Books are Magic

Have you ever had a day where nothing particularly exciting happens, but the day just sticks with you forever more? Something reminds you of it, and suddenly you’re back there, completely living it all over again?

Image: The Roving on Pinterest

When we were last in NYC, we went out to visit our friends in Cobble Hill, and for no reason at all, that day is probably one of my best examples of such a day. We were over there on holiday, and that admittedly was exciting! But we weren’t doing anything much that day and still somehow it’s right there in my clearest memories. We had coffee with our friend in a local coffee shop, after meeting at his place and seeing his apartment, then Amelie and I took off so he and Hayden could get some work done. It must have been right on Amelie’s lunch nap because I wandered around Cobble Hill until she fell asleep in the Ergobaby on my front, then visited Books are Magic, a bookstore I had walked past on Smith Street during my wanderings. I did know of Books are Magic, and I even knew that one of my favourite authors, Emma Straub, owned it (not sure how – from Cup of Jo maybe?) but I didn’t know it was in Cobble Hill, and I hadn’t been looking for it. It was just luck that I came across it. I spent a happy half hour or so browsing in the store, then left to find some lunch. I ended up buying an excellent grilled cheese sandwich from a cheese shop just down the street (the internet tells me it must have been Tavola Italian Market). While they made my sandwich I looked at cheese and food and was so very happy.

Those few hours – where I wandered Cobble Hill, browsed in a beautiful bookstore, and bought a grilled cheese, all with a sleeping baby on my chest – were so simple yet genuinely rank up there with my most pleasant memories. It all came back to me recently when I was listening to Bad on Paper and they interviewed Emma Straub. I didn’t realise it at the time but when I was in there, Books are Magic had only been open about a month, and there was every chance Emma Straub was actually in there at the time (I wouldn’t have recognised her then but I would now, particularly after reading this house tour with her on Cup of Jo). Physically, I was doing the Mangawhai Cliff Walk in New Zealand at the end of autumn, but mentally I was 100% in Brooklyn again, nearly five years ago, cuddling my baby and looking at books at the beginning of summer. It makes me want to be back there…or at the very least, to buy books and eat cheese.

What are your memories that are powerful in that way? And are they memories of big exciting moments? Or the simple yet intensely pleasurable moments? I’d love to hear!

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