Time Traveling with Bookshops

Are you traveling this summer? Do you love to visit new-to-you bookstores or old favorites?

“…A bell jingled overhead. The mild, spicy smell of old books hit him, and the smell was somehow like coming home.” ~ Stephen King, The Wastelands.

What is it about one-of-a-kind bookshops?

“I take a breath, indulging in that distinct book smell. There’s only one thing I love more than the smell of fresh-baked bread and that’s the smell of books. ~ Sarah Echavarre Smith, The Boy With the Bookstore.

A store can paint their entry door any shade of color they choose, can stack books, lean them on their sides, sit glass figurines in front of a cover, display books randomly, or to denote a curious whim. A cushioned armchair may be positioned by a sunny paned window, an iron bench with beaded pillows, enough space to plop down on the edge. To the side, a polished round table with a lamp and fringed shade, all where you can survey corners and niches with books.

Formerly Tortuga Books in Tubac, AZ

“I have gone to [this bookshop] for years, always finding the one book I wanted – and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted.” ~ Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Shelves with beautiful lettering and spines, a telling tale, of someone’s time and love. The entry to a bookstore is as close to the feel of a first winter’s snow that quiets the mind, the wood, and the air. Such a hush, you tingle with discovery.  

Jackie browsing inside Tortuga

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ~ George Carlin

Less and less, they exist. How I miss those, the old haunts of quaint freedom.

A trip to the former Singing Wind Bookshop outside of Benson, AZ

“Even an ice cream parlor – a definite advantage – does not alleviate the sorrow I feel for a town lacking a bookstore. ~Natalie Goldberg

How I miss our trips to search out bookstores, how I miss the ones no longer there.

All us gals in Steamboat Springs, CO

Our writers group adored exploring and delving into bookshops. Wherever we traveled together or stayed in town. One such trip to the Singing Wind bookshop and its history is written in Chapter One of our book, Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets. We captured much of our joy of writing and inspiration into this book. Like a one-of-a-kind bookstore, so was our writers’ group.

4 thoughts on “Time Traveling with Bookshops

  1. Ah Yes, Sally! Exploring bookshops has always been a delight for me. The only kind of shopping I truly enjoy. As you point out with quotes, both Sara and Stephen tell how the smell of books was a homecoming like fresh baked bread. We’ve done some wonderful exploring over the years. The bookstore I miss in our hometown is the Haunted Bookstore that was at Tohono Chul. It’s been gone over a decade, but I think often of the good times I spent roaming the shelves there. I remember the daytrip our writers’ group took years ago to locate all the independent bookshops in Tucson and buy something from each. Then finding many were closed permanently. A sad revelation and comment on our times. Everything consolidated into the Book Store of the World, Amazon. Well, and here we are selling our book through Amazon…but also, I must add, through Antigone and Mostly Books – two local independent stores. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. All true Diana, I had not forgotten The Haunted Bookshop. There were no good pictures I could find, and we were solo on our visits there, I think. Independent book shopping is still my fav. Thank you for your memories of our fun trips.

  3. Love your memories of the bookshop’s you have visited, like the picture of you in front of
    the Haunted Bookshop. Even here in Las Vegas, our book stores have disappeared. So sad.
    I just donated a bound volumne 1879 to a museum in New York, and was excited doing so.
    Luv Marilyn

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