I went over to Berkeley to meet my friend Mike for lunch today. He told me about his forthcoming academic book. After we ate, we went to Dark Carnival, a bookstore in Oakland. As we were walking from the car to the bookstore, I told Mike that I now proudly claim my geekhood. “Geek pride,” I said. “I’m too f&$%ing old to be bothered hiding it any more.”
Claiming my geekhood means admitting — no, bragging about the fact that browsing in bookstores is one of my favorite activities. After a stressful week, I lower my blood pressure by going to bookstores. I probably read as much online as I read in books these days, but I still love going to bookstores. Bookstores are one of the few places where geeks and intellectuals still congregate in public, places where reading books is still a public and even social activity.
But bookstores are an endangered species, and I always make a point of paying the bookstore tax: you walk into a bookstore, you have to buy at least one book. Since I haven’t been to Dark Carnival in months, I bought four books, which was my way of paying back taxes. Despite the threat of the evil Amazombie, I want to be able to keep going to bookstores for a long, long time.