More than a week ago Borders bookstores went out of business. I made a final run to the few remaining stores in my area to pick what little flesh was left on the corpse. Yes, I’m a vulture, but dammit I’m a loyal one! I was shopping at Borders for years … granted I mostly bought from them only when I had a coupon that garnered 30 – 50% off the cover price but I did buy lots of magazines from them (coupons weren’t good for magazines.) Yes, I bought magazines, rather than buying a cup of coffee and sitting in the cafe for a couple of hours while reading magazines. I may not have been a good customer, but I was still better than most of you! (Points accusingly.)
Anyway, it was an interesting experience shopping at stores that were just short of being abandoned storefronts. Something I noticed was that there were many times I’d go to Borders, a coupon in hand, and walk away with nothing. Somehow, out of all of the hundreds of thousands of books in stock I couldn’t find anything worthwhile. Somehow, with most of the shelves gone and the few that remained standing almost bare, I suddenly found my options much more appealing. I suppose it was somehow due to the options being much more visible without all of the competing titles acting as distracting background noise. The fact that they were selling at 10% of the cover price probably helped, too. That helped make me much less picky in terms of what I bought.
When I say picky, I mean I cast aside all pretense of intellect. Oh, sure, I bought science fiction books, but I became very curious about the ones with covers that emphasized the … softer … side of sci-fi. Will these be pulp crap? Unfortunately marketed works of genius? Who knows?! Some examples:
My gut instinct? Probably going to be crap. That’s okay; I made the mistake of reading a Warhammer 40,000 book once. There’s a good chance I’ll never read these books. The backlog is already massive and at some time in the future I’ll forget I’d bought these on a lark, think some simpleton had slipped them into my collection at some point to embarrass me, and throw them away or trade them to a used bookstore.
I also bought some nonfiction:
- A book about checklists appealed to me as an auditor.
- This analysis of race relations struck me as interesting, especially with the recent opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in DC.
- How could I resist a discussion about the importance of the 1980’s, my favorite decade, on modern culture?
- Admittedly, being honest has caused a lot of problems in my life, but presumably a book about how to transform your life through honesty is about how to make things better.