I love a bookstore any day or any time.
It can be a lush and fancy upscale store
in Beverly Hills where you can order
coffee, tea or muffins and sit and sip
while you look through your books
or an out of the way dusty
cubbyhole bookstore in West Los Angeles
—new or used, I don’t mind.
Let me visit a town in Oregon
Or San Diego or Cincinnati
I’ll find a bookstore (usually in the yellow pages)
and once inside, I aim first
for the cookbook section.
Once my arms are laden with books
I ask someone at the desk
to hold them for me.
They always say yes; then
I check biographies and fiction,
then the bargain books and reduced prices;
you never know what might turn up in remainders.
have been to bookstores
everywhere I’ve traveled;
it’s the first place I want to visit.
No used bookstores?
I look up the Barnes & Noble, Border’s,
Dutton’s, anything anywhere.
I’m not particular.
The biggest problem I have
encountered over the years has been
getting them home.
Packing the books into duffle bags or
shipping them back to California.
I lost a box of books this way last year
Enroute from Ohio to California, my books were lost in Bell, California.
Somewhere, I know, someone has my box of cookbooks.
Next time I’ll carry them on the airplane with me.
Sandra Lee Smith, April 2008
*The next time I visited Ohio Book Store in Cincinnati and told them my plight of the lost books, they said “Oh, we can ship your books home to you!” and ever since, that’s how my new purchases have made it back to California. My most recent trip to Cincy was April, 2018 for a class reunion—which included a trip to Ohio Book Store!
Sandra Lee Smith updated 5-14-18
*Another post script – of all the bookstores referenced in the poem, only Barnes & Noble and Ohio Book Store are still in business. The upside (or downside?) is that internet sites like Amazon.com and Alibris.com carry tons of titles–Books are STILL available.