austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

The Spanish Sahara is gone

I got up to Freehold Raceway Mall, which had just opened the Borders book store. You know that new-bookstore smell of books with paint. They hadn't yet debugged the door that goes from the bookstore to the mall without requiring a detour outside. I heard most every employee explain to another customer, ``We just opened today'' or ``we opened three hours ago''. One person asked how long the Borders had been here and was told, ``Since 9:30 today''. Despite the newness, employees were eager to ask if I was finding everything I wanted (I wanted nothing particular). I overheard one telling another the system was completely screwed up but there was nothing to be done about it.

I'd say it was successful, since I got a book about trains that I'd seen my last weeks in Singapore and wanted then, but didn't pick up for obvious reasons. I've been looking for it since, but never found a copy in North America before this. And on top of that I got two Asimov books I didn't have before, one of them the final collection of Black Widowers stories which was released several years ago but that I never saw in bookstores. So I would have to characterize the store as extremely satisfying so far.

I did explore the humor section, even though non-comic-strip shelves usually fill me with a vague despair that this apparently reflects the tastes of a preponderance of humor book buyers. I'm sure there are people amused by Outrageously Idiotic People and Hostility Directed Towards Ordinary Things and similar books, but I'm not among them. I have a similar sense of despair when I encounter an Adult Swim cartoon. Somehow it appears that the ``zany, sarcastic atlas'' has become a new comedic genre. Or at least there's two books with that theme out, one of them from The Onion. I know some strange cosmic law requires at least two of anything be made simultaneously, but ironic atlases?

Trivia: On 17 November 1526 Spain's Charles V allowed any subjects of his realms to go to America. Source: Empire: How Spain Became A World Power, 1492 - 1763, Henry Kamen.

Currently Reading: Attack from Atlantis, Lester Del Rey. Although the cover doesn't say so explicitly, one gets the feeling it was intended as a juvenile, what with the protagonist being a teen brought along on an experimental super-deep submarine accidentally bringing his dog along.

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