Book shops are much needed safe spaces for communities #BookShopDay

Today is #BookShopDay day. It’s simple really. The lovely people at Books Are My Bag just want you to support your local bookshops. Though I wasn’t asked to write anything about what bookshops and books mean to me, I couldn’t help myself. Whilst discussing this on Twitter lots of people shared with me, what bookshops/books meant to them and I want to share that here too.

For me bookish places have always been safe spaces. From my school library where I used to be a “student librarian” for 7 year throughout secondary school and college to my local Waterstones store. Words and books bring an endless sort of comfort. That warm fuzzy, protected feeling you have in a bookshop can’t really be mimicked elsewhere. I have spent a lot of my life flicking through pages of books in book stores. Old stores and new ones. Old books and new ones.

One of my absolute favourite things to do is to sit in a bookshop drinking coffee and reading the books I’ve either purchased or am desperately trying to convince myself I should buy. I have made book piles and sat on the floor several times in several stores. Though I do understand the privilege in being able to purchase a brand new book (I wrote about this a while ago), this hasn’t always been the case for me and lately it seems it’s becoming a luxury again. I find comfort in being surrounded by millions of words and worlds. In being able to pick up any book and escape into the world the writer has so beautiful created, to be guided through the story by the main character and forget the reality around me.

Reading has most definitely been a form of escapism for me since. To be able to put your mind on pause and not worry about the reality around you and lose yourself in a good book is something I wish for everyone who has ever picked up a book. It’s a sort of feeling you want to continue going back to because it’s so comforting. For me, reading is the ultimate act of self-care.

Some opinions from my twitter followers

Please do go and support your local bookshops. I don’t want to live in a world where the only place I can get books are online from Amazon. I want to be able to enter a bookstore, to enter a safe space that’s comfortable and kind, where, with a warm smile a bookseller will hand me a book if I tell them what I’m looking for. Where I can drink a coffee and waste hours of my day flicking between pages and admiring covers. Granted bookstores are businesses but to many bookstores are more than that. They are key to communities engaging with books, key to learners and key to allowing children and adults to engage with literature in a fun and exciting way through festivals and book shop events, meeting authors etc.

Don’t forget to let me know what book you buy today! Tweet me @helloiammariam