Are you worried that books and bookshops are an endangered species?" asked a customer, clutching a Kindle.
I knew a place where books were treasured not threatened.
Books had always been a love of mine, I was always reading at least one and had one in my bag. As a 21st birthday present, I was given a beautifully illustrated book about books, bookshops and book collectors. The story that fascinated me the most was about a town in Wales, Hay-on-Wye, that was full of bookshops.
The more I learned about the man and the town, the more I wanted to go and visit the place, but life happened – marriage, three children, divorce, elderly parents, and small business. It wasn't until a hot summer's day in July a few years ago this year that I finally made it to Hay-on-Wye.
As soon as saw all the bookshops on my arrival, I felt at home. I had never really felt like I fitted in anywhere but in this town, smelling of old books and knowledge I felt wrapped in a comforting welcome blanket.
The first place I visited was the shop Richard Booth opened in 1962 but no longer owns, the Cinema Bookshop, which is by far the biggest bookshop I have ever seen with close to 200,000 books.
There was a book centre with 20 different dealers selling a wide variety of books, including many antiquarian ones. Old leather books inhabited the shelves, their famous and lesser known writers beckoning me to examine forgotten works.
It was hard to know where to start. After perusing the abundant shelves, I sat down with a stack of books, smelling the beauty of the knowledge surrounding me.
"Kindles banned in this shop," a banner proudly proclaimed. This was my town, a place where books were honoured and respected, not vulnerable and disappearing.
"Books are not an endangered species, I have 40kg worth of books to prove it," I answered, smiling at the memory of my trip to Hay-on-Wye.
Have you found a place, or a group of people, that you feel at home with. A place or a community where you can be yourself?
If you have not found this place or community yet, can you describe what it would be like?
Is there something you always wanted to do, always wanted to visit, always wanted to experience and you finally achieved that plan?
What was it like - did it leave up to your expectations?
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