A few weeks ago, on a Monday afternoon, I received a text from AM:
“I just did a terrible thing and I need to admit it to someone. Are you willing to receive this information?”
The worst thing I could think of was that she hadn’t scheduled enough episodes of her beloved Jersey Shore: Family Vacation at work (she’s personally responsible for all of your reality show binges). In reality, it was much worse.
AM: “I just bought several books from Barnes & Noble because they were cheaper than at the independent store I was originally going to buy them from.”
I’m kidding. Kind of. My job in publishing puts me in regular contact with independent booksellers. They are some of the most dedicated, passionate, and hardworking people you will ever meet, and they do it all for the joy of putting the right book in the right hands at the right time. I try to buy most, if not all, of my books from independent bookstores. And I encourage others, especially the club, to do the same. And by encourage, I mean I judge them, harder than my high school English teacher who wrote “no shit” on our papers, when they go anywhere but an indie bookstore for their next read.
AM needed to atone for her sins. So we (AM, DR, MV, and E) gathered on a sticky Saturday afternoon to visit one of the tri-state area’s best independent bookstores: Little City Books. But first: we went for brunch. Obviously.
Over cocktails and chorizo omelettes, we covered a variety of topics that ladies who brunch normally discuss: why Dr. Pimple Popper’s YouTube videos are better than her TLC series; why cats are literally the worst (it’s been scientifically proven); and the horrors of wisdom teeth removal. We have stomachs made of Teflon.
It wasn’t all talk about the things middle school boys gush over in the cafeteria. We (eventually) made our way back to books. MV is plodding her way through Alias Grace, though she’s giving up if the murder doesn’t happen in the next 50 pages. And AM is making it her mission to read more books this year. She recently moved in with MM, and with it, her commute time was cut in half. What is one to do when the travel time you relied on for reading is now gone? No seriously, we’re asking. The call of Netflix can be too strong to resist at home (as I write this, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is beckoning me. The struggle. Is. Real.)
A short walk from the restaurant found us browsing the floor-to-ceiling shelves of Little City. The tiny storefront packs a punch, housing ample selections of literary fiction, essays collections, sci-fi, and thrillers. Not to mention a capital A-dorable children’s section, filled with classic picture books and the friendliest bunch of stuffed animals.
DR somehow managed to exit the store without a book (maybe the cats she babysat got to her; see link above). AM walked away with a copy of The Thorn Birds, a 1970s Australian family drama set in the outback (TBD on whether everyone’s friendly neighborhood Wolverine makes an appearance). MV purchased When Katie Met Cassidy, a charming rom-com that pairs well with bottomless mimosas, about two kick-ass female lawyers trying to figure out whether they belong together. And your narrator picked up a copy of Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Because when in doubt, always choose Austen.
So, has AM been absolved? I think she’s forgiven. TDB on Sylvie’s opinion, but she can be spiteful. The lesson here, dear reader: visit your independent bookstore. They value readers. And we will judge you if you don’t.