Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2021 >Daily Dispatch #258

September 18, 2021: Books, Books, and More Books

Today I spent considerable time at two used bookstores in Homer, Alaska. The First was the Old Inlet Bookstore. The second was An Observance of Hermits. These visits were revelatory, and now that I’m home, I can see they are going to be a catalyst for some intense self-examination.

Both places are run by long time bookstore owners. Their inventory, which consisted of hundreds upon hundreds of good books, had been put together over time. And as the proprietor of the Old Inlet Bookstore told me, “and you don’t see what I’ve parted with.” My response was “yes, I was thinking this.”

Both owners could be said to be hoarders. Both had an overabundance of books; in fact, piles of books were stacked next to shelves. At Inlet, there was an outside shed. At Hermits, there were books upstairs, in the shop entry way, and outside on a table. There was a cardboard sign on a table at the latter, it read “Free Books.” And there was a long table filled with boxes of books. I asked and was told that I could take the books on the table – Milena and I filled the rear of the van with these books – most (thankfully) were children’s books.

The Hermit Bookstore

Tonight, after a long drive home, we dropped them off at the Meeting House, or what Milena called The Book Warehouse. I noticed that upon arrival that there were boxes of books on the floor – yesterday Bea and Nan assisted Pete in sorting.

So the revelatory part of this dispatch – I realized that, overall, there is now, at least in Alaska, an overabundance of good books. And there are a handful of us who value these books and are attempting to get them into good hands. The problem is (I pause here, in an attempt to get at a certain truth), we love books, but end up surrounding ourselves by too many of them, more in fact than we will ever read.

And so, I came home, after a few days of being away from here, to a house filled with books. It is like I am seeing what’s going on, anew. I have the edge over the two bookstore owners that I met in that I don’t have a shop and am not expecting to make a wage by selling books.

I suspect that if I did have a shop, that I would have an overabundance of books.

So I am going to continue with the Bright Lights Book Project, and give books away for free. And at the same time, I am going to refrain from taking on any more books. If anything, I will part company with some of those I have on hand.

I just have to accept the fact that although I value the good work of writers, that I will never be able to read all the books I’m coming across.

I sense that I must write more about this. I must write a book about the overabundance of books. Hardship sells, but irony endures the test of time.

Next: 259. 9/19/21: Shadow’s Dog Blog: New Animal

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles