How My Local Indie Bookstore Made Me Fall in Love with Books Again

As a child, there was nothing more I wanted to do than curl up on the sofa and prop open a book and read till my heart was content. I particularly enjoyed reading Harry Potter, I am proud to say I have reread all seven books at least five times. I was a true Potterhead. There was something magical about the worlds that books were able to create. I remember describing it to my mother, likening the words on the paper to movie scenes playing in my head. I was immersed in these worlds and there was nothing that could be done to distract my eyes from reading the words cover to cover. 

Looking back, I do not know when this fervent love of mine for literature began diminishing. Maybe it was the introduction of iPhones into my life. Maybe it was the ever so tiring workload from school. Maybe it was the constant textbook reading that got to me. Whatever the cause, staying up late at night reading in the dim light became a distant memory and I slowly forgot about the books that I once adored. I did pick up a few books over the years, but it was nothing compared to the amount I would read.

It was only during quarantine when I became frustrated with the ‘new normal’ that I resorted back to books. I reread all my favourites - from “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller to “Leela’s Book” by Alice Albinia, and to “How to create a mind” by Ray Bradbury, I revelled in the escape literature provided me. Soon, the fall semester began and I became busy with school which left me with little time to do anything else besides studying. It was over the winter break that my parents gifted me with something I had no idea I was yearning for. They gave me a gift card for a local indie bookstore - The Book Wardrobe in Streetsville. I remember looking at the website like a child in a candy store, I wanted everything. I wanted to know all the stories, all the new worlds the authors were creating. Soon, I received an email notifying me that my order was ready for pick up and I took the car with sheer excitement and made my way to Streetsville. The bookstore was adorable, nestled within the Robinson-Bray House. I picked up my books and without hesitation began reading, starting with “How To Pronounce Knife” by Souvankham Thammavongsa. This collection of short stories was nothing short of amazing. As one of the characters in the stories says, “All we wanted was to live”, and I saw how each character did so - brightly and unforgettably. 

Thomas King once said, “If we stopped telling the stories and reading the books, we would discover that neglect is as powerful an agent as war and fire.” Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I can finally appreciate the gift of literature and the power it holds. I just hope I don’t forget again.