First there was Waldenbooks (remember them?)--a tiny outlet in a mall already beginning to be run down, where I wandered in the speculative fiction aisle, touching the spines of books I didn't have money to buy yet: Green Rider, The Glassmaker's Apprentice, Vector Prime. My money had to be strictly reserved for Animorphs books, a new one nearly every month.
Then there was the brand-new Barnes and Noble, the biggest bookstore I'd ever seen, bursting with more books than even the library had. I hoarded money earned from digging weeds and cleaning the pool. I replaced my falling-apart copy of Little House on the Prairie. I bought All Over but the Shoutin' and The Handmaid's Tale for school. I stared at the strange new menu of coffee drinks which my friends bought, while I stuck to hot chocolate.
Then there were six years of discovering the joys of small, non-chain bookstores, of ferreting through narrow aisles of used books and giving my money to local business. There was Inkwood and Mojo and Wilson's, weird little stores crowded and crossed with interesting things (Dancing With Cats? Taxidermy Step by Step?), and my bookshelves at home exploded. A Wizard of Earthsea. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. Six nearly-mint volumes of 100 Bullets. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
And now here I am, a brand-new city unfurled around me, and my great fortune is to discover Visible Voice, a beautiful bookstore in a beautiful neighborhood, a meandering shop whose exterior is shrouded in fallen leaves and bears the legend "Resist much, obey little," and whose interior is just bright enough and just wide enough and just welcoming enough. I can feel my roots going into this new Ohio soil already.