Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reading Locally

Back in June, Ross Currier, LocallyGrown blogger and executive director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, blogged about the importance of shopping locally for books. He pointed out that, if a particular book isn't in stock, the local bookstores can quickly and easily special order a copy. So far in 2008, I've read twenty four books (including the two books I'm currently reading). Seven of those books were purchased at Monkey See, Monkey Read. Six were purchased at River City Books, including one from the discount tables and two special orders. Three were sent to me by friends on LibraryThing who had duplicate copies. Three came from the shelves Up North. One each came from the hospital auxiliary book sale, Carleton's Interlibrary Loan, the historical society in Oberlin, and Amazon Marketplace. One was a Christmas gift. The final tally:

14 books purchased locally
10 books obtained elsewhere

Perhaps the most significant statistic: thirteen books purchased at local bookstores, one book ordered from Amazon. My number one source for reading material is Jerry Bilek's shop, Monkey See, Monkey Read.

This week, friends of ours, visiting Northfield for the first time from Kansas City, ducked into Jerry's shop to refuel their two daughters. Those girls run on books. They picked out half a dozen young adult books (about a day's supply) and brought them to the counter. Jerry told them that if they bought eight, they could have one free. They chose two more books, and Jerry gave them the most expensive one free. They were astonished. They had never been in such an amazing place in their lives.

We met them outside the shop, and stood for a while talking next to Jerry's Africabikes—another thing that makes his shop so special. Northfield, despite the upheaval of Fifth Street between Water and Division, was all dressed up for the America in Bloom judges. A few steps away down Division Street, folks were enjoying coffee at the sidewalk tables outside the HideAway. Mayoral candidate Mary Rossing was watering the hanging baskets outside her shop, Present Perfect. Our friends were still glowing from a visit to McKnight Prairie, and happily anticipating an evening of Shakespeare in the park.

"You are so lucky to live here," they told us.

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New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .