I’m so happy that spring is officially here. Now, I’m waiting for the thermometer to get with the program. Snowdrops are peeking their heads up, and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing a rogue daffodil along the side of the road. But while March is going out like a lamb, I’m not looking forward to April showers – even if they do bring May flowers. (Do you know what May flowers bring? Pilgrims. You can thank my nine-year-old son for that joke.)
There are very few places that can bring me out of a funk, but one of them is a book store or a library. There’s just something about shelves and shelves of books that soothes my soul. I could get lost in the stacks for hours letting serendipity decide what I should look at next. That was how I discovered I have a deep love for cookbooks, even though I hate cooking. I could stare at pictures from the Civil War for hours and be transported back in time. I also like crawling on my hands and knees to check out the bottom shelves because you never know what hidden gem you’ll find there. My local library was also where I found out that non-fiction books aren’t all boring and dry. I’ve found new craft projects to try and have laughed along with a comedian’s biography. I have a couple of favorite book stores, some independent and one large chain. The independents have reading nooks. One has overstuffed chairs and a café. Another has a little bench and shelves just at children’s height.
My absolute favorite bookstore in Connecticut is the Book Barn in Niantic, CT http://www.bookbarnniantic.com/. It is on a large piece of property with many little houses and sheds. Each house/shed is devoted to a different genre. While you’re in the romance section, don’t be surprised if a cat crosses your path. The book barn is home to many tame cats, and the last time I was there some penned in goats and chickens as well. My favorite sign was the Beware of Dog one when I opened up the door to the main building. There, sprawled across the floor was an elderly, fluffy Labrador mix. I looked up at the clerk in puzzlement, “Is he friendly?” Because he really looked like he couldn’t care less. “Oh yes,” she said. “Watch out you don’t trip over him.”
More local to me is Barnes & Noble. I have always liked them, but I’m thrilled that they’re keeping merchandise fresh by offering toys and gifts. As much as I like the Dr. Who memorabilia and the Magic Cards, I’m drawn to their office supplies. Unlike Staples – which I love to be set loose in as well, Barnes & Noble has a more comfortable and inviting feel to their stationary section. I’m a sucker for journals and stationary, even though I have more than enough of both to last me several years. My fingers itch for a new journal when I’m feeling low. I always want to buy one and go into the Starbucks café and order something decadent and caffeinated and spend the rest of the day filling up my pretty new book with stories.