Don’t people read around here?

We’ve been through this before. Looking for a bookstore in the Houghton Lake area I mean. It was back when the older beach urchin had become an independent reader. This was a kid who couldn’t even endure the one-and-a-half mile ride from the Landfill to the Westgate Kroger [no uscan then] without dragging along a stack of books.

We were up here at Houghton Lake one weekend and she had totally run out of reading material. No books? A crisis! We set off on a bookstore reconnaissance mission and we were in luck! There was a little bookstore, Lighthouse Books or something like that, in the brand-new Glen’s strip mall. It wasn’t Border’s but we did find a few books. I think we bought, among other things, one of the American Girls series books. It was one of her first chapter books and I actually remember wondering if it would be too hard for her. What was I thinking? If my memory is accurate, she devoured it in a matter of hours.

Alas, that little store only lasted a year or two and here we are again, in the 21st century, looking for a bookstore at Houghton Lake. The GG googled bookstores in the area and an unlikely sounding result placed one in “the heights”. Roight. Houghton Lake Heights has the run-down old Turtle Soup Bar (and a couple others) and a post office and something called “Jane’s”. Could that be it? He couldn’t remember the name The Google had dredged up but this place didn’t look likely. It looked more like a typical run-down sinking-into-the-ground lakeside dwelling than a storefront. There was a “closed” sign in the window and a guy who was probably not “Jane” was sitting out in front smoking a cigarette. No, probably not a bookstore.

Well, maybe he had the location wrong, he thought. Maybe it’s over on 55. Just past Federal. We hung a left onto 55 and slowly moseyed along for a couple of miles looking for possibilities. Seedy looking bars. Abandoned antique stores. Go-kart tracks. Bart’s Fruit Market. A Shell station where we paid $4.09 to fill ‘er up. Bookstore? Not.

Now, we have Kmart and Walmart here and they both probably have a book rack where you can get the latest paperback bestseller or romance novel or maybe a nice self-help book. Or a book with a numeral in the title. And the GG has been known to read a few books with numerals in the titles. But he wanted something specific today. I’m not sure what. He’s *been* reading Horatio Hornblower all weekend, for the second or third time. Anyway, whatever he was looking for was probably not available at Walmart and after hiking in the woods at Beaver Creek all morning, we didn’t have the psychic stamina to join the rest of middle-America there on a Saturday afternoon. Sorry but I don’t need any dog Halloween costumes today.

So what is it with this area? Doesn’t anybody around here read?

7 Responses to “Don’t people read around here?”

  1. Dog Momster Says:

    I remember asking myself the same question on a business trip to El Paso a few years back. “Beautiful” new mall – no bookstores to be found, not even a book rack in the drugstore inside the mall! Went back to the hotel and asked the front desk and they pointed me to a Barnes & Noble… a stand-alone store, seemed to be the ONLY bookstore in the entire, huge border city!

    Needless to say, as nice as it was to visit, I don’t have plans to ever live there, not if I can’t find real books excepting at one solitary chain store…

  2. Ian McKillop Says:

    I realise it was a weekend but the library next to the High School is an excellent source of books…….granted it’s not a bookstore and I agree that if you want a new book, your choices are pretty much limited to WalMart and K-Mart.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    Mr. McKillop brings up a very good point and I have to apologize for the title. I know people are not illiterate around here.

    I should also confess that we (the GG and I) had a bit of further discussion about the lack of bookstores around here and one of our conclusions is that a lot of us who visit mostly for weekends are probably bringing our reading material here with us and therefore haven’t been very supportive of attempts to establish local bookstores. Hardware stores are another matter!

  4. Pooh Says:

    I too was thinking about public libraries, but Ian beat me to it. I remember fondly going to the old Carnegie Library in the Soo, and climbing those (totally non-ADA compliant) steps. We spent a summer or three inhaling the bibliographies of famous Americans. I like the new library too, but it is not quite the edifice that the old one was. However, it is the setting for parts of “Ursula, Under” by Ingrid Hill, an excellent read.

  5. Maquis Says:

    I love Horatio Hornblower!

  6. jane Says:

    feel free to try the new I guess there are a couple of hiccups in it currently, but they should be fixed soon. although a ton of people got laid off in IT last week… so maybe not that soon.

  7. fran Says:

    I love Hornblower too and the GG is reading my books just as I do every year or so.