Monday, November 28, 2011
Vignette: Feldman Books
The sunny town of Menlo Park boasts some really lovely shops, some extraordinarily expensive charity shops with real fur coats in them, boutiques with outrageously decadent gifts for the very wealthy, and little places to eat in many convenient locations.
So, here I am. It's May, I'm turning thirty, and I'm spending the day out by myself while my husband takes a class towards his master's degree. The day is a gift from my husband and I am happy, blissfully aware that I don't have to worry about bored kids or an impatient spouse, and I opt for a stroll. Then just a block or two from our parked car I find it. Feldman Books. The front isn't anything to write home about. It's an old building with a little wooden door and two big picture windows piled with books but I get a little thrill that goes right down to my fingertips. My family is a book family and we prize bookstores that look like this, unsure of what treasures we'll find inside but certain there will be something worth getting. Outside as I stand on the street there is the noise of passing vehicles but inside is cool and dark with the pervasive smell of must and leather that goes hand in hand with books. My sister and I found a bookstore like this in London. You don't know where the back is. You don't know where the little passageways lead. You wander, looking for genres you can sink your teeth into.
I'm happy with what I'm adding to my collection but I'm secretly aware that what I really want is a bookstore of my own where all the books are beautiful and all of them are mine. I want soft leather chairs you can sink into, low yellow lighting that warms the pages as you turn them, a bookstore cat that won't sit on your lap but makes everything a little more homey, the promise of a good cup of hot chocolate from a coffee shop nearby, and the quiet dense feel of living in a bookshop. All your friends are here. Prince Andre is having tea with Ebeneezer Scrooge. Frog and Toad have taken down the cookie jar and are giving cookies to all the waterbabies. Miss Elizabeth Bennett is in an earnest discussion with Andre-Louis Moreau and Mr. Psmith is dueling with Captain Hook and winning without looking. He's more interested in the chess set that Mr. Holmes and Mr. Poirot are playing. I don't know whose winning but Poirot's eyes are very green.