Hitting The Books

May 20, 2013

The Internet has changed my reading habits. Well, duh.

But in my case, that’s a bigger deal than it sounds. My whole life, I’ve been a voracious reader — almost compulsive. Growing up, my family always teased me that I’d rather read the back of the cereal box than talk to them at the table. And they weren’t far off.

In recent years, however, I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading books. I sit at home in my favorite chair, laptop on my knees, and wander the Web. There’s always something new to find, and I can endlessly indulge my interest in my favorite topics: politics, history, sports and automobiles. I can tell you details about state legislative races in Illinois and Georgia, who started at left tackle for the 1952 Cleveland Browns and how much a rare woodie station wagon sold for at the latest Scottsdale auction.

But recently, I’ve begun to feel the itch to hold a book in my hands — to spend hours absorbed in a page-turner, putting off bedtime because I just can’t stop, even though I’m nodding off. I miss the feeling of having two or three books in progress at once, picking one up from a table or countertop and starting up where I stopped.

So over the weekend, I visited a few of my favorite bookstores and stocked up. At Paperback Exchange in southwest Minneapolis I bought a couple of detective thrillers by Walter Mosley, Bill Clinton’s favorite mystery writer. At Half Price Books in the Miracle Mile in St. Louis Park, I got a history of American radio and a history of American railroads. And at Barnes and Noble, I scored a deeply discounted coffee table book on 100 years of automobile advertising.

I spent the weekend curled in my chair, barely touching my laptop, reveling in the cozy feeling of reading a book while rain thrummed on the roof. If you’ve had the feeling of digital overdose, why not pay a visit to one of these independent Twin Cities bookstores? And check out these tips for making time to read.