Monday, February 27, 2012

Ode to the Bookstore

I headed to the Borders at the mall to grab a book for a friend's birthday gift only to find it had been replaced by a Toys 'R Us.  I just stood there, watching people rush in and out through the automatic doors, arms heavy with plastic bags stuffed with dolls and robots.  I just wanted to scream at them... "What are you teaching your children by giving them a Bratz doll?!  Give your child a BOOK!"

A few days later, I headed to the Barnes & Noble at a different mall to buy a new journal for my notes while I study with my new coach and develop my acting style.  Again... when I reached the top of the escalator, there was nothing but locked doors and brown paper-lined windows.  My heart broke a little as I turned to head back to my car.

I nearly threw a hissy-fit when I heard the Samuel French on Ventura closed its doors last week.  The crème de la crème... a bookstore devoted to making movies and theater.  I could spend my entire paycheck there!  I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles and felt as if I'd died and gone to heaven when I stepped foot in Sam French.  Walls of nothing but books on acting in film, in theater, directing, writing, lighting... I couldn't have been happier if I were a kid in a candy store.

What is wrong with the world?  Are people so busy on their iPhones and iPads that they've forgotten what it's like to hold a real book in their hands?  So easily the world has dismissed the pleasure in the crispness of the page as it's turned, the smell of the aging glue of the binding, and that final moment of the story that's as heavy as the back cover as it closes.  I love how books grow when they've been read; the pages swell with the life you breathed into them as you lingered over every page.  Half the pages end up having coffee stains or creases from all the corners you dog-eared.  A book is a living, breathing thing.

Maybe the world is changing and I'm an old-fashioned dinosaur, hanging on to the ways of the past.  It makes me sad to think that to our children someday, Shakespeare and Dickens will live inside a computer.  Bronte and Austen will compete with Brittany and Bieber on iTunes.  Libraries and little shops around the corner will be replaced with online beasts like 

Well I may be a dying breed, but my reading will always come from a paper page.  My apartment is full of shelves stacked to capacity with books and I will only collect more as my life continues.  Although there's some irony in that you're reading what I'm writing from a computer screen right now, please don't give up on books just yet, dear readers.  If you haven't in a while, I challenge to you pick up a book this week and spend some time in it's pages.  Carry it around for a while.  I bet you'll develop more of a relationship with that dusty old thing than you ever would with a Kindle. 

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