Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hugging Strangers.

We've all heard about declining book sales. The closing of so many Borders Stores. The bankruptcy claims.   But I'm here to report something a little more uplifting.  I was in Barnes and Noble at the mall, and surprisingly, the place was packed. Like stand in line kind of packed. There was no sale, no giveaway, no author meet and greet. Nothing.

This is different I thought. It's not Christmas. Nobody buys books for Easter, and Valentines Day is so over. So what's going on? I meander through the aisles, watching what everybody's picking up, taking in facial expressions, reactions to certain books. It's what I do for fun. Sue me, but I enjoy pretending to be a stalker. Makes me feel reckless.

Inevitably, I make my way into the young adult section. And that's when I spot her. A young girl with a handful of books is running her fingers over a copy of Unearthly. Did I mention she had her arms filled with books? She was struggling with selections, I could tell. There were just too many great choices and I knew in my heart I'd seen that look before. The look that says you have a mental wish list of books and you're just picking them off as you go along, but you're not sure if you want to break the order of the list. I held back, but there was a huge part of me that wanted to make suggestions and thank her for coming in. But I remembered that I don't work at Barnes and Noble. On the other hand, I'm an aspiring author who supports other authors so I must support the bookstore too. And there's nothing wrong with dropping Across the Universe by Beth Revis into a young girls hands is there? I'm a volunteer. It's my duty.  I'm okay with that.

I wanted to hug her. She bought about six books. That's awesome! Hello, we're making a comeback. I can feel it. But that would have been awkward. I could hear her now, explaining to the mall cop how some older lady just outright hugged her. I did not want to end up on somebody's creep wall. Who needs that on their resume. So I refrained from hugging and simply smiled at her. But inside I was beaming. She was keeping the dream alive and had no idea.

So how do you feel when you see someone buying books at your local bookstore? Should we hug, not hug?


  1. Oh, I'm a random hugger. Just be careful when I'm around. It's not pretty.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I was at Borders for my speaking engagement, and it was unreal in there.

    I hope someone stays open for those of us who want to hold a book in their hands!

    Oh, and a book singing too!

  3. I was in Chapters (big book chain in Canada) and noticed the same busyness there as well. I think, in hard times like this, people are finding comfort in books.

  4. I have to confess that I'm a huge fan of e-books...but I'm in favor of reading in any format!

  5. The B&N near my house is also an entrance to the mall, so I always get excited when I see another teenager actually looking around the store, instead of just passing through. I'm definitely a random hugger and I always recommend books. :)

  6. Love seeing people buying books at the bookstore! I probably won't hug, but I won't hide my smile, either.

  7. That is so awesome! And even tho it may've been a little weird to hug her, your enthusiasm would intrigue her for days.
    I think peeps don't really wanna let go of book stores. THere is something so comfortable and wonderful about them.... even if we all have eReaders--there should be some kind of eReader coffee shop where we can peruse the cover art or something.
    BTW I got my package and love, love, love it! You made my day a little brighter. Thank you! :)
    And I told Hubby, you have the most creative and dazzling way of describing a toilet. lol! A true artist, indeed.

  8. Hug hug hug away! I love books, in whatever form!


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