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Book World

We all know the troubles about bookstore chains. Borders closed because customers treated it more as place to relax, not shop. Crown had its own problems and closed lots of its stores. Independent bookstores are barely hanging on. Book buying happens mostly online at Amazon.

This past Christmas, I noticed teen girls were asking “Santa” for record players and vinyls for gifts. The yearning for things nostalgic is sweet, but the thought that brick and mortar bookstores could fall into that category is tragic.

The writing community is especially concerned about this trend. New authors cannot get the support they need to market their books online. Now that Barnes and Noble is really the only book chain left, I’ve made the decision to support them and not buy my books at Amazon any longer.

I am not shunning Amazon; there is plenty of other stuff I can buy there, but I don’t want to lose Barnes & Noble. I shelled up the $25 to be part of their “membership club” to further incentivize me to get off my butt and get into the store (or not, and get free shipping for my online purchases). To even things up a little, Amazon now charges sales tax in my state.

Okay, enough ranting about that. But still on the topic of books, my book club has had its share of good and bad books over the past year. Two that I recommend as must reads are:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. This well-written story using unusual techniques is about an agoraphobic mother and her promise to take her daughter Bee on a trip to Antarctica. I have never read anything so original.

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (also author of The English Patient). I don’t usually like books about 11 year old boys nor do I like books about traveling on ships. So to say I love this book and the short chapters that burst with fascinating characters is saying a lot.