. Thank you for providing me with the books that I needed and wanted and loved. Thank you for giving me a escape at times when I wanted to be elsewhere.


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