When you walk into Micawber’s Books, you feel as though you’ve stepped into another time and place. The wooden floors creak in a friendly manner as you wander among the shelves and tables of books. Unfamiliar titles catch your eye. You feel steeped in a special atmosphere — the atmosphere of the love of books.
As an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described it, Micawber’s “smells like old wood and looks like it belongs in a Thomas Hardy novel.” It is as far from the ubiquitous “big box” bookstore as one can get.
I believe we need bookstores like this, to slow us down, to get us to appreciate the experience of browsing and selecting a book. We can get so caught up in getting the book we have in mind, for the lowest price possible, that we forget the wonderful serendipity that can occur when we meander through a shop like Micawber’s.
One such serendipitous find for me, back in 2011 when my friend Jan introduced me to Micawber’s, was The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma. I wouldn’t have known about the book, wouldn’t have looked for it, but the title caught my eye as I wandered among the tables and perused the shelves. It is a gem.
Who knows what other gems wait on the shelves of Micawber’s and bookstores like it? We must support these shops. We must keep them alive and thriving.