Thursday, April 21, 2011

Borders Closing and A Silly Website

How Borders Used to Look
Yesterday I went to Borders.  The store is closing, so I hoped to find bargains--perhaps H. G. Adler's The Journey, Jean Plaidy's pop historical novels, and a nice copy of David Copperfield. Nothing.  I was so appalled by the stripped-down store that I bought nothing.

How Borders Looks Now.
It is NOT my Borders.  It looks like a warehouse now.  Glittery lights, no more Borders Original Voices, big 40% off signs everywhere, and the coffeehouse closed.  Borders is FINALLY selling books.  There was a line.

There are no more cozy chairs.  No more book groups.  The mystery book group met here for 20 years. No more backlist treasures in the literature and history sections.  No more annoying clerks for whom I now feel incredibly nostalgic.  

Borders was the store with personable personnel.  I'd sneak around the science fiction section, PRAYING I wouldn't have to have a conversation about Octavia Butler or Jo Walton, and somebody would materialize from the back. A very nice person, I might add, who knew a lot about SF, while I vaguely murmured about Teri Gross's interview with Butler on Fresh Air and asked about Jo Walton.  Or I'd pick up Elena Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment (a book I later read and blogged about here), and a clerk who hadn't read it, either, was pushed out of the wings by his or her boss, and we discussed the publisher, Europa.

Once I bought most of Shakespeare in paperback because I could no longer stand reading my huge Pelican Complete Works of.  I stuffed them in a backpack, a messenger bag, and bike panniers, and took off on my bike.  I looked like one of those people who bicycle around riffling through people's recycle bins to find pop bottles.

So, I wonder, glumly, what has happened to bookstores.  Borders was not my favorite store, just a heartless corporation, owned at one time (perhaps now?) by K-Mart, and the clerks' chatting didn't work for it.  My husband refused to shop there.  

The store has been below par for a few years now.

WRITERS & KITTIES.  This entire website is devoted to photos of writers and their cats!
Francoise Sagan

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