Thursday, March 22, 2012

What A Way To Go

There’s a new book store here in Our Little Town.

It’s a used book store. It’s run by a nice little old lady who actually knows her way around books and has a good sense of what should be in a book store, so it’s not stuffed to the gunwales with coverless Harlequins and 1970s-vintage thrillers. And it’s three blocks from my house.

I’m doomed.

But it will be a pleasant kind of doom, rather like being pressed to death by supermodels, but in a non-marriage-threatening sort of way.

It’s more or less summer here in Baja Canada – we’ve had over a week of 80-degree-plus temperatures (this is not nearly as impressive in metric numbers, which is one reason why the metric system has not really caught on here in Merrka: Hell Yeah! Another reason is that we must be collectively dumb as a box of hammers) and I’m seriously thinking that I may have to mow the lawn sometime soon. We’ve already made multiple pilgrimages to the neighborhood soft-serve ice cream joint, and I’ve tested the a/c in my car more than once.

It’s a good thing the climate isn’t shifting, because otherwise, you know, I’d be worried.

This week is also Spring Break down at Home Campus. Unfortunately our break doesn’t correspond to the public school system’s break (in two weeks), so it’s been pretty low key for us. But today Kim decided to stay home, having no meetings on her schedule, and to celebrate the fine weather and mutual otherwise-uncommitted time we went for a walk down to the new book store to see the not-so-new books.

Oh my.

I found several treasures, including a memoir by a WWI spy (published in 1933) that looked randomly interesting. Kim found a pile of novels. We ended up lugging home a bag of books heavy enough to cause spinal curvature, all for less than the cost of a decent lunch.

I am so doomed.


Phiala said...

I live in a major college town. We have no used bookstore. We have no indie bookstore. We do have a comic shop though. But other than that it's the campus bookstore, a B&N, and a few purveyors of academic-logoed crap that also have a book or two.


David said...

I live in a major college town. We have no used bookstore. We have no indie bookstore.

No, no you do not. By definition. The last two sentences obviate the first.

Seriously, though, what kind of college town isn't swimming in used book stores?

John the Scientist said...

Seriously, though, what kind of college town isn't swimming in used book stores?

You've never visited Happy Valley, have you?

Penn State's home town is a monument to college ball and not much else.

I'm sorry Phiala, but I have a deep suspicion of Penn State grads, and it's not just my fealty to Pitt talking.

Just as Joe Pa created this inbred program where Penn State grads were hired and owed everything to him, so do Penn State grads tend to make these little enclaves wherever they go to hire and protect their own.

U Conn does very similar things. My institution used to hire hjeavily from both schools. Both groups got very perturbed in the late 90s when we started to hire from instutitions such as MIT, Stanford, and even OSU and Pitt. Personally, I don't think it's any coincidence our scientific standing in the Industry went up as we brought in talent from outside those two schools.

I think that lack of interest in the wider world, and even fear of it, also manifests itself in the lack of curiosity that does not create a used book market in Happy Valley.

David said...

I have actually been to Happy Valley, but I never really got a chance to explore the place - it was part of a choir exchange we had when I was with the Heinz Chapel Choir at Pitt, and all we did was sing, sleep and go home.

It doesn't sound like I missed much.

John the Scientist said...

I forget, did our time in Puttsburgh overlap?

David said...

I don't remember, John. I was at Pitt from fall 1989 through fall 1991, and I stayed in Pittsburgh until summer 1993.

I liked it there. It's a very nice city to live in.

John the Scientist said...

We did overlap. I was there from fall 1991 to summer 1998.