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July 14, 2011 / Melissa Leeanne

Old Fashioned

Today I was bored and wandered into the Observatory, a dimly lit and somewhat labyrinthine, though small book store in downtown Juneau. Day in and day out, it is tended by the owner, a smiling, bespectacled woman. She keeps the bookstore stocked with books on all possible topics, with small collections of mostly hardback books. I can get lost in there for days. Today I found a number of nice books but I decided that I really wanted this 1940 hard cover, illustrated edition of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, neatly encased in a slip cover. I had it in my head that the shop only took cash and casually commented that she must only take cash, right? Adding, “or checks?” She actually accepts credit cards for purchases over $10 but offered that she accepts checks too (the book is more than $10) but I don’t know why I even brought them up, I told her, because I don’t have checks because I think they are so old fashioned. But despite the wonders of technology (and e-readers, specifically) I still love the look and feel and the concept of a book in my hands, especially an old hard cover book that has been around for longer than I or my parents have been alive. Hell – my grandma wasn’t born until 1945. Now I really need this book. Old fashioned or not, I hope actual, physical books, whose pages we can turn and dog ear to mark places, remain for a long, long time.

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