By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Much Ado About Something
“There’s nothing to do in Abilene” has to be one of the most commonly used phrases on campus. I admit, I’ve said it quite often myself.
We will always be told that it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s whom you do it with, but us students know that’s not completely true. We know that you can only watch so many movies, play so many games of Spades and go to Chili’s so many times. After a while it gets old, no matter who you hangout with.
It’s not that we need an amusement park in Abilene, or an ice skating rink or more restaurants. We need somewhere we can go just to hang out with our friends. A place that will spur interesting conversations, a place where we can be comfortable hanging out for a few hours without spending a ton of money.
We need a bookstore.
Many people might be asking right now: Why on earth would we want to hang out at a bookstore?
These people obviously have never had the experience of browsing through aisles and aisles of books, absorbing that unique new book smell while sipping coffee and chatting with a friend.
Not only are bookstores great places to hang out, they also happen to be great study sites. When would anyone be more inspired to study than when surrounded by books and people reading? And the library doesn’t count; you have to have the new book scent, not the musty, sleepy library aroma.
I am aware of only two bookstores in Abilene, and I would hesitate to label one as an actual bookstore.
Waldenbooks at the Mall of Abilene is a bookstore by definition, and it can boast of the new book scent, but the store is miniscule, but not cozy and becomes crowded quickly.
With a small selection and an unappealing location, Waldenbooks does not make the cut.
The other “bookstore” is Hastings. However, I find it difficult to get into the spirit of book-browsing under fluorescent lights and surrounded by music and movie paraphernalia. The loud music, movie rental section and unorganized setup do not contribute to the atmosphere.
The best bookstores have a cozy feel to them. They can be large or small and sell used or new books, but they must have a relaxing atmosphere. Gentle background music, plump chairs and a built-in coffee shop are also quite nice additions.
My sophomore year, a friend and I had to make a quick trip to Dallas. At the end of our trip we had to arrange a meeting spot with someone, and we chose a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I have to be honest, my friend and I ended up arriving at the meeting spot several hours early, simply to catch up on our book-browsing. We shouldn’t have to drive to Dallas to find books. Abilene is a college town; it should be filled with bookstores.
We don’t need a Best Buy; we don’t need a Ross; we don’t need another Chick-Fil-A. We need a bookstore. I’m calling all students remotely interested in reading to please write to Borders, Barnes and Noble and any other book store you can think of. Tell the companies of the great need of bookstores in Abilene. Maybe if we tell them, they will come.