Oh, beautiful City of Books, big, full building that is not oppressive but inviting, not dusty but light filled, not faded but brightly colored, not intimidating but warm. The Pearl Room, the surprising staircases, the tall poetry shelves, the ladders. The little YA nook, the rows of cashiers, the amazing remainders, the find after find. You're like the big, old house a kid loses herself inside and never, somehow, gets tired or bored. You're like that big, old house but for adults too. You have a cute cousin on Hawthorne, much littler but with the same good genes.
I was at Whole Foods last year with a Powell's bag for my produce and the checker said something about how you were closing. "What?!" I said, horrified. I drove home in a state. I'm so relieved that she was completely unreliable. Forty-one is great — here's hoping for at least 41 more.
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Aimee Bender is the author of two novels, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and An Invisible Sign of My Own, and the collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and Willful Creatures. She has received two Pushcart prizes and was nominated for the Tiptree Award in 2005.
Books mentioned in this post