Lemuria

Once upon a time there was an ancient civilization called Lemuria. The Lemurians held great powers–one of which was the ability to communicate telepathically. But the Lemurians took great pride in themselves and grew arrogant. They displeased the gods who ruled over them and who took away this singular power. However, the Lemurians just turned their great communication skills in another direction and they created the world’s first writings–which became, of course, books.

This weekend we traveled to Jackson, MS to visit husband’s uncle and aunt. Their neighborhood is full of narrow winding roads, lakes and gorgeous homes on forrested lots. You get the feeling that any seed tossed out a window would grow in the fertile Jackson soil.

Jackson is also home to Lemuria, an independent bookstore–a dying breed in these parts.

The first bookstore that I remember here in Franklin was called the Book and Hobby Shop. It was a wonderful place where you could by books about horses and elves and princesses and all the things an eleven year old loves to read about. Over the years, the name changed, but there was always a bookstore there on 4th Ave. I knew that I could always walk in and see someone I knew who could recommend a good book. But even my book-buying habit, and those of many others, couldn’t keep the store afloat. After all, how can one indepedent bookseller compete with the likes of Borders, Barnes and Noble, and the oh-so-aptly named Amazon.com?

So everytime I go to Jackson, my aunt and I make trip to Lemuria. It’s not like going into a retail store at all–more like visiting the slightly untidy living room of a good friend. The books aren’t necessarily on shelves. They tend to be stacked a little haphazardly–just like at my house. And it’s easy to see that the books weren’t choosen from a corporate spreadsheet. Mississippi writers have prominent placement. And why not? From Faulkner to Welty to the much-maligned but oh-so-entertaining Grisham to my favorite Jimmy Buffet, Mississippi has produced nearly as many top-notch writers as it has Miss Americas.

Lemuria makes me want to read. Borders just makes me want to cry. They have a habit of slapping a big 30% Off sticker up in the corner of the books it really wants you to buy. Trouble is, the stickers obscure the name of the book and the author. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they’d do that. I asked one time and just got a Franklin version of the gallic shrug.

But I can’t avoid the chains altogether. Jackson is 7 hours away. I bought a good supply–it’ll last me a month or more. But sooner or later I’ll be back at Barnes. Or Borders and Noble. Or whatever they’re called–it’s hard to tell them apart.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Lemuria

  1. Julie Fisher

    Franklin Booksellers (isn’t that the name?) is 5 minutes away. And Davis Kidd is 30 minutes away. Can’t live without a shot of Davis Kidd now and then.
    And yes, Barnes and Noble is horrible, dispicable, gross, ridiculous. Nobody working there seems to know books or authors, and maybe they don’t even read. I love to hate Barnes and Noble! More than once I have gone there looking for the latest PULITZER PRIZE winning book, only to be told they didn’t have it. Amazing response!!!
    I too remember the Book and Hobby shop–I could walk there from our house, and it was one of the first pluses I noted when we moved to Franklin. I thought that even if snow was two feet deep I could still get myself to a bookstore. And the funkiness of the place was first rate.

  2. hereinfranklin

    The bookstore downtown specializes in used books…I’m always afraid that if I buy an old book that someone has sneezed on it. (Yes, I realize that that is a borderline psychotic affliction, but it’s true.) And D-K is just so big…but, it’s better than the national chains.

  3. Mother

    Book & Hobby was a favorite place for many in Franklin. It was owned by a wonderful couple. The wife is in her 90’s and still mentally sharp as a tack – she lives in an assisted living facilty in Franklin. The creator of this blog was always one of her favorite people so I am sending her a copy by snail mail. She will love it.

  4. sherwoodisland

    This is a great post, Cindy! I love going to Lemuria, too.

    Last week I went to Borders, looking for interesting nonfiction for the 8 year old. It was pathetic. The selection was bad, and about a third of the NF section was devoted to $20 “science kits,” in which the plastic contents are worth about 3 cents total. Plastic contents that often DON’T WORK, I should add. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t some books in a bookstore be more appropriate?

  5. Seth R.

    I love Lemuria, too. My dad is good friends with the owner, John Evans, and we always try to pay him a visit when we’re down there. I must admit, though, that I’m one of Amazon’s steady customers. I know, I know…shame on me.

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