Someone asked me yesterday why I don’t review more books in this blog. I mulled it over for a few minutes and realized that for me books are vehicles. You might find this slightly amusing especially coming from the owner/driver of a traveling bookstore, but that is how I see it. Writers have ideas or stories, facts, poems, essays or opinions they capture in words on a page and then those pages sometimes turn into books. The books carry those creations from the author out into the wider world. This concept goes along beautifully with the reality of a traveling bookstore, which then carries those books to whatever event or parking lot the bookstore happens to stop at to set up.
And the traveling bookstore business is also a vehicle for conversations. The majority of customers end up talking with me. They are curious about how this traveling bookstore got started. Some tell me about their own dreams for a business or a new place, taking inspiration from how I am striving to realize mine. Others begin by talking about a book or author and end up talking about themselves. I suspect part of this penchant for conversation comes from the interior dimensions of the traveling bookstore. There aren’t numerous aisles to wander through or cozy back corners with a stuffed chair where one might settle in to read quietly. There is one aisle. And especially for people who have never experienced it before, there is often a hesitation to go into that. They see the sign that this is a bookstore but they aren’t entirely sure if they should go inside. Thus there is often a conversation to begin with – yes, this is a bookstore and yes you can go in. If people begin to read a book, especially children, they tend to sit down on the floor in the only aisle or in the doorway.
Perhaps this all might seem a stretch as to why I don’t write book reviews. If I did, it would be about a particular book that touched me. Not about a book I feel you should read. If I suggest a book to someone, it usually is in response to a conversation we had. So vehicles, yes, that’s what it’s about: the books that are carried on the shelves and the conversations shared wherever the bookstore is parked. Vehicles of imagination and beauty. Vehicles that transport us to unimagined places and times. Vehicles that bring us together.