“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”
American poet, Nancy Byrd Turner (1880-1971)
One of the great fun things in life is popping into a used-book store and exploring the shelves, finding old friends and making new ones. Our local is B Street Books, a brave little independent that's managed to keep its doors open when so many others are forced to close down. If you live in San Mateo, California and haven't been there, do go. Wherever you live in this world, be sure to support independent bookstores, whether they sell new and/or used books. They are as necessary to the spirit of democracy as schools and libraries.
“The replacement of independent bookstores by firms such as Barnes & Noble, Waterstones or Borders superficially provided a wide range of reading, but their policies further limited choice.” Sara Ayad,
B Street Books' owner and staff put together a reading challenge for 2018. It's the bookish equivalent of Dr. Terry Wahl's functional-medicine challenge to eat two-hundred different fruits and veggies over the course of the year, something to force explorations beyond the easy, obvious and/or habitual.
"Read a book," the B Street team encourage ...
- published in the year you were born;
- published more than 200 years ago;
- written by someone with the same initials as yours;
- longer than 500 pages;
- shorter than 100 pages;
- in a genre you don't usually read;
- based on the cover art;
- that challenges your views;
- that you were supposed to finish in high school;
- recommended by a friend;
- recommended by a child;
- on which a movie is based;
- with a one-word title;
- that you loved as a youngster;
- that is set in or near your home town;
- that has won a Pulitzer Prize; and,
- that you bought a B Street Books.
The books I'm starting out with this year are the ones I got for Christmas from my son:
- The Art of Stillness, Adventures in Going Nowhere by the travel writer, Pico Iyer
- Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War and God by Will Durant, historian and philosopher
Of course, I've linked you to Amazon for these books but that doesn't mean you can't scope them out at your local independent.
So, tell me: Where are YOU headed with your reading this year?