Memoirs of a Borders (Books)

Several weeks ago, my favorite bookseller in the entire world closed.

Borders Books was my sanctuary, my home away from home. I spent many weekend mornings there, camped out in the cafe with my laptop, iPod, a stack of magazines and the current book I was reading.

It was where I went after a long day at work to fondle the new arrivals and graze the African-American fiction section.

It also helped me to mull over writing and ideas at times when I needed peace but desired to have the comfort of people around.

The people-watching factor was another advantage, seeing folks of all ages share the same love for books (or free reading) like I did.

Not to mention the pastries and frozen drinks were delish.

Even though the demise of Borders had long been predicted, the closing of its doors still hurt. The only big-chain book franchises left here are Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million (which, by the way, I’m surprised outlasted Borders). Of the two, I don’t have a definite favorite. Both are no Borders Books, and there several reasons why:

Barnes & Noble (BN) and Books-A-Million (BAM) are on other side of town ? The Borders I visited was only 5 minutes from my job and 5 minutes from my house. Being Housed in an oh-so-convenient location was the best. It was so easy to swing in, do some browsing, and know I would be home like that *snaps fingers* with my new book. The “other” stores are much further away, and popping in after work is no longer a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am experience for me. So my weekend sessions have been few and far in between.

BN doesn’t have a dedicated African-American section ? Though racial segregation ended about 50 years ago, I’d prefer my books to live in the past and be separate but equal. Having a dedicated African-American section makes things easier to find and easier to riffle through, in that I can see E. Lynn Harris hanging out with Zora Neale Hurston without worrying about Ernest Hemingway getting in between. Also, by not having a dedicated Af-Am section, it also camouflages the fact that our titles aren’t plentiful in these stores.

BN and BAM don’t have the same ambience ? I’ve had my laptop in both places. Neither felt like Borders. I mean, BN comes close, with its free wi-fi and addictive Starbucks cocktails, but there are no windows in the cafe. Borders had these big picture windows at the back of the cafe that people coveted for the view (and also because of the precious electrical outlets). I can’t gaze at the sky like I did at Borders, a lovely inspiration and distraction to my writing. And BAM, *sigh*, doesn’t have free wi-fi unless you’re a member of its pricey discount membership club.

Neither stores sell Curve magazine ? Where they do that at? Apparently at BN and BAM. Not selling the ever-popular lesbian magazine Curve hurts my heart. Last time I checked, I didn’t spy too many gay and lesbian mags around, which I love to peruse at my leisure. I need BN and BAM to get it together.

Speaking of ?family? reads, BN and BAM’s gay/lesbian section sucks ? Though both have dedicated sections, neither of them have the greatest selections. Mostly it’s old stuff, and things I’m not interested in reading. Borders gay/lesbian section wasn’t extremely big, but it had better titles that I didn’t look like they had been sitting there since the store first opened its doors, pages all yellowed and dusty.

So, with all that being said, I need to find a book home. The only other option is I’ve found is the public library, which does have picture windows and free wi-fi, but the rambunctious kids checking constantly their facebook pages ruin the mood. I’ll visit BN again, which really does try, bless its Starbucks heart.

Anybody got gas money?

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