Book Joy

A dream of mine has finally been realized:  Barnes and Noble is coming to the Hamptons.  Seems the new owner, an English bookstore entrepreneur, is building out some 35 new stores throughout the U.S. and one is scheduled to open this year in Bridgehampton, New York.  There are small, independent bookstores in Sag Harbor and East Hampton, but the scope and ambiance of Barnes and Noble will motivate me this summer to drive the backroads through Wainscott to the Kimco shopping center at Bridgehampton Commons. As you may know from my previous columns, I regularly roam bookstores in whichever city or town I may be in, such as Shakespeare & Co. on 68th and Lex in New York City and Classic Bookshop in Palm Beach. But Barnes and Noble is like a combination library-bookstore experience that reminds me of my early days when I first fell under the spell of books.

                So many of my Saturday afternoons in Rochester were spent curled up in the aisles at Scranton’s Books on Main Street, which was adjacent to Louis’s Parking–my dad’s lot.  I would pull down books at random and attempt to understand them despite my then undiagnosed dyslexia.  In college, I spent endless hours at the Rutgers library not just studying but stretched out on the floor between the stacks just reading for enjoyment. 

These days, in Palm Beach, I steal an hour between exercise and lunch to hide out on the second floor of the Four Arts Library with one of the several books that I am reading.  I always have more than one book going at a time, all of them stored for convenience on the back seat of my car.  I believe the book hoarding and reading multiple books simultaneously is a habit that I picked up from my brother Marty when we were growing up–this in spite of the fact that I never saw either of my parents pick up a book, nor did they encourage us to. My father only read the weekly Yiddish newspaper which was sold at a few of the kosher stores on Joseph Avenue and which, as a special delivery from New York City, was always a week out of date.  My mother read the local Times Union and when I was very young, I would try to read with her, by her side.  My brother’s visits home during his college years at Syracuse University were memorable for our outings together to Scranton’s, where he would fill up a shopping bag with books.  I recall in later years, when I saw him in Connecticut and at his New York apartment, he was always surrounded by books, including a vast collection of art books.  Yes, the younger generation of Ackermans would always have libraries in their homes–rooms dedicated to the pleasure of reading. 

I am now building another library for myself, this one at camp in Maine, in my new office cabin.  I shipped up at least a thousand books from my collection in East Hampton and shelving is being constructed now to house them.  I decided on the Maine library so the books would be more accessible to me, as I spend most of the summer at camp.  Also, the accumulation had grown beyond capacity in East Hampton.  With the books up north, I can look forward to the rainy, non-fishing days, when I will settle in my office cabin in front of the electric faux fireplace to reread some of my old favorites, the warmth in the room almost matching what I feel inside when I open up one of those old volumes, cherished as they are like old friends.

2 thoughts on “Book Joy”

  1. To curl up with a book next to a fireplace is a gift you give to yourself. Such a luxury. Thank you for sharing your love of books.


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