Booking a missed opportunity

An event that should set my heart aflutter, lift my feet off the ground and whisk me away to another euphoric reality instead brings me wistful contentment.

The annual San Diego Book Crawl is this weekend.

Aside from the obvious reasons that are the cause for mild consternation—a limited budget and lack of square footage to store the stacks of books I already own—I don’t enjoy the event as much as I should because of a certain familiarity.

The San Diego Book Crawl is a promotional event in which independent bookstores work together to attract bibliophiles and casual readers to their stores.

Throughout the weekend shoppers are afforded an opportunity to collect stamps on a passport that will earn them a prize based on the number of stores they visit and money they spend.

The treasures are humble. Canvas tote bags, pins, stickers. These are independent bookstores after all. And they are, as the name suggests and you might imagine, concentrated in the city of San Diego.

But not all of them.

In years past there have been participating shops in North County and Coronado.

By now I recognize most of the stores on the list. Among this year’s participating vendors I have been to a majority of them.The new ones are an opportunity to discover a new neighborhood or community and, of course, source of pleasure.

But I have yet to find a participating store that is based in Chula Vista or National City. And that is what leaves me feeling, at times, deflated.

If there is an indie book store in Chula Vista or National City I haven’t seen it.

I’m not suggesting that all independent book dealers worth knowing participate in the book crawl. One of my favorite shops has consistently avoided participation. If there are South County stores that I’m missing I will gladly admit my ignorance and visit whatever mom and pop book dealer has been eluding me all of these years.

But in putting together my list of stores to visit this year and planning my shopping route I can’t help but feel that I have missed an opportunity to discover a new facet of Chula Vista and National City with which I wasn’t familiar.