My lease in Allston starts on September 1, which means that I now have fewer than three months to live in Tucson. For someone who has millions of different passport stamps, and for someone who begged her parents to send her to boarding school when she was seven, I am surprisingly apprehensive about my move. Not scared, but a little worried about whether I will still be the same person (and whether I will still be as secure with myself as I have finally learned to be) once I live totally alone. So to forget my fear, I’m going to start saying thanks, I love you, and goodbye to my favorite Tucson things. I’m not saying a real goodbye to Bookmans anytime soon, as I’m sure I’ll be stopping in another hundred times before I leave, but here it goes anyway.
I don’t care how many used bookstores Boston has; I will probably patronize each one anyway. Nothing is like Bookmans, and no other place do I understand culturally and sociologically the way I do Bookmans. I have worked very hard to know how to navigate that store successfully, literally and intellectually. At what other store can I be sure to find a decent copy of that book that everyone has read and I need to have read and also find the most random, out of print novel that I’ve never heard of but is brilliant, and also find some awesome work of lit theory or history or cooking and grab a couple of magazines on my way out? I don’t really know, because I just keep going to Bookmans for it all. Where else can I “buy” (usually for free, because I always have trade) an eclectic smorgasbord of reading material and get compliments and recommendations on it, earning me both respect and hipster points? Also, where else have I ever felt so comfortable being by myself in public? I love you, Bookmans. I’ve loved every piece of paper I’ve ever taken from you. I’ve loved every time you’ve taken an ARC from me and given me trade for it, even though you claim that you don’t take galleys for resale. I’ve loved every cashier who has ever given me their employee discount. I’ve loved every author I never knew I needed in my life before finding their book at Bookmans. I love the beautiful set of dishes my mother found in your tchotchke room. I love that every Bookmans location has a distinct personality, and the one on Ina is clearly not for hipsters or avid novel-readers. I love you, Bookmans. And it’s a love that lasts a lifetime.