After dinner yesterday, I browsed City Lights in North Beach with my friend Rae. We entered the store to look for In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung, a former colleague of mine and a current one of Rae’s. Although we didn’t find her book, we spent a good deal of time perusing the shelves, and I spoke at length about my recent reads and my new admiration for picture books. Today, I’ll be picking up Bernice’s book at Green Apple, another favorite bookstore in the city.
I adore books. I have a steadily growing library at home, which makes me think I’ll never move again because I don’t want to box and unbox them. But my relationship with books has changed since I became a librarian. I don’t buy books anymore, but if I do, they are usually gifts for loved ones, particularly the little loved ones. Or I buy only titles that I know I love, in fancy editions to line my bookshelves. At home, I organize my fiction books by authors’ last name, and nonfiction by topic. However, I don’t follow Dewey or Library of Congress classification. I’m not that anal.
I love browsing bookshelves. The infinite number of books available makes it extremely likely I’ll find something to pique my interest. At City Lights, I found a number of titles I’m already interested in, as well as new books to add to my to-read pile. I also found several kids books to buy for my niece’s and nephew’s upcoming birthdays. Today, I’ll have to refrain from browsing too much; or else I’ll end up buying more books for them.
Being surrounded by books achieves a unique serenity, whether at a bookstore or a library. So I find myself seeking out such places wherever I travel. It’s a nice break from the hustle-and-bustle of a vacation or work trip.