Sunday, October 14, 2007

Politics and Prose bookstore on a Sunday afternoon

Where I just spent, um, 160 dollars on books. Most of them were supersale books, ok, ok, ok, ok, ok, ok. Now I am sitting in the coffeeshop, looking around at my fellow aging boomers, on our laptops, feeling very coffeehouse like. Anyone with any sense and the functional hips and knees would be outside on a bike on a day as nice as this. We feel so gentle, genteel, birkesnstoccky and ... old. We're all people, one way or another, in the "helping professions." We're practicing for our French class in one corner, and drafting a document for the senior nursing staff of the nursing facility, describing how we're going to reduce falls and mistaken meds rates, in another. We're virtuous and we drink expensive coffee, dress schlumpy and badly, but in an understated way. I've fallen into a David Brooks' comic sociology! Upstairs in the bookstore, the Utne Reader (God, it still exists?!) had a cover article on how baby boomers, as elders, can save the world ... again! I myself wasn't aware we had saved it the first time around.

I came to pick up some books for my kid's 15th birthday at the end of the month. I'm not quite sure why - her old school, by dint of so much busywork due the next morning, pretty much drove out of her any desire to read anything not absolutely required. She doesn't read, she watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer - my goodness, how we've fallen from a family that for many years really didn't watch TV or DVDs to one that can't get by without them; and, truth, truth, truth, I'm happy to accompany her, because reading is even less social with your offspring than watching Buffy. But she does tend to read teen girl angst novels once in a while, so I thought I'd get her a novel reviewed in the New York Times, Jenny Downham's Before I Die. Sixteen year old girl dying of leukemia, review said it was pretty funny, and even if it's not, it should have the requisite adolescent girl angst. It could be good. Anyway, it's teen rather than adult fiction, so can't be that demanding a read. Naturally it wasn't yet in bookstores, so I overcompensated and bought things for ... me!

Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms; Bjorn Lomborg's Cool It; Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories, Olivier Roy's new book on Islam in Europe, and so much more!