A Meaningful Place

Common App (Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?)


The soft reminder of warm light, the neat rows of novels and biographies and volumes of poetry against mahogany shelves back to back in a literary continuum… I walk further into Barnes and Noble. Swim in circles around the small brown tables in the center, feel the raised letters of the titles wedged under ‘Books That Make You Think’. I’ve been here a thousand times before and yet still feel the exhilarating serenity of the quiet hum of people, the stacks of unread books, the particular excitement of the aroma of anticipated coffee, each trip a unique euphoria and different exhilaration. I have been here since I was five years old, since my mom let me loose in the children’s section, still jumping and peering and feeling the hard indention of the unbent spines stacked definitely on same, if not higher, wooden shelves.

I walk diagonally and make zigzags, crane my neck, peering curiously at the fresh copy of Harry Potter; experience the illumination of the Great Hall, the swish and flick of wands, the heavy familiarity of the white waiting pages. Jump to get at Sylvia Plath’s evasive Ariel, perched high on the top shelf where only the tips of my fingers graze. Ariel is especially important to me. When I first came pushing home...

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