There’s a day for every event and substance these days — National Martini Day, National Pizza Day, National Juggle While Eating a Ham Sandwich and Drinking a Diet Coke Day (not my favorite). But April 29 is one of those days that’s worth celebrating: Independent Bookstore Day.
Indie bookstores aren’t just retailers: They’re community centers, havens for new ideas, gathering spots for friends (and strangers who might end up having something in common). Plus you can usually get a good cup of coffee there.
Here are five ways you can join the party:
Visit your local indie and buy a book for yourself. Maybe even two. Here in Miami that means a trip to one of Books & Books’ locations — Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, downtown Miami at the Arsht Center. But wherever you are, drop in and take a look around. Ask for a recommendation. Peek in at the children’s room if there is one and see what kids are reading now. Then get that cup of coffee.
Visit your local indie and buy a book for someone else. Doesn’t have to be a birthday gift. Pick a book you love and share it with someone you think would enjoy reading it. This will score you many points with your friend, family member or spouse, plus you’ve turned someone on to a book you love and supported an indie. Win win win.
Make a pledge to visit an indie bookstore you’ve never been to before and buy a book when you get there. If you live in a town with no indie bookstores, this task is a little more difficult. But you travel, don’t you? If you’re going to be in Nashville, head to Parnassus Books. In Phoenix? Changing Hands. In New York? Strand Bookstore. You get the idea.
Make a pledge to go to an author appearance in the next couple of months. With work and life and Facebook and everything else clamoring for our attention, making a commitment to go hear an author talk about his or her book can be tough. But it’s always a rewarding experience.
Set aside an hour or two on Saturday just to read. Yes, Saturdays are often busy, and you haven’t had time to go to the grocery store, and you have to drive the kids to soccer or you’ve simply got to mop the floors. But why not take a little bit of time to remind yourself of the quiet, simple, solitary pleasure of discovering a new book? Happy reading.