Thursday, August 4, 2011


It's currently one o'clock in the a.m. I'm not feeling super hot...

No, that's not entirely true; let's begin again (pronounced uh-gayne).

It's currently one oh eight in the ɛɚ̯ em (am), and I am simultaneously super hot and not feeling all that well. I came home from work today and 1- drank a quart and a half of gatorade then 2- slept for about three hours. After which time I 3-woke up and 4- ate a package of Ramen. I then 5- turned on a little Thelonious Monk while I 6- read What the Dog Saw on our new and extremely uncomfortable couches. While reading, I 7- fell asleep yet again until I 8- woke up thanks to Seth and co.'s entrance. Shortly thereafter, I 9- watched Danny Kaye in The Court Jestor and 10- laughed myself silly. I felt certain that steps 1-10 would help me feel a bit better, but instead they have merely left me unable to sleep. So I'm lying in bed with a cold, a headache, and a hope that blogging will invite the sandman. (Who gets a cold in August? I mean really.)

But all of this is beside the point that I'm trying to make here. That point is this: Borders is closing.

*moment of silence*

Borders has been one of my sweet havens that I run to when I need an escape. Something about the smell of the coffee and being surrounded by some of the finest written word the English-speaking world has produced fills me with a sense of belonging, of security and warmth that is difficultly found. I won't overly-romanticize the situation by not acknowledging the presence of some of the trashiest and kitschy-est works produced as well (how do people get their Pride and Prejudice fan fictions published?), but you have to take the good with the bad; that's life.

I have spent countless hours in the Provo Borders reading and perusing anything that struck my fancy. One evening a couple summers ago I went there fully intent on not leaving until I understood the hype about Orwell's 1984; I ended up leaving two hours and 50 pages later, bleary-eyed and completely nonplussed; I still don't get it. (Can you use two semicolons in one sentence? Because I just did.) There was the Saturday morning I spent scads of time looking through art books full of everything from mannerism to pointillism to Banksy. Last summer I spent several days on the Percy Jackson and Hunger Games series when I desperately needed something popcorn-y that wasn't too intellectually stimulating. Whenever I needed an emotional release I went and pored over any and all of the poetry I could get my hands on, glorying in the simple beauty of Collins, reveling in the imagery of Hardy, tapping my foot to the rhythm of Hughes and wondering why more people didn't read Cavafy. (While on the topic of Cavafy, sometimes I want to learn Greek to read his original work and not just translations) I went to Borders on numerous occasions to study for the GRE. There was the terrifying evening when I woke up completely disoriented and unaware of where I was; only after taking several deep breaths and finding a copy of Maus in my lap did I realize I had fallen asleep at Borders. I even considered applying for a job there at one point.

I could continue on reminiscing about the time I've spent at Borders (like the afternoon I dedicated to reading a reference book about Yiddish words and phrases that have been adopted into English) but I think this suffices.

People will probably think it's strange that I've grown so attached so some cold, nationwide chain-of-a-bookstore, especially after the thorough criticizing and reviling that such stores received in You've Got Mail, but I will be genuinely sad to see Borders close its doors for the last time.

...I've been laying here in my bed staring at that last sentence I just wrote for several minutes now thinking about its implications, and I've had a bit of a paradigm shift. Yes it's sad, but at the same time I'm now being afforded the opportunity to go find a new shelter from the storm. I'm being given the opportunity to go out and find a new place of comfort and reflection. Hopefully the journey to find it will be an adventure worthy of Ithaca.

I think I'll set off tomorrow, assuming my headache is gone and this cold has run its course by then.


  1. two things:
    1. i feel the same way about borders, but also i feel that my ratio of time spent there to money spent probably contributed to their slow demise.
    2. how come my blog is not on your "blogs that rock" list? i even did an ode to you once. i'm going to put your blog on my "blogs that suck" list. even though it doesn't.

  2. While I'm not quite the voracious reader you are, I too have some fond memories of Borders. Probably my favorite of the bunch was when I was reading books to my brother's kids and by the end, about a half dozen others. Kids are awesome.

  3. Several thoughts I had as I read your post:

    Summertime colds are almost as bad as being drawn and quartered. All the best for a speedy recovery.

    "Scads" is, by far, the best word in this post.

    I'm glad I'm not the only word-of-wisdom-abiding Mormon who delights in the scent of coffee brewing. I have, on occasion, felt like a heretic for doing so, but I'm glad to know I'm not alone. The scents of coffee and books mingled together are particularly euphorigenic.

    My favorite date-night destination is the local bookstore (We have Books-a-Million here). On our last date I remarked to David that if he couldn't find a job soon then maybe I wouldn't mind working there. It's not as good as the Pittsford Barnes and Noble, but then few bookstores are.

    Good luck on your adventure. I look forward to finding out where your new refuge will be.

  4. 1. I've never read any of Hardy's poetry. I despised Tess of the D'urbervilles so much that I vowed never to read anything else. Perhaps I should exclude his poetry from that vow.
    2. 'Tis a great loss, and even though I found the store to be wanting in recent years (how hard is it to regularly stock the works of Keats or Mark Dunn?), it is sad. Maybe you need to make a trek more often to Salt Lake where you can revel in the acquaintances of the King's English and Sam Weller's.
    3. I can't believe you fell asleep in Borders. The library maybe, but Borders?
    4. Despite the "big bad chain" store sentiment, one of my greatest experiences was walking the aisles of the massive 4-story Barnes and Noble in Union Square (NYC).
    5. Jill, "euphorigenic" is by far the best word in your post.

  5. Samuel James, sometimes I think we are soul mates. I was also crushed by the news. I listened to Thelonious Monk and now cannot stop. And I also have to find a new refuge.

  6. 1984. It's really a shame that you don't see it. Alas, due to my lack of motorized transportation, I think the only times I went to Borders were with you. I'm sorry, Sammy. And really, you should give 1984 another go. Postmodern fiction in general, actually.

  7. I had a moment of silence before I even scrolled down to see that you required one. oh Sam! get better. because I am back and want to see you.

  8. Oh Sammy. Brett and I felt the same about Borders. It was a great place. After reading Mauri's post..I have to say I loved Tess of the D'ubervilles. I have, however, spoken with your father about that book of Hardy's and he said he could think of many other ways to become depressed other than reading that book. Too funny. I did want to give you a good place to visit on your quest for a new bookstore..the used bookstores in Provo/Orem are really fun. Sometimes you find really vintage looking editions of your faves..just sayin. Feel better.