Love Your Bookshop Day by Anna Blackie
It’s a well-known fact among my friends and family that I’m impossible to shop with. It’s not because I spend hours picking up unnecessary and impractical things, although I’m certain that’s a contributing factor (there’s a reason I’ve banned myself from Bunnings…). No, it’s because no matter what shopping centre I’m in, what purpose I went there for, or how dire my financial situation, I’m drawn to a bookshop like a moth to a flame.
I’ll say things like: ‘I’ll only be in there a minute, I just want to look at the new releases,’ or ‘I just bought a whole stack of books that I haven’t read yet, I don’t need any more!’ Lies. Every word I utter as I cross the threshold into a bookshop is a total fib. The only certainties are that there’s no way I’m spending anything less than half an hour in that shop, and there’s a 99 per cent chance I’ll be leaving with at least two new books. One of the biggest upsides to working in the publishing industry is that I can claim all the books I buy as ‘market research’; the downside is that I’m at serious risk of being crushed to death by my unruly bookshelf (what a way to go!).
For me, books are, and always will be, a light at the end of the tunnel, the breath of fresh air in a stagnant room, a little glimmer of hope, a source of beauty and wonder in a world that can sometimes be extraordinarily hard to understand. Walking through rows upon rows of books and running my hands across their spines (in this post-Covid world, where many of our simplest joys have become complex, I satisfy myself with just eyeballing the books, and keeping my hands and germs to myself) is something that brings me inexplicable joy.
For someone who spends their life thinking about words, I find it hard to express how important they are to me, how books and words and the community they offer enrich my life. In a bookshop, I feel a sense of calm and connection. Books allow me to explore all the wonderful thoughts, feelings and moments in time that another human has worked tirelessly to share with the world. I believe bookshops offer up endless possibilities, a chance to find something beautiful that you’ll remember forever (or even to find something terrible to discuss with the people around you). Bookshops open conversation, they bring connection, and they showcase what I believe to be some of the most exciting and inspiring pieces of art we can find.
When it comes down to it, bookshops are a place of understanding; they open the door to unlimited and unimaginable worlds, shedding light on thoughts, fantasies and ideas beyond our wildest dreams. Reading is the thing I love the most and I see bookshops as the gateway to that. It feels strange to try to express how much something so simple can enrich your life, but sometimes we just have to take joy in the simple things and all they have to offer.