I spent more time browsing actual bookstores in 2021 than in any previous year, for no other reason than I could. The previous absence period felt like a dress rehearsal for an unsavory timeline in which brick-and-mortar stores ceased to exist. I didn’t like that. But after a year of confinement, my family rallied around the collective thrill of leaving our home to visit somewhere else for an extended period of time, and the joy of sailing was real.
Such was my mentality of holding books in my aggressively sanitized palms, whenever a blanket caught my interest. Without consideration, it’s easy for books to look like dressed bricks. Online, it’s even easier for a great book cover to disappear in the clamor of everything else vying for attention. But in their natural habitat, on a bookshelf or on a bookstore table, these covers call out to be held and explored even more than the other attractive possibilities stacked nearby. They radiated mystery and devotion to their subjects, and I was grateful to see them in a physical space, to be in front of books again – well away from the detached confines of a screen. And that’s what I did. Because I could.