Back in the day when I was suffering through my teenangst years in my small hometown, there was only two places where I could occasionally find the books that would feed my gnawing mind: the local library and an independent bookstore. The bookstore - which still exists - is small and charming and specializes in children's books, Canadian fiction, poetry, native issues, and, to pay the bills - cookbooks, coffee table books, and self-help books. What it and the library didn't have were books on "cultural studies" or the independent alt-pop culture books that I so very much craved at the time. So every chance I was able to get to The Big Smoke, I would wander to Pages Bookstore to browse and splurge on beautiful papery things.
It will be difficult to restrain myself when I get even older from constantly explaining to the children of the Internet that there was a time when - not that long ago - if you lived in a small town, you only got to see blockbuster films and read bestseller books. If wanted anything different from the norm, you had to physically leave town and buy a stockpile of media that would hold you over the months until your next trip into the big city. And if you wanted to express something creative yourself, well then you could photocopy your work, submit a copy to Factsheet 5 for review, and then mail out the copies to those folks curious enough to send a SASE.
Just a reminder that the Internet is fricking awesome.