While wandering through Barnes & Noble at the Americana the other day, it suddenly occurred to me that I would be perfectly happy if Heaven is a giant bookstore. And of course by "bookstore" I mean "bookpalace."
This never-ending store holds every book to ever exist (or is still being published) in every language, alive or dead, while constantly smelling like coffee and old books without the dust. Books are never out of stock or out of print, they're all free, and each one has that slightly worn, slightly "loved" charm of a book from a used bookstore. Although time is irrelevant in the Afterlife, there would be periods of daytime with rich natural sunlight flowing in through huge windows, as well as a nighttime of cozy, warm, soft lighting that never strains the eyes.
And you will always find a chair. Not just any chair, though, a big comfy chair with a blanket that could have been knitted only by your grandma, a cushy ottoman for your feet, and a little table with a lamp next to each one. Some are gathered together for book clubs or socializing in the cafe, others are next to fireplaces and windows, and still others are tucked away in hidden corners only you know about. Whatever seating you want you'll find. For those that love reading outside, the store has beautiful grounds with any number of outdoor lounge chairs or trees for you to lay under, and the weather is always exactly what it should be.
Like any decent bookstore worth its salt, there's an excellent cafe serving the finest coffee, espresso, tea, etc. you could ever want at no charge. In my case, all the Seattle's Best caramel lattes and Starbucks iced white mochas I can drink. You can even get a glass of red wine to sip while enjoying a sexy romance novel (yes, those will be allowed: Heaven doesn't censor). The food menu ranges from homemade fresh-baked pain au chocolat to organic soups and salads to free range organic chicken or vegetable paninis. Since it's Heaven, you can order whatever you want and it'll be just the way you like it. And everything is calorie/fat/sodium/cholesterol/preservative/cruelty free.
No one actually works at the bookstore but anyone will be able to help you find a book. And the book signings... every author imaginable, from Plato to the Apostle Paul to Chaucer to Austen to Tolkien to Rowling, will have regular meet & greets. But conversations will never rise above a gentle hum, despite unending conversations and group discussions. Music will play as well-- whatever music you need to enjoy a good book or relax and sip coffee or discuss esoteric poetic themes and philosophical questions.
Our cats and dogs and other furry friends will wander around, ready to curl up in our laps and have us absentmindedly scratch their ears while we read.
Yes. Heaven is a bookstore.