Since I don’t want to spend a ton of time online and instead want to spend my Saturday night reading and doing laundry (my how life changes as one gets older), I’m just going to show off my Bookstore Day haul…
My first stop was the wonderful Books Inc. in Alameda, where I met up with friends and went to the Rad American Women A-Z reading. It is an “alphabet” book of trailblazing American women from Angela Davis to Zora Neale Hurston, and a MUST HAVE for all young girls so they, too, can grow up to be role models. I must admit I got pretty emotional, especially after Kate Schatz, the author, had her mom read the letter “X.” I swear, I think I was a suffragette in a past life — every time I vote or hear about historical struggles of women, I cry.
But it was a GOOD cry, because the audience was filled with little girls who were enthusiastic and excited and who will be the future feminists of America. (Hopefully they will be paid the same amount as their male counterparts, and their bodies will be their own.) It was a beautiful sight to behold.
Continuing that theme, I picked up We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the print version of her TED Talk by the same name. I read it as soon as I got home, and it was just fantastic. Accessible and true, it really is a call to action for feminism, simply that women should be treated equally by everyone, and we should raise our children to be aware of that instead of perpetuating gender roles that can do potential damage to girls and boys alike. And that you can wear lipgloss and clothes you like and love men — or not — and still be a feminist. That’s what I love about this “new wave” of today’s feminism — it dispels earlier notions and makes so much damn sense.
After Books Inc. I headed to my local neighborhood bookstore, Walden Pond, in Oakland. I actually had a specific book I needed: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. Which is absurd — I have it in a box somewhere, and I was just at Flannery O’Connor’s house AND farm in Georgia, and I didn’t buy it. Because I thought I had it. And now we are reading it for a book club at work (which is going to be kind of weird), and I need it. I love Walden Pond anyway, but one thing I especially love about it is that they have an actual Flannery O’Connor PERMANENT DISPLAY. How great is THAT?
Alas, the ONE book they didn’t have was Wise Blood! But I could not leave empty handed — I had to replace my copy of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (I loved it in high school and have been wanting to reread it), and the latest by the brilliant Lorrie Moore, Bark.
And I can justify these purchases because I have 4 flights in the next 2 weeks, and it’s my favorite time to read. Yeah, okay, to be honest I do NOT need any more books — if I stacked up my “to read” pile it would be at least 6 feet tall, no joke — but what I do need is for independent bookstores to stick around, so I will help out in any way I can.
Besides, what I realized today is that the one place where I feel completely comfortable, other than my home, is in bookstores, Being surrounded by books is what makes me feel at ease and comfortable — I am VERY good at being surrounded by books. Bookstores are my temples — I have a lot of friends on those shelves, ones I know, and ones I have yet to meet. And more than anything I love sharing my favorite books with people. Today I got to recommend The Secret History, one of my all time favorites, to my friend Jessica. And I just love that so much.
See? Look how STOKED I am to be in a bookstore!
Alas, I didn’t find Wise Blood on Bookstore Day, which means I need to keep it going. (Maybe it’ll even come into my own little volunteer bookstore where I will be tomorrow morning.) And believe me, I don’t mind.
Thank you to everyone who shopped at independent bookstores today, and made it such a happy celebration! Okay, off to read and do laundry now…