bookworm.2

Metro stop 8250 is slightly north of Bookworm Exchange on Rainier Avenue South. Jim and his shop once lived in Columbia City. But he closed that one and moved all the books to a storage unit. The shop then went virtual.

He re-opened in brick and mortar this past summer in Hillman City. Jim tells me that a long time Eritrean restaurant in Columbia City is moving in, across from his shop. Bookworm, I note, is following a migration south to the city that Clarence D. Hillman developed along the valley down to the lake.

Jim cannot wait for another new neighbor nor can he wait for the summer. The strollers. The readers. The browsers. The weather brings everyone out from the houses east and west. And Metro Seven brings them from the south and north. We each daydream separately of summer: he of happy book buyers and I of late Seattle afternoon bone-warming sunshine.

I look over his counter to see board games. A set of gaming cards. His open laptop. I slow stroll – the bookstore stroll – to the history section. Then I turn around to find a just-above-the waist high shelf. There rests a large format photo book of now extinct birds and animals. Right next to it, one on the Musée Rodin. The juxtaposition feels just right.

Jim is paying me mind but letting me wander where I might. The shop has enough space to always be in eyeshot but never too close to feel watched.

I linger in fiction. I gather a signed hardback of Waxwings. And one copy of The Night Circus, which I never read but every book group friend raved about. And a copy of Wild, I know, I know. I know. I will read it soon. There are so many books, people!

Then one stops me. Brought me right to eleventh grade. To Jill’s house. To her living room when she said, ‘This book changed my life,’ and I thought she was being way too enthusiastic for a teenager of our time and place. She did not show the proper deference to cynicism. But time has not been kind to my teenage sensibility. Jill must have been right about that book as she was about so many other things.

I tell myself that I can only buy one of the four. Not because any will break the daily budget, but because I just cannot carry more than one on the bus. The decision is really very easy. I reshelve Raban, Morgenstern, and Strayed; someone else will get to take them home.

Jill will soon receive a letter in the mail about Morrison’s Beloved. I pay and hurry to stop 8250. And to the next arriving northbound Seven.

We hope you loved this article. If so, please consider subscribing or donating. The Urbanist is a non-profit that depends on donations from readers like you.