Good Books

The bookstore is empty. I drink my Pepsi and pretend to work at the computer, the shelves full of unread books. What I really do is browse Pinterest. I might see one customer the rest of the day, maybe two.

You know what makes me mad? People don’t read anymore. They don’t pick out a volume, caress the cover, smell the pages, and lose themselves in words. And if they do, they read fluff and garbage, books everyone’s reading because everyone’s reading them, books with words vomited out to be licked up by thoughtless readers.

I finish my Pepsi. I’m really going to need two today.

My kids play in the back room. They’re talking to each other, my son explaining something impatiently to his sister. I listen in, smiling.

I’m on Facebook now, just because. One of my friends is pregnant again. Crap. I was trying not to think about that. It’ll make me cry. (Stupid world.) I click back to Pinterest.

On Twitter, someone shares a story about how ebooks are going to rule the world. Every day, someone tells me how my bookstore’s a lost cause. Yes, every day, even though I barely have enough customers to justify a door.

No one wants to pay for a book. No one wants to wait. Not when you can download them instantly and cheap (free, even).

Well, you pay what you think a thing is worth, that’s what I say. And no one really gets it, of course.

The news on Yahoo is of fires and abductions and bizarre deaths.

Here’s the thing with a good book, the part you don’t get if you read crap—even the sad parts are beautiful in a good book, even the ugly parts and the boring parts. In the hands of a real writer, everything is beautiful.

My kids are singing something now. It’s a song from school; in preschool, they sing about Jesus. Just last week, my son was saying someone needed to tell all the kids at the public school across the street about Jesus. “Jesus loves me, this I know…”

In the hands of a good author, everything is beautiful.

I need a good book like a flower needs sun and rain, and if no one else understands, fine. Let them shrivel up and die. I won’t. Inside, I’ll blaze. Just give me a good book and I’ll be fine.

Well, a good book and a Pepsi.

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