Monday, September 19, 2011

Barnes and Noble or the library that sells coffee

Good old Barnes and Noble had been my favorite study hall for many years.  It is relatively quiet, the muzak is inoffensive, good air conditioning, and they used to have really nice desks and chairs.  After the latest round of book store closures and downsizing - Borders being the latest, most visible failure - B&N has mostly remained the same, although the nice big tables are nowhere to be seen.

Home away from home
Nonetheless, they still have tables at the Starbucks found in most B&N stores, and although small, they are good enough to hold a big outline book, a marker, a pen, and your beverage of choice.  I must admit that I was never a big coffee drinker, although I would pick up a cup of frosty coffee drink before lectures and during studies.  So I picked up my first cup of frappuccino that I've had in a couple of years, and even though I drank it in the early afternoon, I was up until 3 am.  Wow.

Sitting at the stiff little chairs at the local B&N, I looked around at the usual young crowd, the occasional suit wearing sales rep using the free wifi to pull down a few orders and shoot out some emails, a couple of old friends catching up on new gossip, and the students with their SAT, GRE, and other study guides.  I miss studying with friends, although for the last bar exam, I mostly studied alone with the occasional group study session to clear up mutual confusion (or create more).

Out of my original core study group of five, two are still practicing law - one is a judge - one is studying to be a teacher, one is an international business person, and I'm getting ready for the bar again.  I wonder whether our group reflects the common profile.  I should have kept in touch with more of my bar school friends.

After all these years and changes big and small, B&N is still comforting.  It brings back memories of law school and college and exams.  I can almost see myself sitting at the campus library, surrounded by books and fellow students.  I can also focus better when I'm not at home, surrounded by my gadgets, toys, books, TV, and computer.

One thing that I try to do when I'm at B&N is to at least get something to drink to pay for my time there.  I also try not to browse through their inventory too much...I'm sure that their declining book sales and wear and tear on their inventory is what prompted the removal of those nice desks.  It will be sad if/when B&N finally shutters its doors.  I hope that day is far away.

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