March 16, 2018 Today’s book: Dan Harris’ Meditation for Fidgety Sketpics. This book follows up on his popular 10% Happier which I confess I never read but meant to. Harris’ new book hooks me right from the start on trying meditation once again because he expresses much the same doubts and feelings I’ve had about it. He shows how reasonable and valuable meditation is from the get go. I’ll start immediately. He has to fill out a couple hundred pages beyond the initial “Case for Meditation” so the book itself becomes a sort of meditation. Reader, try it. You’ll like it.
March 15, 2018 The Ides of March. Julius Caesar assassinated by Cassius and Brutus, 33 B.C.E. “Et tu Brutus?” — a day to remember back-stabbers of all sorts. On a happier note, I am now reading and paging through a glorious book titled Remarkable Books, a coffee table book about the history of books, starting with the Epic of Gilgamesh on clay tablets from 4000 BCE. That’s 6000 years of literacy, about 4000 years before Julius Caesar. It’s amazing. Are there any pockets of the world left where book learning has not found a way in? Maybe a few remote areas of the Amazon and southwest Africa, but even people there have been discovered and thus affected by others’ book learning, even if literacy isn’t available to them.
March 10, 2018 I’m reading Lisa Genova’s latest novel about a terrible disease, this one on ALS, visited upon a famous concert pianist. His ex-wife takes him in and becomes his care-giver, partly out of sympathy, partly with hate-driven, conflicted feelings. In “Every Note Played” every miserable detail of the disease and treatment is graphically spelled out, but one thing missing is empathy for the characters. Too clinical a book, maybe. One reads with horrible fascination but I’m reading slowly, hard to do even fifty pages at a time. But the last fifty pages are gripping as the patient reaches his end, both he and his ex-wife are freed, the daughter and estranged family appropriately grieving. Old grievances are forgiven, peace and transcendence are reached at the end.
March 1, 2018 The past month has sped by. Of course it’s a couple days short of other months, but Feb had personal drama relating to the possible sale of the bookstore. The potential buyers came out of the blue, thanks to a posting on the MIBA website that I’d forgotten about, but the sale isn’t finalized and until it does everything seems in the “anything can happen” category. On one hand I could probably carry on at the store indefinitely but on the other I look forward to a life of leisure. So “we shall see,” as the saying goes. In the meantime it’s business as usual and of course it will be so with new owners also. The bottom line is that Menomonie will continue to have a bookstore on Main Street.
Feb. 3, 2018 Just noticed two typos in the Feb newsletter, the worst that Galileo was born in 564, not 1564. So I’ve corrected the errors and re-uploaded to the bookstore website. Maybe the only consolation is that most recipients don’t read the newsletter closely or just delete without opening. Of course I’d rather they read, notice my typos and then come to the bookstore to buy a book. An interesting fact is that Galileo and Shakespeare were born in the same year,1564, a good year for geniuses. Probably some great explorer was born in the same year as it was in the age of exploration.
Feb.2, 2018 Out of the blue I had an inquiry about the sale of the bookstore. I had forgotten I placed an ad on the Midwest Bookseller Assoc. page and in any case thought it had been removed long ago. Maybe the bookstore will have a new owner in 2018. It’s too early to tell. I’m still in a daze about it after 8 1/2 years making the bookstore the center of my life.
Dec. 2, 2017 So mild in recent weeks after what seemed an early start to winter in October. Sometimes we are grateful for global warming. Here in the Midwest we are safe from rising seas and other natural catastrophes. If civilization on our planet implodes, this will probably be a terminal of survival.
But on to books: Our Dec newsletter covers a lot of recent good books and I personally am next going to read Erdrich’s “Future Home of the Living Gods,” a dystopian story in the vein of “Handmaid’s Tale” which seems sort of dated.
Nov. 11, 2017 Maybe solved my blog updating problem, though margins aren’t right. So much time on such minor issues. Today is a sunny, cold day, a bit of snow and the Christmas greens went up downtown on the storefronts of all of us who pay our dues to the Chamber of commerce, at least I think that’s how it works. The new hotel is close to being finished. The exterior is done, even sod installed, new sidewalks laid, and interior furnishings are in large packages, ready to move in. December opening is targeted and the demolition of the old Bremer bank and new parking lot is next, no doubt accomplished in the next week or so.
WordPress has given me problems updating my blog. I blog, but the page won’t update. So here is a new attempt after trashing previous jottings. It’s Nov. 1, 2017, it’s snowing now which makes it seem Christmasy only a day after Halloween, but that’s fitting for retail businesses. The big box stores have had holiday trappings out for quite a while and had to give space to Halloween, at least locally. October proved to be the best month of the year so far but in general it has been a good year in terms of sales. Personally I think that the political upheaval with which we are bombarded constantly–when it’s not a mass killing taking up a few days–is driving people back to escapist reading.
3/3/2017 It’s hard to break a life-long habit of reading every word of a book started, but owning a bookstore has made it necessary to skim a lot, read reviews and hope I get it right in buying and selling books.