Yep, the January post lied. Sorry about that! The “week” until the next post was more of a goal than a reality. February is all but gone, my trip to Ithaca was canceled, and if I believe everything I read then bookstores are on their way out as well.
In the span of a few days I read about the bankruptcy of Borders as well as the closing of Buffalo Street Books. The Borders of my childhood closed the other month, and the New York Times even featured that specific location in their article. Check it out: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/business/media/17borders.html . It’s like the graphic novel I did back in ’08, only a news article. Even though it was a large chain, the Borders on 14 and Orchard was where I first discovered Harry Potter, where my sixth grade class went on a field trip, etc. That Borders had been sad for years, so it was no surprise to see it go.
I was more astounded to read that Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, New York is closing. That was Ithaca’s only independent new bookstore. This weekend I had hoped to say goodbye to Buffalo Street Books, but alas, Delta airlines would not let it be so. I hope all of my friends still in Ithaca (I miss you guys!) take the time out of their busy schedule to check out Buffalo Street Books before it closes.
For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to post on my great love of bookstores and especially independent bookstores. Unfortunately, I had a paper due midnight on Valentine’s day so… um, yeah. Better late than never I guess.
Growing up, my favorite bookstore was Halfway Down the Stairs. A trip to Halfway Down the Stairs was one of my favorite outings, and usually involved pizza. The store and I were the same age, so I had been shopping there from very early on in my life. A highlight of my middle school existence was to get reading recommendations from the store’s owner. The days following those recommendations were generally lost to anything that wasn’t reading. The amount of frequent buyer cards my family went through was probably immense. My mom would also take me to events at the store, ranging from a Laura Ingalls Wilder themed event to meeting such award-winning illustrators such as Ed Young.
The very last Halfway Down the Stairs event my mom took me to was their grand closing party in January of 2008, celebrating the retirement of the store along with the store’s owner. I could tell that everyone at that event loved that store just as much as I had. Longtime customers were buying books as if they were buying a brick of the building, a keepsake, one last hand-picked read from a wonderful place. One of my most embarrassing memories is when my mom and I accidentally won the door to Gringott’s bank. Ask me about it sometime.
Anyway, even if I can’t be in Ithaca this week, at least I get to spend my spring break at my favorite bookstore, Kaleidoscope Books. And to anyone reading this blog, please feel free to leave a comment about any memories you have from independent or even chain bookstores. I’d like to read them.