jlsathre

jlsathre
Location
Illinois,
Birthday
July 30
Bio
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 1, 2012 10:11AM

Couples In a Bookstore

Rate: 25 Flag

They walk in together, every month or so, traveling from out of town, a thirty minute drive, always on a Saturday.

Date night, perhaps. Except that it's not night. And this isn't a couple that's getting to know each other. They don't ask about favorite movies or childhood nicknames, searching for common ground. They don't worry about filling silent spaces.

They're comfortable together, and enter with purpose. No one's dragging the other to a chick flick or an action thriller. No one stands around waiting. This is a shared destination. 

He heads left and she heads right, and they search quietly for a while. She's out of eyesight, but he's in my room, pulling books one by one from shelves and reading back covers. There doesn't seem to be a system. The books he pulls range from mystery to light romance to classic.

They meet in the middle room, each with a stack.

"Have we read this one?" he asks as he holds up a book.

Sometimes the answer comes quickly. Sometimes the book changes hands so the other can read the back, or the first page, or the ending to see if it's familiar. Sometimes there's a short disagreement, but never raised voices or judgment. 

Decisions are made jointly.

They bring their shared choices to my desk, enough to last a month or so. There are two Nicholas Sparks' in the pile. Picked by him, which is a slight surprise.

Although appropriate for date night, I suppose. The equivalent of going  to a chick flick without complaint. 

But then, I am making judgements. They don't.

"Have we read this one?" is all they need to know.  

 

 

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Comments

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Jeanne, this vignette is simple and elegant and so profound.

RRRRRRRRRR
Love this one. Book stores are a good way to spend time together - although I always end up buying way more books than I can handle. My pile of 'to-read' is getting higher by the day. :)
What an intriguing couple. I admire this utter symbiosis. Wow.
Reading together was always a pleasure with my boyfriend. He loved adventure books and I had a more eclectic bunch. I miss sitting toe to toe with him reading.
I never had a gal to read with. That sounds like heaven to me.
Two of my favorite things
in one activity: girls & reading!
I can see myself quoting something to her, or she to me.
I can see her putting her book down on her bosom
as she lays back in the green green grass, and shuts her eyes
for a little nap in the sun.

What a suggestive little piece!
I hope this replaces that OTHER bookstore post, that's been
on the most viewed for, like, ever, by that damn woman,
whattshername.
My wife and I used to spend long weekends at Pismo Beach. Lots of seafood and good wine, but the best part of our time together were the visits to used book stores.
charming and perhaps too rare r.
You have an eye, an ear and an economy of style too rare, I think, if 'economy of style' makes sense at all ; thank you.
The familiarity of old love. Nice. r.
V.--Thank you. You made my day.

Rachel--Come to the store, please. I love people who buy too much.

Alysa--Maybe it's the same as when people start looking alike--or like their dogs.

zanelle--...by an open fire and with wine, I hope.

James--You deserve a gal to read with. I hope you find her.

jmac--That sounds like a perfect weekend.

Jonathan--Thank you.

Kim--For someone who can generate hundreds of comments with a grammar correction, I, indeed, take this as a compliment.

bnz--It is, isn't it. (And nice to know where your name came from.)
Your store is an official Destination! It's a bit remarkable that they apparently have the same tastes in books.
Nice. I love to go to our book store with my husband. We also browse in different areas. I usually load up before we head south.
stim--I'm not sure they actually have the same taste. I think they just like to discuss. And, unfortunately, the store isn't a destination for enough.

Ande--I have several people here that do that to. Usually right after the holidays, which otherwise might be a really slow time.
My husband and I went to one of the remaining book stores just the other day. What I noticed was the very distinct lack of young people (for a better term). It was filled with Boomers...perhaps nostalgic for the days gone by.

Loved your observation.
Sounds like my idea of a fun date too : )
I am quite certain the trend will swing back with flocks of people of all ages back in the bookstores -- books aren't really replaceable in the long run. It will be 'vintage' and no one will be caught dead with e-readers, so passé! (If my 14 year old can love everything Mid-century modern, Rat Pack, or sleek Euro at the moment, then anything can happen...)
...or maybe I've been living in a book loving community a long time now and have a great imagination : )
You told this lovely story so well, easy to picture these two kindred spirits.
Sounds like my idea of a fun date too : )
I am quite certain the trend will swing back with flocks of people of all ages back in the bookstores -- books aren't really replaceable in the long run. It will be 'vintage' and no one will be caught dead with e-readers, so passé! (If my 14 year old can love everything Mid-century modern, Rat Pack, or sleek Euro at the moment, then anything can happen...)
...or maybe I've been living in a book loving community a long time now and have a great imagination : )
You told this lovely story so well, easy to picture these two kindred spirits.
...and...by the way.
Whaddaya' sayin' about the chatterboxes over at Mr. Gamble's?
(I think he's spiked the water over there... : ))
Oh, so sweet. Love it....would love to live it.
Ah, compatible readers. I hope not a dying breed!
I always feel better around books...and when I read your blog.
Buffy--Your observation was right. I'm in a university town and don't see near as many young people as you'd expect.

Just Thinking--I think books will still be around. I'm not sure about brick and mortar bookstores though. And I'm pretty sure Kim must have spiked the water--how else do you get such a fun party.

Maureen--Me too.

Matt--I think some will stick around. Reading off their e-readers maybe, but around.

Rob--What a nice thing to say. Thank you.
Joint decisions about books to read? What planet is your bookstore on? Can't be Mars or Venus.
and their washed car holds a gingham oil cloth, a jug of Livingston Rose' while 'Bookends' plays entirely toward home just before the wayside with rusted barbed wire--the prairie rife with purple thistles and milkweed--where two blonde children on a red blanket clad palomino ride the ridge near that windbreak of poplars. Crows guard the dented wire trash barrel like gloss feathered gargoyles with tireless wings
Very sweet, and nicely told. Sigh. Miss bookstores.
Also, I want to jump in JP's freshly washed car above and sip from the Rose (not so much but going with it) and wipe my lips with the gingham oilcloth, his too.
Con--There you go again, one of those easterners who think the midwest is another planet.

J.P.--...and when sunlight fades they climb under piles of quilts, handmade by the church ladies at quilting bees on Sunday evenings and presented as wedding gifts to the couple, young then--they pull the book from under the down pillow, filled by their own hands with feathers shed on the acres owned and handed down for generations--they alternate page by page, reading aloud...

Rita--Thank you. There aren't as many around these days.
Lovely piece! And thanks for not calling it "25 things couples do in bookstores"! ;-)
I've been waiting for a relationship like this all my life. Wonderfully told.
simple, quiet, full.
Judy--Thanks. I'm staying away from "25 things..." posts, although I must say it's occasionally tempting.

Sarah--Me too.

maria--I think you just described me after a good meal.
Well done. And so romantic.
I was once half of a couple who went to bookstores, only the other half didn't like to read.
And whilst we were at the bookstore of his choosing, he either kept looking at his watch or slurping Frappuccino lattes while he incessantly muttered, "Is it time to go yet?
"I want to go to the Apple Store," he said with his whiny pencil-tipped mouth.
"Can't you hold on a minute?" I answered as I rushed past the self help vagina section on 'How to Break up with Your Husband" and swerved right to the Civil War biographies.
Now that I am no longer with said husband, I enjoy long timeless hours even lingering in the juvenile novel section that I enjoyed it seems a hundred years ago.
Maybe one day, there will be signs on bookstores that says:
No Pets Allowed
No Outside Food or Drinks Allowed
and
No People who Hate to Read and Ruin the experience for Others Allowed
I love this. You told their slice of life story perfectly. "Have we read this?" ~r