Every November the school my sons attend have a “book fair” at Barnes and Noble. They entice us out by having our kids perform their Veteran’s Day songs in the store and then encourage all to get some early Christmas shopping done. A portion of the proceeds go to the school. It’s an excellent fundraiser and very fun! The boys love it!
Yesterday was Barnes and Noble Day. The kids did their performance and then grabbed us by the hand and proceeded to drag us through the store to make a wish list. They always get to pick one book to be purchased that day.
“Come on Mom,” Bug urged as he pulled me. “I’ve got to get to the Mo Willem section!”
Bug started to slow however, because right in the middle of the store were the Nooks.
“Oh Mom! Can I get a Nook this year?”
“Can I just look at them?”
“No. We are here to shop for books. A Nook is not a book.”
“You can put books on them,” he reasoned.
I grabbed a book off a shelf and opened it to the middle. “Stick your nose in there and breathe deep,” I told him. Bug did.
“Doesn’t that smell wonderful? I love the smell of books! You can’t do that with a Nook.”
“Kind of,” I admitted.
“You know what you can do on a Nook, Mom? Play games!”
“You have enough mechanisms by which to play games. You don’t need another one.”
“But I could read in the dark without hurting my eyes.”
“Here then,” I grabbed one of those lights you clip to a book. “Problem solved.”
“Mom! I just want one.”
“I know Bug. Consider this though: Look around at this store. What does it sell?” And then quickly I added, “Besides Nooks.”
“Books…” he said gloomily.
“Now imagine if everyone owned a Nook or a Kindle. What would happen to this store? Literature is a form of art and yes, the Nook can be a vessel for that art but the book itself…”
I grabbed a book from a display table of ornate special edition classics. It happened to be a collection of Jane Austen books.
“The book itself is not just a work of art but an experience! I love to choose a book and to find a cozy and quiet place to sit and read.”
“You can do that with a Nook,” Bug argued.
“True…” I grabbed The Star Wars Trilogy from the special editions table. It was beautifully designed in Blue, Black and Silver. Darth Vader was on the cover. “…but it’s also great when you have your book but no cozy spot and you run your hand over the beautiful cover in anticipation. Once you find your quiet spot…” and here we sat down in a corner of the store. “…then you can peel back the cover and leaf through the pages, slow and tenderly…Isn’t it delicious?”
“It’s magical! You can’t do those things with a Nook. Smell it, go on…”
Bug smelled the book.
“What is that smell?”
“It’s imagination. It’s someone’s heart and soul.” Bug sniffed again and then looked at me. “OK, it’s the glue in the binding but isn’t it great?”
“Can I buy a movie?”
“A book. We are in a book store!”
“Star War is a movie.”
“Yes, but it was a book first. Some super nerd wrote it and then a rich super nerd made it into a movie which then spawned nerds of various proportions.”
“Mom!” Bug huffed in exasperation.
“Oh look! I think I found the Mo Willem section!”
Bug chose a lovely story about a pigeon who doesn’t understand the word “no.” On the way home I caught him smelling it.