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Friday
Dec142012

Why Book Stores Depress Me

As much as I love libraries (I'm writing this from the Manchester library with 20 minutes to go till closing), I discovered last year that book stores tend to depress me.

I received a gift certificated for my birthday for Barnes and Noble, and in the process of deciding which book (s) to buy, I actually became depresssed...for two reasons.

In looking through the history and biography section, I realized that there are so many great books in print, I will never live long enough to read them all (esepcially if I insist on rereading John Irving and Kurt Vonnegut).

As if that wasn't depressing enough, I became even sadder as I walked around the bookstore and discovered so much printed trash (one man's trash is another man's treasure, but there were heaps and heaps of trash, in my humble opinion).

I espcially remember trash from famous people.  There was one picture book of a man who has made it as a big time singer....Bubble or something...I think I'd seen him on Saturday Night Live.

Imagine, a book totally dedicated to glossy pictures of a pretty boy singer!

Dozens of such trashy items faced me, and before I could become any more depressed (after all, everyone has a right to read or buy any trash they choose, and bookstores after all, cater to what people want), I grabbed the new biography of Catherine the Great and left.

Well, another birthday has come and gone, and I just received another gift certificate.  Expecting it, I had scoped out Barnes and Nobles a few weeks ago, and sure enough, there were many, many books I should read.  I deliberately avoided the trashy ones.

I came up with a list, but as I go back to Barnes and Nobles after I leave the library, I think I've decided on Jon Meacham's new biography of Thomas Jefferson (The Art of Power).  Hopefully, it's a cricial look at one of the most sublime hypocrites in American history.  Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with Jefferson; I admire the man's ideas, but he never lived up to most of them.  As I used to introduced myself on my old TV show, "I am more Jeffersonian than Jefferson."

Novel come and come; I can whip through a lengthy one in a few days, so here's a confession....I don't buy them.

However, the Jefferson bio should be worth keeping.

There's also a new book of Kurt Vonnegut's letters, but as much as I like Vonnegut, I don't think I should contribute any more to his estate.

There's also a new biorgraphy of a man who's come up a lot in my reading about Lincoln and Salmon Chase.  It's William Seward, Lincoln's Indispensable Man.

But I think I'll grab the Jefferson bio and get out of Barnes and Nobles as quickly as possible, so I can get home and finish Last Night In Twisted River and get on to A Widow For One Year (maybe even Son of the Circus).  I'm back in a holiday world of John Irving.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

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Reader Comments (1)

I can relate, Steve. But wait till you check out the ONLINE bookstores -- which you probably already have done. There are millions of books you'll never live long enough to read.

I feel the same thing about movies, and travel. I can't see them all. I can't go to all the places I'd like to visit. So when I get the itch, I go to "Earthcam.com" to go somewhere, and see it on a livecam. At least I'm "there" for a few minutes. And while I can't see all the movies, there are movie clips.

I wish you'd write and publish. You're a great writer, and you have fascinating things to say. I'd like to see a novel you've written -- I bet it would be exciting, have unpredictable plot twists, and have a bang bang ending. Get to it. Time is running out for us!
December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Splaine

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