I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The shop is busy with readers shopping for themselves instead of trying to find the perfect book for someone else. Students are on vacation from school, and many adults have taken this week off to relax also. The atmosphere is one of quiet browsing. No rush; just let me look at every shelf in the shop. This is where the real book lovers want to spend their “me-time.” Just soaking it all in.
For some, this is the time of year to look back and assess the year gone by. I prefer to put my mind into the next year. For several years at this time I have wondered if the shop would survive for another year. But right now I am more optimistic than I have ever been. Our town is coming out of the doldrums. Two new venues, formerly empty storefronts, have been repurposed by volunteers, one as a pop-up arts center and one as a music center, featuring performances by local bands. Both have drawn young people to the town. These young people “hang out.” And one of the places they hang is the bookshop. My plan for early next year is to rearrange a bit, get some sofas, and give them more of a place to be comfortable.
There is nothing that gives me more hope for the future than seeing teenagers and young adults who love to read. Yes, there are more parents and little children coming in, more adults who have been reading all their lives returning to the bookshop after their flirtations with electronic books and on-line shopping. But what lifts my spirit is an incident from yesterday: three young women, home from college and engaging in lengthy browsing and discussion of books they liked. One said, “Let’s have a contest this break. Who can read the most books?” Who says no one reads anymore?
I hope all of you are looking forward to the new year as much as I am. Enjoy the rest of this one, celebrate, be safe. I wish you a Happy New Year full of wonderful books.