A Gem still Glows
Eighteen years ago I visited Seattle for the first time. It was our first weekend trip away from a job I hated and a city I swore I would never live in (now I realize I’ll live in Los Angeles for the rest of my life, but I did get rid of that job). The angst I felt over all the changes in my life lifted the moment I walked into The Elliott Bay Book Company. I found a book during that first visit about living in suburbia; the recommendation card described the tedium of living in tract housing as the constant evenly paced whoosh of a Rainbird sprinkler. The description struck me, so I bought the book. It detailed the brain-numbing monotony of suburban life. Whenever I drive through tract housing I feel that oppression.
Interestingly enough, during my recent trip to Elliot Bay, I bought two more books about home life (really, they have over 150,000 titles, the breadth and depth of the store is amazing, I just seem to have a theme whenever I go there). When I walked into the store I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the choices. In front of me as soon as I entered where four 9 foot or taller bookshelves full of staff recommendations. I wanted all of them. More recommendations were spread among the various subjects. An entire bookshelf is dedicated to recommendations for books groups (plus book groups can meet with a staff member to discuss recommendations for their group and tips on how to keep the conversation on topic). I gave up trying to make a decision and asked the woman at the information desk if there was a unique book she liked. She had two that she talked about as we walked over to the books (I learned later that employees are trained to walk the customer over to the book they’re asking about chatting with them the entire way, I loved it). The first was Cost by Roxana Robinson, a story of what all of us give up for family. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Hmm, is this the appropriate book to be reading around the Christmas tree surrounded by family? Maybe not. Read the rest of this entry »