I like a lot of places. However, one of my absolute favorites is Williamsburg, Virginia. I’ve been going there for a while (most of my life I would say) and I’ve found that, even though I’ve done pretty much everything there is to do there besides all of the ghost walks and various other group-oriented activities where people will learn something, have conversations, and maybe swap phone-numbers after funny anecdotes about their kids, I still want to keep going there, and a primary reason for that is the bookstore.
What’s the big deal about a bookstore? Plenty of college bookstores are out there, certainly much closer to you, and most chain bookstores are unexceptional by bookstore standards. I do like independent stores, because they’re all unique, and they tend to smell interesting and have their own quirks, but I like the organization of the Barnes & Noble set on DOG street, and the homeyness of it. It has become familiar to me–I know where all the interesting sections are, and I have my own hiding spots to read. I finished Howl’s Moving Castle there in a little over three hours, and I bought the book anyway because I had fifty pages left. I’ve scanned shelves (admittedly in the teen fiction section) and had discussions about cliché with my sister there as we perused the oh-so-similar pages.
My favorite part is going downstairs and examining the various titles of sic-fi and fantasy anthologies, especially The Year’s Best Science Fiction and collections of Hugo and Nebula winners. If there’s a Neil Gaiman, an Elizabeth Bear, a Lavie Tidhar, or any of my other preferred authors, then all the better. Then I will return upstairs to a secluded space and read for hours. My parents will come, harass me, tell me we can return tomorrow, that we can buy the book if I want, that we won’t be able to do some activity or other if we don’t go now because we need to eat at some point, et cetera. But I prefer not to budge, and I often get my way, because my parents like to read there too.