Framing the Dialogue

Books Anat

“Anat” is Pittsburghese for “and that” for those of you not familiar with the dialect spoken in the City of Champions.  I have a fondness for books and look forward to retirement so that I will have an extra six hours to read each day.  I actually work more than six hours and you have to add commuting time to get a better picture of how much additional time I will have. 

I have adjusted my “free” time to account for the anticipated honey-do list and time required to spend with grandchildren.  My kids are FAR too young to have kids, but hopefully we will see a few in time.  Even with all of that free time there is no way that I can keep up with the estimated 3000 books published PER DAY in the United States. 

On a recent vacation, I experienced near Nirvana.  My family directed me to a local Girl Scout group that was raising money by selling used books.  The book sale is held three days per week and was stationed in an old railroad car near the town center.  I really did not expect much, but was enthused about the possibilities.  The doors did not open until 11:00 AM so we spent a few hours at the local state park hiking and taking pictures of waterfalls. 

I had been to the falls many times, but they always are a great pleasure to watch.  If you get there early enough, you get to see them without dozens of people wading into your viewfinder.  We did not quite get to the park early so there were lots of tourists (my wife is from that area so by association, I am a local).  As we wound our way around the trails and falls, my mind wandered to that train car waiting for me. 

After our hike, some of our party headed back to the cabin while a few of us went to the book sale.  Imagine pulling into the parking lot in front of the train car.  The door to the car was wide open as I approached, but I could not see in the car.  A volunteer greeted us and as I turned I was greeted by this stunning view…

That is a lot of books!  The best part was that I really like to read a hardcover book and they were only one dollar each.  Paperbacks were 5o cents each or cheaper if they were a little tattered.  I spend $14 and got a whole box of books.  The second time I went back (a few weeks later) I only spent $7.  They are open until mid-October so I hope to be back there fairly soon.

Another of my favorite things is to prowl the bargain books at a local Barnes & Noble stores.  I don’t mind reading books that are older and I can usually get a hardback for under $6.  On a recent trip, I noticed a bunch of books in the bargain bin that could not be that old as they dealt with our new president and his wife.  Their presence on the bargain shelf indicates to me that there was a lot of hype with this administration and too much was written before they had really accomplished anything.   As of this writing, President Obama has been in office less than eight months.

This is the first one to catch my eye as the book gleefully proclaims that the Mrs. Obama is the “First Lady of Fashion and Style.”  I have to admit that I did not open the book, but I can imagine that it showed how daring she is to wear sleeveless tops.  Maybe it should be how she does not wear sleeves?  Think of the audacity of this to have a book proclaiming her title of fashion goddess this soon.  I also find it a little condescending that the media (and publishing industry) treats the First Lady as window dressing to the President’s leadership persona.  After all she has an Ivy League education.

Barack Obama has his own set of bargain books.  I wonder what the story of Barack Obama would tell.  Remember President Obama has been in office less than eight months in which time this book was written, published, released, and relegated to the bargain bin!  That is a story.

This last book has been on the bargain rack for some time.  If you have read much of my posts, you have come to know me as a fairly conservative person.  I actually have a strong background in science and environmental issues.  This stereotype that Republicans (and conservatives) have waged a war on science would be funny if it were not believed by so many people.  I really find this message offensive. 

While I enjoy seeing this drivel relegated to the bargain bin, I have to admit that I often cover it with other books so that no one will notice it.  Maybe I am waging a war on conservative stereotypes perpetuated by the media and publishing.

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