Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bookstores & Libraries: Their Stories and Enigma!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, February 17, 2015

“I didn't go to bookshops to buy. That's a little bourgeois. I went because they were civilized places. It made me happy there were people who sat down and wrote and wrote and wrote and there were other people who devoted their lives to making those words into books. It was lovely. Like standing in the middle of civilization.” 
― Jerry Pinto, Em and The Big Hoom

A quaint little bookstore, shelves stacked with a diverse range of books, the musty aroma of the wooden lofts, and more books scaling till the roof. Paradise!

Surely, the storekeeper was old, but he seemed to remember the names of the writers on his fingertips.

He was well versed with what they wrote, and the ones that were good.

Conversations with him were lucid, but strangely unusual. He spoke from the experience that came along with the company of books and words. An experience any reader would lust for!

Again, I felt like a child. I knew this is exactly how I felt when I stepped into a library for the first time ever. 

Don't you feel like an entirely different person altogether when you are in a bookstore? Or for that matter, a library?

And let us not forget those nostalgic second hand bookstores where you find books with dry leaves and roses, feathers, notes written by a mother to her son etc.

After buying a bunch of books and comics from the bookstore, my mother and I, we went home in glee. I believe we cannot buy this glee on Amazon or Flipkart.

The whole emotion of touching the books, reading their summary, and purchasing one right away with the anticipation of unleashing its mystery after you go home is absolutely lost each time you purchase a book online.

No, I am serious. I have got nothing against the online stores. I practically live on Amazon.

However, let us consider this scenario too. We go to a bookstore on a whim. (Yes, these days buying books from an online store or going to a library has mostly turned into a whim for 90% of us.) We walk from one shelf to another; we touch one book to another waiting to find that one book that would turn into our favourite for the next 5 years. 

We look for that one book that will end up being a major part of our memories.

In this process, we also reunite with books that have made our childhoods lovely. We do not go home with one book, but with three more books that the librarian or the storekeeper suggests us.

We fall in love with more writers and their words accidentally. 

We explore. We discover.


Come 2020, I am not sure if people will still visit libraries and bookstores. Utterly sad, I know. But I don't know. We are so dependent on the Internet. To top it all, rumours like "No bright future for libraries and print versions of books" because of tablets and ereaders is even depressing.

As a child, I still remember going to a library every evening with my mother. It was a ritual she never missed. And I made sure I was a part of it. Even today, my mother purchases books from the local stores instead of relying on the online stores. So does my father.  Taking the cue from them, I have firmly decided that I would purchase books from bookstores only. 

I am quite obstinate about it.

Let me tell you this. Libraries and bookstores are magical. You will never know what stories they hold high up their chest unless you visit them. Walk up to your closest bookstore or library, and fall in love with a world that will cast a spell on you forever.

We cannot let libraries and bookstores go extinct only because we refuse to visit them. 

As long as human race exists, stories and storytellers will thrive. While we are at it, we might as well give our next generation of individuals a fine experience of being in a library than learn about them on their iPad.


Sai Kishore on 18 Feb 2015, 07:34:00 said...

Well Said!

monica malik on 18 Feb 2015, 21:55:00 said...

You are so Right. It's a unexplainable feeling that one gets after stepping into a bookstore. Before we even realize it, hours pass and we tirelessly keep moving from one book to another.
i agree with you, the ebooks do spoil the pleasure of a real books (kindle, is it? that's in fashion).
I have always wanted a personal library at my home and i'm halfway with it. And most of my favorite books on the bookshelf are handpicked from different stores, where it takes about an hour (more) to fixate on which one to get...
I should shut up now before i end up boring you.:P
HAppy belated wishes for new year,,

Sunaina Patnaik on 19 Feb 2015, 00:19:00 said...

@Sai Kishore: Thank you.

Sunaina Patnaik on 19 Feb 2015, 00:20:00 said...

@Monica Malik: Hey, good to see your presence after a long time. No, you are not boring me.

Much thanks. Hope you have a great year ahead.


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