Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Post by Grace: A Borders Eulogy

An empty bookstore: it has got to be one of the saddest spectacles my young eyes have ever lighted upon.

My mind and heart still hold the images of the knowledge-packed shelves, the navigational signs, the posters announcing the arrival of the latest Harry Potter book, the place where all the Children's award-winners reigned supreme and where I would sit on cold days and peruse what looked adventurously promising.

This was the place I discovered my love for such writers as E.L. Konigsburg and Gordon Korman. It was here that I read the first few pages of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, soon to become one of my very favorites. It was here that I began to learn the way of the Newbery Medal, given out once a year, and of the Honors which were received by a few of the most noteworthy runners-up.

This place was called "Borders," but when we were small one of us mistakenly referred to it as "Boxers." Ah, memories.

I can be sure that I, being a young adult attempting to write Young Adult, am not the only one significantly affected by the existence of good, material bookstores.

We all benefit from a visit to Barnes & Noble, and not just because half of the world's nicest people live between the pages of its merchandise. For all the greatness and triumph of discovery in the form of new places you don't have to pack your suitcase and cross oceans to see, it is, in my opinion, an equally wondrous thing to walk through the doors and enter the familiar building, which is filled to the brim with wisdoms (good and bad), eyes and ears of others destined to become your own (if only for a week or so), lives to be lived, lines to be crossed, and hidden worlds to be found and lifted up into the sunlight of one's own imagination.

There is an atmosphere of mystery, of invisible music that longs to be heard, whist a smell of ages and of knowledge (and of coffee, in some cases) signals the beginning of something wonderful, though who can ever know what it is just yet?

It's an adventure, walking into a bookstore or library. It's an experience; a meditation; a magic spell. The visit itself may be a journey; a quest; or perhaps simply a lazy boat-ride: a drift, if you will. Whatever one's preference, it is what it is, and that is wondrous.

Now, imagine, if you will, the world without bookstores or libraries. If there were none of these available, what should naturally follow but (horror of horrors!) a world without books? "What does it matter?" some might counter. "Who needs paperbacks or places to keep them when one has the internet?"

What do you think?

A little more about my guest:  

Hi, my name is Grace. I’m 16 years old, and I write fiction for Children and Young Adults …  Well, technically, I am attempting to write said fiction. I have not ever been published, but it is my goal to finish my first book by summer of next year and begin the dreaded (or joyfully anticipated: whichever you like) campaign to become a published author. 

I began meeting with Amy last year, and she has been amaaaaaziiiiing: Thank you, Amy! I love to write in many genres, though most of my plots seem to have at least a trickle of fantasy threading through them. I am really a wizard at heart, or maybe a fairy: it’s a tough decision. 

Some of my favorite authors are Kate DiCamillo, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Helen Keller, and J.K. Rowling. If you haven’t read something by one or more of these people, DO IT! They are all different, and they are all wonderful. 

Thank you for doing this, Grace! You are wonderful! *hugs*

So, my lovely blog followers, I'd love you to answer Grace's question in the comments. What do you think about Borders' closure? Does this herald the end of bookstores as we know them? Anything else to tell Grace?


  1. I am SO sad to see it close! I hope this is warning enough that people will manage to keep B&N open. It's not the same browsing on-line as it is going to a book store. They are part of my childhood as well, and it makes me sad to think that could disappear.

    I, for one, have been making it a point to go into the store to buy books lately.

  2. I miss Borders too, and I enjoyed Grace's tribute to a wonderful bookstore. Good luck with your writing, Grace!

  3. I'm SO with you! There's an empty Borders right by my house and it breaks my heart every time I see it. It's where I got so many of my books... where my writing group met... where I met so many writer friends for the first time.

    Great tribute, Grace :) Well said!

  4. Hi Amy .. I remember Borders opening here in London (I visit London occasionally) and being excited because they offered a different look to bookstores. There are so many closures now of all sorts .. it's the small book stores I feel for.

    Wonderful you're helping Grace with her work .. she's obviously passionate about writing and that's the important thing ..

    Good luck Grace and there will be outlets for us. Cheers Hilary

  5. I can't bear to think of a world without bookstores. This was a wonderful piece of writing.

    To Grace: You're not attempting to write fiction at all, you are writing it. If this piece is anything to go by, I look forward to reading your novel one day :-)

  6. HI, Grace! So awesome you are writing!! Best of luck to you!

    I'm very sad to see bookstores closing. I love to browse. I even remember when department stores had a book section. I would sit there and go through all the books while my mom shopped. Loved it.

  7. Nice to meet you, Grace, and all the best with your writing. Because I am an optimist, I like to think that bookstores won't disappear, although they may become fewer and far-between-er. ;) I'm trying to make a personal commitment to shop at my local indie bookstore, because I don't want it to go away!

  8. Grace, you will go far with your writing. You have a confident style and have found your own voice. As to your topic, bookshops are closing in the UK too. We're all just a little to blame. We may enjoy browsing their shelves, but we're only human and the low prices on Amazon's 'shelves' just can't be ignored.

  9. This is a great tribute to Borders, Grace, but fear not, bookshops and books will be with us ... we are a story people, and unless something replaces paper that is just as good or better, books will be here to stay.

    Technology changes much too fast so you may archive something, but you cannot retrieve it. But things etched in stone or marks made on papyrus have survived. So will books.

    Remember that you are a writer because you write. God bless.

  10. Empty bookstores are so sad. We don't have Borders stores where I live, but we've lost our fair share. We haven't had an indie bookstore in well over a decade.

  11. Grace!! I love you! I am too sad to see Border's close. I'm obsessed with my Kindle, but I must say, I always have a paperback with me. I don't bring my Kindle with me to places like the airport, so I usually buy a book at the book store. My most recent purchase was at a Borders in Newark NJ on my way to Haiti... RIP Borders!

  12. This is really lovely. I can't believe Grace is only 16. What the heck was I doing at 16?? Not writing this sort of thing that's for sure.
    I am bummed at the loss of Borders too. But hope that means more for the indies. My indie is collecting Borders Rewards cards and hanging them from the ceiling and offering discounts if you turn them in. :)

  13. (I read this a few days ago but haven't gotten around to commenting...)

    Thanks, Grace, for sharing this lovely dedication. I'm more of a library girl myself (probably because I'm such a tightwad), but I'm all in favor of any place that gives people access to great stories. The closing of any bookstore or library is a loss.

  14. I love bookstores and libraries too. There's nothing like getting lost in a wonderful bookstore. I don't think they're doomed in my lifetime, but eventually they may be.

  15. Grace has a wonderful voice! Thanks for sharing her with us, Amy. :)

    It is heartbreaking to see bookstores closing. We had two close in our area two years ago. Now we only have B & N. It is always busy, so I hope that is a good sign. :)

  16. A world without books would be a sad one, indeed.

  17. *sigh* Excellent post. The economy is so awful, it makes me worry Borders won't be the only victim.

    New follower here.

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  19. I enjoyed Grace's writing style and topic.

    I miss Borders. There's no B&N close by me, but I sometimes drive to one. I still have my local indie to go to.