Goodbye My Love

2 Sep

It’s a sad day for bookselling, at least in the greater New Jersey area. Conshohocken, Pa.-based Atlantic Books is closing the majority of its bookstores in South Jersey, including its two in Ocean City.

Generally I don’t follow the closings of independent booksellers in the U.S., mostly because it would be an arduous task and I don’t feel like crying myself to sleep at night while snuggling with old paperbacks. But I have a special place in my heart for Atlantic Books—I grew up going to its two boardwalk locations in Ocean City. If I were to write out everything I’ve purchased (or had purchased for me) at those stores in the last 20 years, it’d run the gamut from coloring books to Twilight to Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence (what? macroeconomics is great beach reading.)  In other words, this is a major nerd downer for me; Atlantic Books is my CBGB.

I’m particularly sad because this is probably the first year I went to the beach and didn’t pop in for some irresponsible book-buying, so it stands to reason that I may never set food in my childhood book haunts again. Moreover, I had less than secret plans to eventually retire, move to Ocean City, surreptitiously murder the owners of either one or both Atlantic Books boardwalk locations, and quietly assume control of them. Obviously these plans have now been affected and I am currently in the market for a new small bookstore in a sleepy retirement-worthy town that I might take over by force (please leave suggestions in the comments section.)

So I’ll miss you Atlantic Books. I’ll miss perusing your crowded aisles for something to read poolside, in yawning four-hour stretches. I’ll miss coming home from the shore with five more books than I brought, even though I’ve always lived in close proximity to plenty of booksellers. I’ll miss scouring literally rows upon rows of Stephen King books for the perfect one to read until 3 a.m. on the balcony. The beach is the one place I have nothing to do but read (or choose from a paltry selection of basic-cable channels) and Atlantic Books has long been my home favorite bookstore away from home favorite bookstore.

Okay, I’m going to go cry into some paperbacks now.

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