A Magical World of Books and So Much More

Trevor Antle, Guest Columnist

Looking to escape the rain, the dark brick overhang and enormous glass windows entice me to enter. A looping soundtrack of quaint jazz songs plays throughout Barnes & Noble as I encounter hundreds of books.

Near the entrance of the store, comic-book heroes, worlds of fiction, and manga attract an array of customers.  I see various complex architectural techniques in the arches and pillars. For some reason, I note the distinct sound of my shoes rustling against the carpet and the continuous spiraling pattern.

Rain begins to overwhelm my ears. I peer at the busy afternoon traffic from glass windows lined with light-green wallpaper. Warm colors of comic books and board games beckon me.

Comic book heroes, Star Wars characters, and shelves upon shelves of manga compete for my attention. Plastered above the items are posters of iconic authors and their famous works. I make my way to the mystery novel section as John Steinbeck stares me down.

The continuous rain drowns out the beautiful jazz. My drenched light-brown Sperry’s shuffle against the dark green carpet as I make my way to the far end of the store.

Trinity senior Trevor Antle

In the children’s book section, I encounter  tables of Harry Potter merchandise. On display are original books as well as newer versions with every cover printed. Most of the items in the section are not books, however, but miscellaneous merchandise.

The yellow and purple wrapping paper moves me to see what product is on sale — chocolate-covered magical frogs. A rainbow of clothing catches my eye — house shirts of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw all on display. I make my way from this section, questioning why there are so many nonsense items for sale.

The children’s section welcomes patrons into a unique semi-circular stage. Wooden beams support the stage. Behind the stage is a detailed painting of a scene. Winnie the Pooh chases a cherry-red balloon on the beams. A pair of owls make their way to the edge of the forests as several families of rabbits scavenge for food. The landscape painting reaches an abrupt end at the white square ceiling tiles.

Candles, a rainbow of calm-colored bath bombs, and light pink blankets get my attention.

On the back wall of the section is a progression that starts with simple picture books and ends with detailed chapter books. More merchandise beckons me to the middle of the area, filled with stuffed animals, puzzles, and Cat-in-the-Hat hats.

Again I pass a vast array of Harry Potter merchandise into the center of the store. Blinding white LED lights illuminate the wooden arches, drawing customers to this area. Candles, a rainbow of calm-colored bath bombs, and light pink blankets get my attention.

The dark-gray shelving card posted above the bookshelves reads “Personal Growth.” These items yearn to offer their peaceful wisdom. Soon I make my way to the very center of the store, where I find a buzzing coffee shop — a Starbucks unlike any I had seen before.

The hissing of the coffee pots and yelling barista earn my attention. On the outside of the shop, a railing of dark-green metal blocks off the elevated platform where the seating resides.

Above the coffee-brown cushion seating on the back wall, there is an abstract 1920s mural of a coffee shop plastered on the back wall.

Pondering the reason for this abstract work, I navigate my way out of the store along the dark-green carpet into the pitter-patter of the rain.