Lately I’ve felt overloaded by all the options in Internet reading, streaming, listening and watching. It’s hard not to feel like Lucy racing the speeding conveyor belt in her famous chocolate factory scene. Instead of candy, it’s too many stories pouring down the e-tunnel. Where’s the quality in all that quantity? Choice paralysis sets in.
Overwhelmed, I head to the quirky communal atmosphere of any one of my favorite local independent bookstores. New York City teems with them. Here’s one list.
I’ve got company. It turns out sales of physical books have increased every year since 2013. The number of indie bookshops across America has increased by more than a third from 2009-2015 (all stats from the American Booksellers Association). It’s newly trendy to promote your indie bookshop-loving inner nerd on social media with “shelfies” on #bookstagram. More than 25 million Instagrammers have done it, reports Vox.
Local bookstores are full of surprises and things you would never find without them. Take these “Read Me If You Liked…” brown-paper wrapped books sold at Book Culture on Columbus. Here’s your own psychic librarian. The burden of choice is essentially gone. When you don’t even know what you’re buying, how can you choose wrong? Best of all, you can unwrap it at home like a present.
When you cut out small decisions, you save your bandwidth for the more important things. This year I resolve to choose less.