Sunday, 19 August 2001
This morning, I woke up before Jackie. That hardly ever happens. Whenever it does, I seize the opportunity to make Jackie bed coffee.
The plan was for us to meet Richard and Katy at Pages for All Ages. We even checked the yellow pages to make sure that Pages was open at 9:00. Except they weren't.
The woman who wouldn't let us in said that "for the summer" they were opening at 10:00 on Sundays. If their logic was that they didn't do enough business from 9:00-10:00 on Sundays, it's a pretty good example of how wrong-headed such thinking can be. By advertising hours and then not keeping them, they've taken one more step down a long decline from a great local bookstore, to a good local bookstore, to a local bookstore, to . . . something else. To one of those slipshod local shops that you'll still go into sometimes because they've got neat stuff, but that you don't actually shop at because they can't be relied upon to be open or to have the basic things you might go there for.
Pages used to be a great bookstore. They used to be in Champaign, about a thirty-minute walk from our apartment. But they decided to contribute to sprawl and moved out of Champaign to a new, bigger location built on what had been farmland just a year or two before. Before they moved, we had never purchased a book from Amazon.com and rarely went to Barnes and Noble or Borders. Even after, I tried to give them my business. Twice this year didn't buy a book I saw at Barnes and Noble, only to find that Pages didn't have it. Now I just buy books wherever I see them first.
With our plan for the morning shot, we improvised. We drove into downtown Champaign, bought the New York Times at a convenience store, then went to Cafe Kopi for coffee and conversation. (We ended up not getting any of the paper read before Dad and Katy left.)
No writing today. There would have been time today after my Dad and Katy left, but I spent it finishing Hartwell's Year's Best SF 6. (I ordered both it and Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction 18 from the Science Fiction Book Club and the Hartwell arrived first.) I've been working on it for days, just reading little bits of it when I had a spare moment. Today I finally took a block of time and finished it. Lots of good stories.
Besides the anthology, I had time to start Neil Gaiman's American Gods which is off to a great start. And Jackie and I watched "Chasing Amy," which we hadn't seen. So, no writing, but the time didn't go to waste.