Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Behaviors I Simply Can't Control

“It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.”
― Gabor Maté

I am sitting in Nirvana.  Mecca.  I have found the Holy Grail.  I am living the Ultimate Dream.  I am surrounded by riches untold.  Imagine, for an instant, your Personal Happy Place.  Close your eyes and just be there for a moment.  What does it smell like?  What sounds come to mind?  Doesn't it feel so good to go there for only a second just in your mind?  I am THERE.  Right now. 

My Happy Place is a bookstore.  I know that some edgier, far more earth-aware and community-friendly people prefer the independent bookstores run by bespectacled women in Birkenstocks who smell ever so slightly of earth and flowers.  But I am talking about the BIG BOX CHAIN of Barnes & Noble.  You hipsters will be thrilled to know that the origins of B&N were not unlike those corner book shops you favor currently.  It was started in the 1960's by the company's current chairman, Leonard Riggio.  He was an employee at the New York University bookstore while he attended school and decided he totally had the bookselling number.  He opened up a store in Greenwich Village with a small investment and a fairly plain name (his gift did not lie in naming): The Student Book Exchange (SBX).  He was pretty good at it.  By the 1970's he had six more stores.  He was really good at all of that, too, and managed to acquire a flagship bookstore on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue with the name of, you guessed it, Barnes & Noble.  Today, Barnes & Noble has morphed into the bookstore and internet sales mecca you know and love.  It's a Fortune 500 company with almost 700 stores nationwide not to mention one of the biggest e-commerce sites on the 'net.  And it's MY Happy Place.

All of that, believe it or not, is an aside.  I have a tendency to get curious about things and look them up immediately.  Since this is my blog, I get to share all of the information (or at least tasty tidbits) I learn.  My children are accustomed to this and are never surprised when, in the middle of an evening dinner discussion, I leap up and say "We HAVE to learn more about this!" and the Google-fest begins.

So, I walked into the B&N tonight with a smile on my face and my ever-present Nook tucked into my purse.  One of my FAVORITE things about the Nook (over the Kindle competitor) is that I get to go into any B&N store any time I want and read books...for free.  With Starbucks.  (Did I mention the word "nirvana?")  At the sight of ALL THESE books, though, my eyes glaze over and I begin to actually moan in my mind (although, admittedly, I think I moan out loud sometimes during these bookstore adventures).  "Oooh, I want to read THAT!"  "Oh, I had no IDEA he had a new book out.  Where have I been?"  "THAT looks interesting."

The displays beckon an addict like me:  New in Paperback!  New Arrivals!  For Grads!  Noteworthy Selections!  Must Reads!  Classic Favorites!  Everywhere I look there is something new to see.  I do have to admit feeling a little smug, though, when I stopped at the Noteworthy Selections display and realized that I had read about 75% of their choice tidbits.

As much as I love (love, adore...I mean, REALLY LOVE) my Nook, I do admit that I miss actual books sometimes.  The Nook satisfies my need for instant gratification (I can have ANY BOOK I WANT RIGHT NOW!) and the light and adjustable font size really have done wonders during my marathon reading sessions (I can read HOURS longer without tiring on the Nook which is great for my eyes and TERRIBLE for dealing with my cluttered house).  But books!  Oh, I just spent a good 20 minutes wandering around stroking (LITERALLY STROKING) book covers and even opening a book wide to stuff my nose into the middle of it (sorry to whoever buys that copy of Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed...I couldn't HELP IT).  I will STILL stop by the Bargain Books section on my way out because I simply cannot resist a hardback with a price tag of under $7.

I am in my Happy Place.  And I have Starbucks.  And I can read a little taste of And the Mountains Echoed while I'm here.

Addictive behaviors CAN be fun...

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  1. I love going to a bookstore and always have. My dad took me many times as a child and I was happy to stay as long as possible. When my sisters went, they were finished looking so quickly that eventually he would just take me. And he always let me a buy a book. Now he sends me books from my Amazon wish list. Occasionally we find time to go to a bookstore together, like last summer during our beach trip.
    I say all of that just to ramble. No time for my own blog so I just jump into yours. :)

    1. Please feel free to jump into my blog any time! I love other people's stories...