Books, Libraries, Local Booksellers

I am the type of guy that is reading 10-12 books at a time.  A few paragraphs there, a chapter here, etc.  Since stepping into our mindfulness project the public library has been getting more attention from me.  There a few edges with this choice that I am trying to get comfortable with.

First there is issue of actually getting to the library.  Our hometown book haven is a 30 minute drive from home.  So ok, I go when I am otherwise “going to town”.  Cutting down on extraneous trips, and planning ahead to cover many purposes in one trip is a feature of a great deal of our minding where we go, how often and what for.  Then there is selecting the books – wandering isles can be fun and yield unexpected treasures.  I am still figuring out the library website and on-line catalog.  There is waiting for the volume I want to be checked in (another corollary to Murphy’s Law seems to be: the book I want is the one someone is persistently forgetting to return).  But, there again, I have developing a greater friendship with patience as another of my ambitions.  Finally, there’s the issue of books I want that our library does not have.  Interlibrary loan can work but represents another blessing in the dance with patience.  New works?  Usually means waiting a couple of years.  Yet on balance, the benefits of using the library make this generally well worthwhile.

There is saving money, always a good start.  There is becoming aware of community events, typically offered at or advertised by the library.  There is also the phenomena of meeting real people with whom to share ideas.  It’s a place where you bump into old friends and discover new ones lurking in the stacks.

There are still some books I will find justification for purchasing.  Typically they are references in the “how to” genre.  Now since, among other things, I am learning to become “the gentleman farmer” (I am not sure why this characterization appeals to me), when I find a book like  “Home Grown Pantry”,  I am likely to dog ear, underline, annotate, and highlight enough to make purchasing one seem like good manners.

Well ok, I have justified the purchase, now where to cast the required donero.  Amazon is a very convenient place to shop and prices are typically good.  However, there is a seamy underside to serpents from this particular jungle.  I have just reviewed a sobering podcast “The Amazon-ization of the Nation and its Long Term Consequences” at  By virtue of the fact that Amazon has access to enough funding that they don’t have to make a profit on what the sell they can out compete any independent bookseller.  We have seen  the demise of many community bookstores.  The town I work in lost two book stores this year.  So my favorite independent and local bookshop, “Maria’s” will get this order.  It will cost a few more bucks, I will have to wait a while longer, (another gifting of required patience), and I’ll have to spend time on the phone, or in person, actually talking to another human being that lives in my community.  Very old fashioned, I know.  It is however, satisfying in a way that “one-click” shopping is not.

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