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My Local Barnes and Noble Closed: Here’s What I Found

My local Barnes and Noble—the place where my dad would take me when I needed to escape from the real world and dive into a new one—is closing its doors after twenty-five years. While I’ve only been a part of fourteen of those years, I still considered it a staple in my self-care as I grew up. Dad and I visited the place where it all started for the last time this weekend; here’s how it went.

Upon first glance, the store looks like it always does. The latest fiction arrivals sit at the front and some items on sale catch my eye. But the further you step inside the more bare the shelves become. I stared in awe as the store once teeming with color and endless stories dimmed before my eyes. I had never seen my favorite place look so empty, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from enjoying myself one last time. 

Dad and I walked through our usual sections. For me, it was fiction and self-help. For him, it was history and biographies. We even deviated outside of our routine, both finding something in the true-crime section. Finally, we reached the place where our browsing usually ended: the magazines. There were still a surprising amount of them left, so we took our time passing through. It felt strange being the only two there, but it was comforting all the same.

When our arms were filled with more books than we could carry, we decided it was time to check out. Everything was half off and needed to go, which left me feeling bittersweet about my final purchases. We finished our trip with lunch at their Starbucks cafe and took tons of pictures. I wanted to remember this trip in all its empty-shelves-and-nostalgic glory. I found so many books I wouldn’t have considered reading before, and I enjoyed spending time with my dad before moving back to college.

Here’s a quick summary of what I found:

Burnt Sugar – Avni Doshi: Mom, Tara, and daughter, Antara, live with each other in India. Antara lives a difficult life at the hands of her emotionally unavailable mother and must confront her traumatic past when her mother suddenly needs a caretaker. (I’m most excited to read this one!)

The Real Lolita – Sarah Weinman: Based on the true story of Sally Horner’s kidnapping and the fictional book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Lolita discusses the connection between the two in a literary-meets-true-crime analysis. 

Seeing Ghosts – Kat Chow: In her memoir, Kat Chow recounts the devastating losses her family has faced spanning from three generations ago in China to the present-day in America. Chow contemplates the healing and preserving abilities writing has on confronting our hardships. 

I Don’t Want My Son to Cry – Ernest Gregory: Gregory’s first book tells the true story of a young boy growing up in Boston’s West End during the 1940’s. Losing his mother, battling an abusive father, and raising three younger brothers evokes the resilience this boy never knew he had. 

Collateral Damage – Mark Shaw: Ok, this one was my Dad’s pick. Parents don’t buy much for themselves, even when a place is going out of business. But this book is about the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Kilgallen and how they are strangely connected to the Kennedy family and JFK’s assasination. 

Feelings – Manjit Thapp: This book takes us through a visual journey of Manjit Thapp’s entire year. Each brightly colored drawing portrays the range of emotions we all face and how valuable they truly are. 

I write this article with a heavy heart. Even though my local B&N said they may relocate somewhere in our area, it will never be the same as the building I first entered at seven years old. Fourteen years and dozens of books and frappuccinos later, I am thankful for all this place has done for me. Hopefully someday I will be able to find another spot that is equally as magical. But for now, I will savor my books and keep these memories alive for as long as I can. 

Christina Puleo

Emmanuel '23

Christina is a Junior at Emmanuel College majoring in Writing, Editing & Publishing and minoring in Communications. When she's not reading or making art, you can find her taking long walks while listening to her favorite podcasts "Rotten Mango" and "Dark History."
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