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Quite by accident we ran into Linda, from Legible Leftovers today. She is working at a major bookseller, the job she had taken to keep Legible Leftovers afloat, along with tapping her retirement account. I know many of you are distressed over Legible Leftover’s closing and just wanted to bring you up to date. It’s very difficult to keep a used bookstore afloat today and we should be thankful we had this very special one as long as we did. 

 

Oh, the cats are at Linda’s home and well cared for.

 

Any solutions out there? I would love to have a place where book lovers could bring and take books on the honor system as is done at some offices around town. All that is lacking is a space. Perhaps there is a coffee shop, or lunch or tea room that would draw in customers with just such an innovative use of their extra space. How about it? Any takers out there?

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Something special is disappearing before our eyes—used book stores. Jerry and I rely on Legible Leftovers, a wonderful little bookstore with bibliocats, and mysterious rooms of books. This afternoon we run over for our fix. The door is locked, books shelves are partially empty. It has the look of abandonment. We feel abandoned. How will we feed our habit now? It’s not just the prices; it’s the books you don’t see at Barnes & Nobles. That wonderful book review you read six years ago, but never got the book until you saw it here, the new writer you found along with a stash of her other books, classics you wish you had read, the little book of Haiku found in a tiny poetry room—all in the past.

 

We hop in the car and drive to a strip center where we once see a bookstore sign. It is a bookstore, but for school books. We go on to the adjacent town. We knew of three bookstores there at one time and think one might be still open. It is, with a parking spot right in front. Our luck seems to be changing. There is even the requisite cat, and a dog for good measure, old books in every space. But search as we do, not one book fits our tastes. Frankly my nose burns from the past-due-for-a-change litter box. It is not a pleasant place to browse.

 

We can order online, and do, but it’s not the same as wandering through the aisles till something strikes your fancy and reading a little to be sure. At Legible Leftovers one particular kitty would often help in my search, stopping at the shelf where I’d find the perfect book. My friend says a small, new store will open soon in another adjacent town. Dare we hope?

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Multi-generational epics bore me. Just give me a good read about an important slice in someone’s life and I can be swept away. So I find myself verging on vertigo in my real life. Epics are difficult to avoid when you have lived through a few decades. You can’t say, “No, just highlight this part or that.” The parts string along like toilet paper on your shoe until you find yourself tangled in a true-life multi-generational epic. Well, if not epic then situation.

This is what brought that on. We are planning a few upgrades on the home we have lived in for almost thirty-two years. One son re-roofed for us a few years ago, his friend installed new windows, and another re-habbed the master bath. Our son-in-law (an electrician) upgraded the power box. Strangers installed carpet. How did that happen? Now for a second stage the same friend will tile the other bath, the neighbor kid, now all grown up, will do the plumbing. The son of our son’s best man will do exterior painting.

In that mix of characters are a father fighting for custody of a child, another denying his child until DNA evidence turned him into a real father. That son is being a real father to his new child. A couple of young fathers being fathers with or without marriage, a worker with great promise ending back in jail.

Do you need a scorecard? The point is almost all these very competent workers we knew as children or knew their parents before they were born (except the jailed one). We are aware of many of their most private struggles and successes, many poignant slices of their lives. Those slices now strung together form the ingredients of an epic.

Okay, it’s just a house that needs work and has no other significance. I’ll just curl up with a book of short stories until it is finished. Sometimes I think too much.

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The Jenkins Group released these survey results recently.

-33% of high school graduates never read a book after graduation
-42% of college graduates never read a book after graduation
-80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
-70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years
-57% of new books are not read to the last page

Yet, 80% of American adults want to write a book.

The math doesn’t add up.

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