For the Love of Books

Cape Cod Life  /  June 2023 / ,

Writer: Susanna Graham-Pye

Edgartown Books The Cape’s literary options thrive across our region. While the movie You’ve Got Mail, a riff on the 1940 film Shop Around the Corner, is a tale of romance between Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the story is far more a love letter to reading, an ode to the little book shops in our lives where we go to find the characters and stories that enrich their lives. It’s about swinging open familiar doors, the tinkling bell heralding our arrival, greetings from familiar voices, and being met with that singular new book smell. These are the spaces where we find new places, new worlds and experiences, thoughts and revelations, things brought to us from across time. As physicist and author Carl Sagan once wrote, “books are proof humans are capable of working magic.” These are the places we can find that magic and talk about the wonder of it with others who’ve found it too. In the movie, as a mega bookstore rises around the corner from Kathleen’s little neighborhood shop, her soon to be replaced boyfriend, Frank (Greg Kinnear) tells her: “Kathleen, you are a lone reed. You are a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce.” Thankfully, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, have plenty of “reeds,” each as unique as the town in which it’s found, and each deeply rooted in the creative, inquisitive, and independent nature of the people who live here.   Community, loyalty, tradition, connection, these are but a few of the words that pepper conversations about how indie bookstores have survived the age of audibles and downloads and online big fish gobbling up the minnows. “I think our local bookstores offer an intellectual intimacy that you don’t get anywhere else,” says Mathew…

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Susanna Graham-Pye