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While People Wander Bookstore, Their Minds May Wander Far Away

There probably are people who could be out walking around on an autumn Sunday afternoon and pass by a bookstore without going in.

You just wouldn’t want to hang out with any of them. That’s because someone who doesn’t enjoy browsing in a bookstore lacks one of the genes that make people interesting companions.

Or at least that’s one theory.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people who love strolling between the shelves. And a couple dozen of them were at Auntie’s Bookstore Sunday at about a quarter past 3.

A guy in an understated black leather jacket knelt on the wood floor and flipped through a Patrick O’Brian seafaring novel.

A teenage girl picked up a copy of Shape magazine. “Lose 10 Pounds Instantly.”

Then, after putting that down, she appeared to study the cover of an international edition of Cosmopolitan. “Adulterio: Diario de un affaire clandestino.”

A man shaped like a globe examined a copy of “Casual Day Has Gone Too Far,” a Dilbert collection.

An elderly woman squatted with surprising ease and reached for a book on a bottom shelf in the “Mysteries” aisle.

Three college-age girls speaking Japanese seemed amused by something.

In the children’s section, a young woman in jeans and a pea-green sweater smiled as she handled a volume called “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed.”

The recorded sound of Christmas songs played on a guitar filled the big store.

A tall Christmas tree stood as a shopping-days reminder. And from the overlooks upstairs, you could stare down on the store’s main floor and watch people move from section to section in what seemed like slow time-lapse motion.

The thing about bookstores is that not only are they fun, they’re flattering, too. The assumptions people make about those they see in bookstores tend to be positive.

Maybe it’s not deserved. But standing in a bookstore makes you look like someone acquainted with the life of the mind.

A few minutes after 4 o’clock, the light outside was fading. Drivers passing on Main and Washington had their car lights on. But it was still warm and bright inside.

A guy dressed in a “University of Michigan” hat and jacket was on his way out of the store. Yes, he said, people were stopping him to talk about the Rose Bowl.

The espresso machine in the adjacent cafe snorted.

Someone looking at 1998 calendars laughed and said that she had found one Gene would love.

, DataTimes MEMO: Being There is a weekly feature that looks at Inland Northwest gatherings.

Being There is a weekly feature that looks at Inland Northwest gatherings.