“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”
American poet, Nancy Byrd Turner (1880-1971)
One of the great fun things in life is popping into a used-book store and exploring the shelves, finding old friends and making new ones. Our local is B Street Books, a brave little independent that’s managed to keep its doors open when so many others are forced to close down. If you live in San Mateo, California and haven’t been there, do go. Wherever you live in this world, be sure to support independent bookstores, whether they sell new and/or used books. They are as necessary to the spirit of democracy as schools and libraries.
“The replacement of independent bookstores by firms such as Barnes & Noble, Waterstones or Borders superficially provided a wide range of reading, but their policies further limited choice.” Sara Ayad,
B Street Books’ owner and staff put together a reading challenge for 2018. It’s the bookish equivalent of Dr. Terry Wahl‘s functional-medicine challenge to eat two-hundred different fruits and veggies over the course of the year, something to force explorations beyond the easy, obvious and/or habitual.
“Read a book,” the B Street team encourage …
- published in the year you were born;
- published more than 200 years ago;
- written by someone with the same initials as yours;
- longer than 500 pages;
- shorter than 100 pages;
- in a genre you don’t usually read;
- based on the cover art;
- that challenges your views;
- that you were supposed to finish in high school;
- recommended by a friend;
- recommended by a child;
- on which a movie is based;
- with a one-word title;
- that you loved as a youngster;
- that is set in or near your home town;
- that has won a Pulitzer Prize; and,
- that you bought a B Street Books.
The books I started out with this year are the ones I got for Christmas from my son:
- The Art of Stillness, Adventures in Going Nowhere by the travel writer, Pico Iyer
- Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War and God by Will Durant, historian and philosopher
I’ve linked you to Amazon for these books but that doesn’t mean you can’t scope them out at your local independent or check with Steve (below) to see if he has copies available.
Speaking of independents:
Scholar and Poet Books
Steve Wiencek helped out with the September 2016 issue of The BeZine, which addressed environmental issues. You can read his feature article, Nature … Place … Community HERE. Steve says of his independent online store: “We are experienced book, music and video sellers. Our extensive and varied inventory includes a large collection of classical music CDs, LPs and sheet music; colorful and hard-to-find vintage GGA pulp fiction paperbacks; vintage children’s books and more! Find us and like us on Facebook, please!”