Sure sex is cool but have you ever run your fingers along the spines of a book? Allowing the nerves in your fingertips to become tickled awake? Caressing the smooth curves of a hardcover, palpating every inch of the surface, anticipating what lies beneath as you fumble to take a peek inside?
Gently flipping it over or opening it up and with all of your senses, sucking and holding in your breath in anticipation? With your eyes, scanning the words that tease you, leaving you breathless, aching for more.
That’s where the real magic happens. Between the sheets (of pages) and underneath the covers.
Walking into a bookstore or a library for a bibliophile is like an oasis of perfection and peace in the hectic and oft-frustrating buzz of the outside world. It is the likely definition of heaven.
Sure you can buy books online and even get them effortlessly delivered directly to an electronic device to feed your instant gratification. You don’t even need to leave your home and can shop in your pjs sipping on your coffee and petting your cat (ok, that is a definite perk I admit, but if you don’t have a cat you have no excuse).
But the bookstore or library? It’s my pleasure spot. It’s a gateway to ecstasy and enchantment. A passport to new worlds.
I concede that even if you were to shop online, you still end up at the same destination – within the grasp of the book, turned on with the drive to know what happens next, overcome with the need to keep going, and the want to devour it all and come back for seconds. But physically navigating through the mazes of stacks and shelves full of treasures feels like an adventure hunt. The allure of discovering a hidden gem or buried secret ti too great to ignore. The smell of the pages and print is intoxicating. A surreal experience encapsulates you, giving with ease, an environment to dream big and expect magic and wonder.
The sheer presence of so many masterpieces, literary giants, historical titans and events that shaped our world and the sheer supply of information in one place demands you treat it with a certain amount of reverence, as a place of honor and respect. You are forced to give your undivided attention to the titles and the authors.
There is, of course, the human connection as well.
At my local bookstore, the employees know me by name and greet me like Norm from “Cheers”. They know what I have ordered and when to expect it without even looking it up in their files. Friendly and engaging, I am always greeted with a smile and a welcoming nod.
The displays and outward facing selections are curated by someone that has gingerly cherrypicked each title and theme. Choosing with love from a vast collection the sublime exhibit to tantalize my senses and prick my curiosity and desire. It wasn’t contrived by some algorithm or artificial implications.
I want to connect and be around these like-minded people, that through the wink or sly smile, we know the secrets held in the walls. It is something of a tragedy to me that others miss out on this experience, that they might be deprived of the fervor and euphoria that can only come from the physical touch behind the doors.