the bookstore of my dreams

The bookstore I dreamed about last night was small, just a few hundred square feet. The books on the first floor weren’t for sale, because their magic might not last if they were removed from the premises and because the store’s footprint was so tiny that it might run out of books if people bought the books and took them away.

But the first-floor books were pretty awesome. There were sequels you hadn’t known about to all your favorite series, and how-to books that came with the right equipment and exactly the right level of instruction to make you a master. (A couple of my friends were trying out the martial-arts ones in the store.) As I browsed, the owner unpacked a rack of brand-new yet somehow original-series Nancy Drew mysteries. And I found a novel by Stephen McCauley that had an author photo of him beaming! This was the Stephen McCauley book where he was happy and not cynical!

The second floor of the bookstore had the regular books, new books that you could buy and take home. The magic of the second floor was that the exact right book for you would come to hand. If you wanted, you could think about topics or questions as you browsed on the first floor, and when you got upstairs, the book addressing them would be waiting.

To get to the second floor, you had to go up a steep ladder and pull yourself over a carved wooden gargoyle. My head had just cleared the top of the ladder when my alarm went off. I was disappointed, but it was so clearly set up that way I also had to laugh.