So, I went to the Barnes and Noble in Erie…

…and they had this:

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That’s right, an escalator. A book store with two floors!!!

My wife and I went shopping here with one of her old friends in Erie, PA yesterday.

And I’m still here. Could somebody please come pick me up in a week or so?

Just kidding. Actually, my wife took me away much too soon. She either ruined my day or saved my sanity; I’m not totally sure which.

Naturally, upon entering I was both ecstatic and completely overwhelmed. I bounced around the store for a couple of hours, nearly distraught with such a daunting number of books to look at. I finally went to the bathroom and got hold of my bearings.

I don’t know if it’s some sort of obsessive disorder, or if it’s–just maybe–a real addiction to buying books, but I feel an overbearing urge to look at every book in a bookstore when I go in–or at least every novel. I don’t know why. But I knew if I was going to do this, I had to get systematic about it.

I started in the back-left corner of the lower floor, which was almost all fiction, and started scanning the stacks, shelf by shelf, slowing down when I noticed a cover that stood out to me or when I came to any of my favorite authors, even though I was pretty sure I already knew which books I have or haven’t read, and I knew I didn’t have any book money (isn’t it the most depressing thing to walk into a book store and remember you have no money?).

I only got through about a quarter of the books that way until Emily tracked me down and told me she and her friend were ready to leave and were waiting for me. She didn’t have to literally drag me out, but I made a good pout about it.

I did find some new books to put on my list, though. Dystopian is one of my favorite genres, yet somehow I was unaware of Aldous Huxley’s Island. Also, in the first couple of manic hours in which I was running aimlessly from one shelf to another, I came across How to Play SCRABBLE Like a Champion, by World Scrabble Champion Joel Wapnick (of whom I’ve never heard before seeing this book). I’m sure if I only read this book I would finally be unstoppable against my dad and grandparents and maybe even beat my uncle regularly on Words with Friends. Of course I was reminded again that I’ve been meaning to buy and read some more Hemingway.

Besides those books and the silly grin I wore on that delicious, slow ride down the escalator, most of my memories of the book store are a blur. Maybe book stores shouldn’t be that big. (In retrospect, though there were two floors, I think I’ve been to book stores with single floors that covered just as much area.)

Whenever I enter a book store, I also feel a bit of anxiety unrelated to my book-finding obsession: I wonder if I’ll ever find my name on the back of one of those volumes for sale at a big chain bookseller. I will be self-publishing my first novel on Amazon, I’m hoping by the coming June, and most independent authors can’t really expect a big bookstore to stock their CreateSpace books. But maybe one day I’ll gain enough traction to get picked up by a big publisher. And hey, maybe I’ll even be successful enough using only online retailers that I won’t even care–I remember reading a blog post by Hugh Howey saying that letting Simon & Schuster do a unique print run of Wool was an interesting experiment, but not something he’d probably do again (I couldn’t find the original post, so I can’t be certain I’m quoting him right, but I think that was the gist of things then–and not sure if he’s changed his mind).

If you’re interested in learning more about my upcoming novel, I’ll be posting some more info on here as I go, but the real inside scoop will go to my email list subscribers, so sign up for my newsletter! Besides getting the most insider info on my book, my email list friends also will be the first to know about free downloads that I’ll giving out. If you are already on my list and you think you know someone who may be interested, let them know I’d love them to join with us!

Long story short, book stores kind of turn me into a manic-depressive. Anybody else?

 

**UPDATE 5/31/16 — My lovely sister bought me both the SCRABBLE book and Island for Christmas. I regret to inform you that Island did not live up to my expectations. It isn’t like Brave New World at all. It’s not a riveting dystopian novel at all. It’s really his philosophy of how a utopian society could or should work, set in what I would loosely call novel form, but there’s not a compelling plot or interesting characterization. It’s just philosophy upon philosophy upon philosophy, founded on drugs and sex and free love or something. Very disappointing to me. Others have loved this book. Not me. Just so you know. And on the SCRABBLE front–great strategy, if I were smart enough to implement it! But really, I have learned from that. I would recommend the book, but only if you are a hardcore, serious SCRABBLE player. So just try and bring your game. I’m ready.

 

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2 thoughts on “So, I went to the Barnes and Noble in Erie…

  1. If you ever make it to Portland, Or, you have to go to Powells City of Books. It takes up an entire city block and Im not even sure how many floors it has (i know i went up at least two flights of stairs and we didnt even explore the whole store).

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