A livraria num apocalipse

Some mornings I walk into the store, lock the door behind me, and let the burden of all that needs to be done fade away for a moment. I stand in the bookstore and take it in. (Calling it my bookstore feels presumptuous. It’s not mine; it belongs to everyone who walks in.) I don’t love the smell of books (if only we could charge people for exclaiming, “Oh, I love the smell of books!” when they enter), but I do love the sight of them neatly arranged, a glimmer of order in an entropic universe, even as a thin layer of dust has settled on the untouched regions of the store over the past few months.

And then I mentally rearrange the bookstore: shifting tables, removing shelves, culling stock, all in an effort to imagine what browsing a bookstore in a post-pandemic world will be like. How many customers can this small store safely accommodate? How do we disinfect books? Do we disinfect books? How do we ensure social distancing? And masks: Where to begin with masks?

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