I had the chance to pick up a new volume of poetry each weekend in September, except for the last, and each in a different store.
9/1/18. I picked up Hieu Minh Nguyen’s Not Here in the same bookstore where, several months earlier, I bought Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped. People pick places to visit, but places attract certain kinds of people. It comes as little surprise to me that, when shopping for books in my college town, I find myself drawn toward the bookstore located on the northernmost edge of campus, far from the hub of the university. I like it less for its solitude than for the fact that it takes me a few miles to reach from wherever I might be staying in town.
9/8/18. A week later, I stood in the basement of the bookstore downtown, with sam sax’s Bury It in my hand. Only recently had I come across sax’s work, but this store was one of the first places I came across as an undergrad. Two weeks before college began, I entered it for the first time with a friend passing through town on her way out west. It had been open for mere months; its shelves weren’t fully stocked, and we were the only pair on the main floor. It bustles now, on weekdays and weekends, and my friend is gone.
9/15/18. Once more I spent the weekend in a town I’ve not lived in for months. I began the day by having coffee with a former coworker on the outskirts of town, inside of a cafe close to where we first met and worked together several summers ago. Afterward, we walked a mile east to the nearest bookstore, where I found Eve Ewing’s Electric Arches. Part of the appeal of buying books like this, I guess, lies in its ability to structure the day and maintain connection. But, as I spend more weekends at home, I’ll likely begin to shop online.