When Friday comes around, this will be my first full week as a former Book Buyer (I’ll never say former bookseller because as long as I can read, I’ll do whatever I can to make sure people have great reading recommendations). One weird thing about unemployment that I didn’t really expect is that your day just zooms by. This may be because I’m also acting as Mr. Mom while out of work. We pulled our daughter out of daycare, which is a bummer because she was really blossoming. This offers up a particular challenge for me because I don’t want her to stall her development. Even though Nick Jr. states they’re like pre-school on TV, I can’t just sit her in front of the TV for eight hours a day.
To keep her stimulated yesterday, we made a huge mess. For instance, we pulled all the pillows off our couch (which has been lovingly christened as Napzilla and Napzuki for each side of the couch) and used them to create an awesome fort. We played in the fort for most of the morning, and I must say I had an absolute blast.
Going back to my love of books, I think my wife and I have already passed that down to our daughter, which means I really want physical books to never go away (shop at bookstores dammit!). Her standard go-to books used to be Leslie Patricelli and Batman books. If the folks in our family ever read My First Batman Book to Lily ever again, it may be too soon. Me, on the other hand, eat that up. Lately though, her love of Batman is being eclipsed by her love for Olivia (Ian Falconer). I counted and I read it to her six times today. I eat that kind of stuff up! I even took Lily to the library to look for Olivia library books. This was Lily’s first trip to the library, and thankfully, she was in awe by the selection. I remember when I was a kid, I used to check out 5-10 books a week. I hope Lily feels that way too when she gets older.
I think this is it for tonight. I promised you all a post about my thoughts of the Borders liquidation. You’ll get it, I promise. Just not right yet. The wound is still a little fresh. I am thinking of starting up two blog though – one to cater towards folks of my old stomping ground (Babel Clash) would love, and another about being a (temporary) stay-at-home dad. Who knows, if income happens for these blogs, maybe I will be a stay-ay-home dad forever!
Also, since I am a bookseller, I want to tell you about Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. I’m halfway through it and I absolutely love it. It’s a very clever take on zombie fiction that made me wonder why I never thought of that idea. If you have any other zombie suggestions, feel free to leave a comments!
I haven’t been very public about my thoughts on the end of Borders. I think most of that stems from the inability to accept that the Borders I know and love will cease to exist by the end of the year. In the back of my head, I feel like if I ignore it, things will be just fine. Well, as someone who works at the home office for the next two weeks (4 weeks more than most of my department), it’s hard to ignore it any longer. The halls are empty; the cubes and furniture have (over)price tags on them, and I’ve moved to the third floor to finish up my time as a Borders employee. The joy and energy that once filled the halls of the big white building are nothing more than memories. I worked at Borders for seven years, so the folks I worked with became a second family. It’s a bit harder than I expected to say goodbye.
One of the things I promised myself was that I wasn’t going to go into one of the stores now that the liquidation is going on. I just didn’t want to see the store I know and love defamed like that. I was downtown Ann Arbor today interviewing for another job and it just so happens the place I was interviewing at is close to Store 01. There was a book I’ve been wanting that I knew was in stock (and I refused to buy it from Amazon), so I went back on what I decided once Borders filed for Chapter 7. I walked into Store 01, ignored every single liquidation sign (which wasn’t an easy feat), and said goodbye to an old friend. Luckily, the book I wanted was tucked in the horror section on the first floor, so I didn’t need to go upstairs and see the cafe roped off or to see what was left of a once great music and video selection that was decimated by years and years of inventory reduction initiatives. I don’t think I could have gone upstairs anyway. I had to draw the line somewhere. It was weird enough walking into the store I love after a job interview. Here I was dressed from head to toe in black for the interview (which was fitting since walking into Store 01 today was almost like a memorial service or a viewing. Thoughts of how packed the store was when Dog the Bounty Hunter or Billy Corgan or Bruce Campbell visited went through my head. Thoughts of John Hodgman’s book signings (which were way more than half full – my guess is he was going for comedic effect….) and the awkward cocktails beforehand went through my head. All the authors I’ve had the pleasure to meet these past seven years who may now never have a reason to come to Ann Arbor ever again….it’s just tragic.
Borders was my first….bookstore. It almost felt like I was cheating on her by walking into the store in my interview attire. But, upon further thought, I think Borders would want me to move on with my life. Regardless, it felt almost wrong walking in there today. But, Borders did today what it always did for me – offered me a great book. The book I bought today was from a small press that wouldn’t probably get placement in a B&N or an indie bookstore, so another thing I worry about as I move on to a life without Borders is how will I find these diamonds in the rough? I’ll find a way because Borders would want me to. So, I’m going to put my big boy pants on and prepare myself to move on. I have a week and a half left as a Borders employee and I’m going to make the most of it, even if I spend my last days cleaning up and prepping the building for winding down operations. I’m going to be strong because Borders would want it that way.
I had a lot more I wanted to say for this blog post, but when writing it, I had trouble composing my thoughts into a cohesive narrative. I may write more about Borders, I may not. I think you kind of get the jist of what I wanted to say, right? Just know that I will find a new bookstore to shop at because I refuse to buy books from Amazon. I may not like it, but I will find a new bookstore to try to fill the Borders-sized hole in my heart.