Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Independent Bookstores: City Lights

The kindle has changed my book buying experience irrevocably.  

Gone are the days when I would wander through the shelves of the "big book store", and you know who you are. In fact, since I started using my kindle, I'm ashamed to say I haven't even walked inside a library.  

There are too many free books to be had for this e-reader to use what little time I do have in the pursuit of what may or may not be a decent book.

All this changed two weeks ago in San Francisco.

I went inside the veritably hallowed ground of City Lights Bookstore for the first time in years and remembered something about what a book store is and why I should take myself into them.

 For the young or the underexposed, City Lights began as a periodical and became a book store when poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin joined together to publish small works, by little known and at the time very unpopular authors, unpopular with the police in particular.

Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac are two of the most commonly known of the group, but their attitude defined and inspired a generation of young people who were tired ( beat , thus beatnik ) with the status quo. 

I do not, in any way miss the "big book store", but I truly do miss places like City Lights.  

It even motivated me to buy an actual bound three dimensional paper book and in the future I'll be talking about more of them, the books and the places that love them as much as we do.  


  1. I just love the environment of a bookstore. I go to bookstores to be with books, and with people who love books. I'm jealous that you got to visit the famous City Lights!

  2. Biblio,
    It's renewed my affection for all things tangible, at least in book form. It's inescapably true that it's more satisfying to to hold a book in your hand, run your fingers along the spine, or spy on other bookies to see what excites them enough to pick up a book and take a taste or two.
    And City lights isn't much to look at in the sense of flash, but it's worth the trip to the city even if that's all you do. I felt smarter standing there on that wooden floor.

  3. Great post I do buy books on my iPad Nook app but if its a book that I really loved I have been known to buy it from the bookstore. I wish we had a cool non mega bookstore in my area but they have chased all of the independents away.

  4. Jennifer,
    That's a shame about the small bookshops. I wonder if it's time for them to begin making a comeback. Everyone I know likes "the big book store", but I don't think they know what they're missing.

  5. Very cool...I am imagining it smells papery and woody and dusty (in a good way)...what a great way to spend an afternoon!

  6. it did.. and there was a little aroma of..uh.. shall we say a person or two with adventurous living arrangements

  7. I haven't been in an independent bookstore in years-- I'm not even sure where to look for one!

    Can't wait for more in this series!


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