Meredith Schorr on why brick-and-mortar bookstores will always have a place in the hearts of book lovers.
I do not consider myself “old”, however, I don’t qualify as a “teeny bopper” either. Born in the 1970s, I actually remember a time when there was no internet. A time when “research” entailed more than just searching something on Google. Since Amazon did not exist when I was younger, I had to go to a physical store like Barnes & Noble or Walden Books to purchase new books. And although today I rely mostly on book bloggers and online book reviews for reading recommendations, since they did not exist back then, with the exception of the occasional word-of-mouth endorsement or magazine article praising a book, I would peruse the bookshelves for covers that appealed to me.
Despite my current reliance on social media to control my to-be-read pile (TBR), one of my favorite ways to spend a day still includes walking the aisles of a brick-and-mortar store and flipping through physical pages of books. I mourned the closing of my neighborhood Borders. I think most book geeks like me would agree that bookstores are to voracious readers what the Apple store is to computer geeks and sometimes it is just much more fun to shop “live” than online.
Kimberly Long, the main character of my novel, Blogger Girl, is a book blogger who runs an extremely popular book blog, Pastel is the New Black. Kim is no stranger to technology and reads most of her books on a Kindle, yet even she escapes to a physical bookstore after a bad day:
There was only one place I wanted to be. One place I needed to be. But since the neighborhood Barnes and Noble had sadly closed earlier that year, I walked south towards Union Square. I zipped my coat up to my neck and pulled my knit hat over my ears. When I finally arrived at The Strand, an independent bookstore, my hands and cheeks were numb from the cold but my heart was warm. I walked directly to the fiction section and began pulling books with pastel covers off the shelves. I quickly collected about ten books in my arms, sat in a corner and began reading the acknowledgement sections, where authors thanked the people who inspired and supported their writing journeys. I felt closer to the author when I recognized a name of an agent or promoter I knew from my blog. I grinned when I flipped to the back of “Heaven Can’t Wait” and read, “Thank you to blogger extraordinaire, Kimberly Long, for providing a pre-publication review with less than a week’s notice and for organizing what I hope will be the best blog tour ever.”
I knew the mention was there since the author had also sent me an autographed hard copy of the book after it came out, but I never tired of reading my name within the covers of a book. Even more than the professional expressions of gratitude, I loved to read what writers said about their families and loved ones. Shaking myself out of my stupor, I stood up and began returning the books to the shelves until there was only one left. Although I had almost twenty unread books on my Kindle, I was incapable of leaving a bookstore empty handed and made my way to the cash register.
Although I often feel disloyal to bookstores and ashamed to admit that the Kindle has taken over the physical book in terms of my favorite way to read these days, like Kim, I will never stop treasuring the space between the walls of a physical bookstore and all of the novels that line the shelves inside.
What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to ﬁnd out. A chick lit enthusiast since the ﬁrst time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, Pastel is the New Black, has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law ﬁrm. While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads – and pages – across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox – for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.
A born-and-bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After trying her hand writing children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real” chick lit for real women. When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Blogger Girl is her third novel.