Friday, December 30, 2011

Why We Read

Brookline customers are a pretty smart bunch. Here are some figures:

This is pulled from Sperling's Best Places. We spend a lot on students. We have a lot of degrees; not just high school, but undergrad AND graduate degrees. With the proximity of BC and BU we have a lot of current students and professors in our midst. So as a result, there are a couple of sections in our store that get hit pretty frequently. Philosophy, for example. We don't get too many books in, but when we do they SELL. And how. So after the holiday rush, our philosophy shelves were looking pretty lean. It happens. Our stock is reliant on what people bring to us, and stuff moves and changes fast. So sometimes, our shelves get thin until magic book fairies (i.e., you) bring us more. But we make sure to only get the good stuff in, so what we do have is CHOICE.

But what to do when the books get all floppy and the shelves get empty? I dunno about those Amazon guys, but I get creative. And I put to use my undergraduate philosophy degree. I cleared off a shelf for a display and thought: what are important books in this section? Who doesn't own a copy of Kant's Groundwork that needs one? The best part of actually reading a book (for me, anyway) are those lines that stick with you forever, or finally make sense of the 120 preceding pages. The quotes we put on our Facebook profiles, in our friend's yearbooks, e-mail signatures, tattooed on arms, the lines that are mini-epiphanies that rock our worlds. In short, it's the words inside books that make us read. Sometimes there are books on a shelf that you haven't read, maybe because you're pressed for time, or you're reading Room With a View for the eightieth time, or maybe it's because book designers don't know what to do with philosophy books and the philosophers sure as heck don't know how to title their books, so they look boring but really they are GENIUS and they will change your life forever if only you knew that those brilliant quotes lived inside their pages.

So in order to jazz up a decent looking philosophy display, I wrote down some salient quotes from the books. Quotes that embody the meaning and importance of the book, or in some cases just haunted me forever. So now, hopefully, casual browsers will know why to pick up a 200 page non-fiction book on how we fall in love written in the 17th centry. Or maybe they'll just struggle at reading my awful handwritten scrawl. Either way!

Aristotle's Poetics

Kant's Groundwork

Sartre's Essays in Existentialism

Stendhal, On Love
Anyway, like I said, we're thin on philosophy. And poetry. And local stuff. Do you have some such books that are rad, have no underlining or highlighting and are just collecting dust on your ever-so-smart shelves? Let me give you money for them! Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 AM to 4 PM. Thanks for reading!

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