Monday, July 24, 2006


Mondays are good days... do catch-up work. I always balance checkbooks and scan bank statements and return all emails and phone messages on Mondays. This makes me feel virtuous, hard-working, and more importantly, free for another week from these minor business-maintenance obligations. And I'm always ridiculously pleased that I manage to stay in business week after week, particularly after sending in my sales tax and paying the second half of the year's shop insurances.

Selections from the past week's sales slips: Easy Malay Vocabulary (an oxymoron? can it really be easy?), Mongolian Grammar (same customer), a nice collection of the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, a book on early American cookery, Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses, Krakauer's Into Thin Air, Betty Edwards's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (one of the best basic art books I know of, one I always try to keep in stock), an early history of the Boston Braves baseball team, a fat hardcover of Plato's Dialogues, a biography of Wordsworth, The Art of the Printed Book (one I can let go because I already have a copy at home), a few true antiquarian books that shall remain nameless to protect the man who spent too much, many other odds and ends. I love providing good books, sitting back, and then observing what people actually purchase. I think browsing in used bookshops is one way of learning to trust your instincts and listen to the call of your soul - what do I need to know at this point in my life, what is essential? - the browser sorts, rejects, and chooses, and comes away with something he or she has always been interested in and never had the opportunity to follow up on. Malay vocabulary, the Boston Braves. I'm a big believer in self-education by reading, that over time reading leads us organically from one interest to the next in a natural and cumulative evolution of intelligence. A personal curriculum for one, determined by that one. I will continue to provide books on learning Malay, if I can, and I hope people will keep buying them.

On an unrelated (and less high-falutin') note, the local vandals and huns must have had a busy weekend, because I saw lots of new graffiti around town this morning. Most of it is not suitable for mixed company, but... sometimes I sit in the park and read or write in my journal before opening the shop, and written on the particular park bench I favor was this : "BUSH IS A PUPPY KICKER." Need I say more.

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