February 25, 2006

Upstairs and downstairs, at the Madison Borders.

I was just wandering around Borders today, sipping a large latte, glancing at the occasional book. I was certainly not looking to buy any books, because, in fact, I was taking a break from my house clearing project which, in the last few days, has been mostly about getting rid of books.

Upstairs, three perfectly vibrant young boys, aged perhaps 5 to 9, were sprawled out in the middle of the aisle next to the children's books section. They were completely excited about a book called "The Visual Dictionary of Special Military Forces," which was full of pictures of military weaponry:
"I want that gun."

"That's only for the military."

"Is that a machine gun?"

"It's a submachine gun."

"I love them!"
I've never seen kids in a bookstore reading a book so enthusiastically. Later, I saw the boys leaving with their father, and one of them was clutching a big illustrated "Star Wars" book.

Downstairs, there's a stooped, grizzled man at the information desk looking for books on American Communism. The clerk says the computer search system is "very literal," so unless those words are in the title of the book, it's going to be difficult.

Did you find everything you were looking for?


Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Anonymous said...

Did you find everything you were looking for?

Sadly, Francis Fukuyama and William Buckley did not. Both now have buyers remorse. Can they still return their stupid illegal war?

Have you found the national security that you were looking for?, or are you still running counter to most Americans?

john(classic) said...

I read a lot. I used to spend hideous amounts at the book stores.

That has changed. First came Amazon. For my purposes, Amazon's tools to find books -- "Others who read this liked..." , "we recommend", "Reader's lists.." were better than my previous method -- sidling up to someone in the same section of the store and asking "Read anything good lately?". So Amazon got my money.

Then came the discovery of the South Central Library System. Now i sit at my browser with two windows open every few days -- one open to Amazon where I select my books, the other to the library system where I order them. Amazon only gets the "Gee, I really would like to get this new book, but there is a waiting list" purchases.

The library system gives me 1-2 day service, and probably has about a 90% hit rate. Augmented by the UW library I am substantially covered. (Only weak area between the two of them is things military).

Between Netflix and the library system, we have made it through the winter. (Winter recommendation: an occasional Bollywood movie, bright colorful, warm, -- the antidote for a Wisconsin winter).

Ann Althouse said...

Noumenon: "Please start a "Hating on Ann Althouse" blog..."

Because we really need more of those! At least I can keep an eye on him over here. And he did use some wit in weaving in his comments. Also, my tagline (with its link) was an open invitation. It wasn't like that guy in the Sex Pistols post!

John: That resonates with me, because I've been spending the last week sorting vast numbers of books into what I will keep (ie, continue to use my living space to store) and what I will sell at Half Price Books. I went food shopping today just to get more shopping bags to put books in to lug out of the house. I will ultimately, in three trips, have taken out about 30 shopping bags full of books. This has been a huge task!

Still, of the books I'm keeping, I do like having them at hand. I look forward to having a much stronger concentration of books I think I will actually take out and read. And I like having the actual book that I did read available, especially since, with a book I got a lot out of, there are good markings in margines.

NB. The first post on this blog is about marginalia.

Ann Althouse said...

"Perhaps the "stooped, grizzled man" isn't happy..."

Well, the man was undeniably grizzled. As for "stooped," in writing, it does look like it might be pronounced "stupid."

Ann Althouse said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Don't you think I made the original post political?

reader_iam said...

I got the political subtext, but both vignettes could have nothing to do with politics and be opposite to the implication (and in the case of the boys, that seems pretty typical to me, even among the offpsring of far-left progressives sometimes, however much the parents might dislike it.)

reader_iam said...

What struck me most was the clerk talking about the "literalism." Aren't bookstore clerks somewhat widely knowledgeable anymore?