A Near Occasion of Sin

I truly intended to just slip in, drop off my little love note, turn around and leave. But when I saw the bare shelves and knew the remaining books would be the last ones out…well, how could one little peek hurt?

The Blue Door Bookstore, written about in previous posts as Second Glance Second Chance Bookstore has closed its doors. This little shop, part of the Carolinas Literacy Network, gave away books to anyone who wanted them, hoping to encourage the love of books and reading; hoping to raise the literacy rate in our poor county.  A cut in funding forced the closure.

But the books were available to anyone who wanted to take them. And I did. Regularly. Usually just a book or two. Usually. And I was a regular giver too. I was the mule for my various critique groups delivering their gently loved books as well as my own. So when the word came the bookstore was closing, I was asked to write a love note for the bookstore that could be posted on the Network’s site. So I truly intended to just slip in, drop off my love note, turn around and leave. But it was that little peek that did me in.

As the shelves emptied, Evelyn, the woman who worked there, restocked them with ‘books from the back.’ It sounded like a secret cache of treasures no one could look into because those books hadn’t been cataloged. Now all of them were being brought out. What might I miss if I didn’t take at least a quick look? The author Evelyn Waugh had come up recently, maybe I could find one of his?

It seemed so easy to scan the shelves with the dwindling number of books, pluck one out here and there. The stack on the table grew inch by inch, sometimes a couple of inches. Another woman was there gleaning for a local senior center. All they have are old ratty things. Not a new author in the bunch. She had a limit of 100 books and was slowly filling a trolley with her pickings. She asked if I’d read anything by a particular author, showed me one of her books-or rather a tome at 800 words. I said no and passed …the went back and took it. So difficult to be good when others are tempting you.

An hour and twenty-two books later I left only because Evelyn was closing for the day. In the last couple of months as the store readied to close, it had to get rid of as many books as possible. People were allowed to take up to twenty-five books each time. This had not been my first trip into the store in recent weeks. I suppose I could have snatched three more books to make my quota, but that seemed greedy.

I did find books by and about Evelyn Waugh-2 novels and 2 biographies, and a book by an acquaintance that should be interesting. I’ve been to Dorthea’s house and one room is filled with crystals and sacred objects from various cultures and disciplines to generate creative energy. In three trips to the bookstore I’ve increased my library by 72 books.

I will read all of them…eventually. But for now I have to shelve, store and creatively hide my newly acquired novels, biographies, poetry collections and reference books because I’ve not yet confessed to hubby I have them.  Shhhhh….

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6 Responses to A Near Occasion of Sin

  1. Jennifer says:

    Love this! So glad you have saved 72 books, my lips are sealed:)

    • Thanks Jennifer 🙂 I think all of us felt the same way – we were saving them. As much as I hated seeing those empty shelves, I was glad to know the books had gone to other nonprofits – senior center, criminal justice center, etc.

  2. bclaypolewhite says:

    Gorgeous post. I felt a little teary by the end… Also, I want to run out and donate books to local senior centers…

    • Thanks Barbara. It really has been sad watching the place close. The Literacy Network still works out of the building and is converting the bookstore into a training center for people hoping to be hired by a new company in town. It was fun/interesting listening to the woman talk about which books would be ‘appropriate’ for the seniors as she picked through them. Dave Barry was in, George Carlin was not! I think any senior center would appreciate your gift so happy shopping!

  3. Rosemary C. Gray says:

    You were a great supporter of the Blue Door and were so good to request and take books to them, and I know their closing was sad for you. You’re a good soul…AND a good writer! I enjoy your blog and love your poetry.

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