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Confessions of a Bookstore Lover

by Uzzie Cannon

December 7,2008

For the three years I have been back in Charlotte, I have complained without end to my friends about the lack of things to do here for a thirty-something person. What is there to do when one has visited every museum, eaten at practically every decent restaurant around, kept Blumenthal Theater up and running with her patronage, and attended more than her share of Panthers or Bobcats games? I have asked these questions often only to discover that they are a front for my excuse to visit the Borders Bookstore at the corner of Morrocroft and Sharon Roads. This bookstore has been a haven for me since I returned to Charlotte; beyond work, one would be hard pressed to find me anywhere else. I ditch the restaurant and club scene on Fridays and head to Borders for what I know will be a night well spent.

Every week, I anxiously await my email for my Borders Reward coupon just so I have a reason to venture off into my land of “hot” books. Who needs disco balls, techno music, or the latest dances when you can have a recently printed Borders coupon? The coupon usually grants twenty-five percent off, but sometimes I hit the jackpot with forty-percent off. Either way, I know that I am not coming home without a hardback or paperback friend.

Not many bookstores tantalize one with an array of sweet nothings on the sidewalk in front of the store. Here, I can find “cheap dates” for those quick reads on the beach when I don’t want to think deeply about what I read. Sometimes, I might even come upon a book that I can set up a friend with during the holidays. All I can say is, “If the party is this great on the outside, just imagine what’s happening on the inside?”

Upon entering the store, I immediately encounter my favorite cliques: New York Times Bestsellers, Literature, and African American Fiction. This type of access is instant gratification. As I walk cautiously up and down the aisle, careful not to miss a single title, all worries of the outside world melt away; I have reached Nirvana. I am not there alone because at any given moment, one of the book bouncers will come to my side to assure me complete and utter harmony. Thereafter, I usually saunter over to my secret love, African American and Cultural Studies, where I cobble squat for hours. When I feel open-minded, I might ascend the stairs to see the latest offerings in CDs and DVDs; however, why would anyone spend time with these trifles when there are so many books to behold?

Sometimes dancing between the aisles at Borders leaves me parched, so I make my way over to the café for Seattle’s Best in the flavor of white chocolate mocha or a simple cup of tea. The company I keep in this area usually feels as I feel, at peace. They peruse the newspaper in silence, thumb ravenously through books, or engage in delightful banter. I have even witnessed a couple engrossed with the bibliophilic pleasure of playing Scrabble: this is the life!

On one of my recent excursions to Borders, I happened to notice a monstrous building erected right across the street from my beloved. “Are you kidding me?,” was all I could yell when I saw the looming Barnes & Noble sign on the building. Why would anyone place a Barnes & Noble in such close proximity to Borders? Well, I’m not a two-timing bookstore lover, so I’m not quitting Borders. Besides, this is probably one of the best love affairs a woman can have. Everything that one could ever want or even imagine is in Borders Bookstore. This is why I have become a bookstore lover. However, it seems loving books up close and personal has become such a dirty thing now days with all the technological distractions of the Internet. Yet, when I long for something to do in Charlotte, I know I have a date with thousands of friends at the corner of Morrocroft and Sharon Roads in this little hotspot called Borders.

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