Reasonable Words: In Praise of Bookstores

Back from a quick trip to Belgium and Holland, and heartened by seeing bookstores in cities large in small (three even in tiny Bruges’ quaint old town).

Here’s a photo of one I saw in Amsterdam.

bookstore_Amsterdam_sized DC and Boston have lost a lot of bookstores over the last 10 years: Borders and Waterstone’s are gone, but so are local favorites like Wordsworth’s in Harvard Square, or Trover Shop on Capitol Hill, which had a fascinating combo of politics and experimental fiction.

A few kind words about this endangered species:

“I had a friend once who looked at his library and discovered that even if he completely stopped filmmaking (he was a filmmaker too) and just decided to read the books he had in his library, it would take him until he was 100 years old. He was little bit panicked. But he was courageous. He went out of his house. He went to the bookstore. And he bought ten books.”
― Alain Resnais

Hugo headed off toward the door to leave, but the bookstore was warm and quiet, and the teetering piles of books fascinated him.”
― Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”
― Helene Hanff, Q’s Legacy

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.”
– Jerry Seinfeld

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