It's really sad that my soul-easing moments now seem to be happening in corporate behemoth stores, but hey, that's the state of our culture.
Over the past weekend Mr. CR and I visited our "local" Barnes and Noble; he had a gift card and I just had a jones to look at books.* Once we got inside we went our separate ways, as per usual, with Mr. CR peeling off for science fiction, fantasy, and magazines, and me pausing briefly at the new nonfiction tables before heading directly upstairs to the sale and used book section. So there I stood, looking over their selection of used books (I happened to be in the fiction and literature section, where they actually had some neat old used books and biographies of literary types). And as I was quite happily looking the shelves over, the Elvis Presley song "Can't Help Falling in Love" came on the radio, and I had a little moment of pure happiness.**
Yes, the Internet has everything. You need never look away from the Internet again and there will always be something to look at. But there is such pleasure in looking at a finite shelf of books; I had almost forgotten it. When you look at a shelf of books, particularly when it's nonfiction, it gives you the feeling that you might actually be able to read and know something about a subject. You read a book, you read a shelf of books, you might actually get somewhere. The Internet? You've never going to hit the end of that shelf, and you're going to feel like you're never going to know anything about everything, particularly as lots of other people out there know way more about everything you're interested in than you ever will.
So yes, I had a little moment of bliss in the belly of the corporate beast. That'll happen.
*You know, different books than the ones piled on our shelves and stacked on our tables and floor.
**In other "doing my soul good" news, my email interview with author Stacy Horn was posted this morning over at the Reader's Advisor Online blog; part 2 will run tomorrow. Please do check it out--not just because I love Stacy Horn and think you should too, but because she's got some really interesting things to say about books and author promotions.