Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TWOsday ~ report of two shoppers

Following the not guilty verdict in the trial of ex-policeman Jason Stockley for killing a black man, store windows were broken during protests that reached from the City of St. Louis into the Delmar Loop, a main road in the suburb of University City where I live.  One of the boarded up businesses was Subterranean Books, a place where Donna and I shop occasionally.  Artists painted many of the plywood panels put up at the stores.  Above is the one at our bookstore.  (A customer came out the door just as I snapped this picture.)
  • The words on the left panel say, "A book is a dream you hold in your hand."
  • The words on the right panel say, "They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it."
  • Behind the second set of words is the St. Louis skyline at night, with the Gateway Arch.
We'd heard that the owner of Subterranean had said now would be a good time to buy their books.  It would help them pay for the damage, for one thing.  Even stores with insurance usually have to pay a deductible, plus pay for the plywood and someone to do the work.  So we went shopping yesterday.  Here's what we got.  The first book is what I bought, and the other two were Donna's purchases.

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew ~ by Alan Lightman, 2013, philosophy
With passion and curiosity, Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by recent discoveries in science.  He looks at the dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws.  Behind all of these considerations is the suggestion ― at once haunting and exhilarating ― that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.
A is for Activist ~ by Innosanto Nagara, 2013,  children's
This ABC book is written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives:  families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.  Booksellers around the country clamored for a large format edition that would appeal to children over the age of 5, along with the board book for younger children.  This engaging book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children and parents to action.
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty ~ by Eric Metaxas, 2016, history
In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people.  "A republic," he shot back, "if you can keep it."  More than two centuries later, Metaxas examines what that means and how we are doing on that score.  This is  a review of America's uniqueness — including our role as a "nation of nations" — and a chilling reminder that America's greatness cannot continue unless we embrace our own crucial role in living out what the founders entrusted to us.  Metaxas explains that America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based on liberty and freedom for all.  He cautions us that it's nearly past time we reconnect to that idea, or we may lose the very foundation of what made us exceptional in the first place.

3 comments:

Helen's Book Blog said...

The hate, destruction, and devastation we're seeing in this country is so disheartening. However, the acts of kindness (which definitely don't get enough press) are heart warming. I choose to believe that the good will win out.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Me, too. Volunteer artists painted the plywood covering the smashed windows, using paint that was donated. Volunteers were out the next morning sweeping up broken glass. We have more GOOD people than bad, in my opinion. And ... the tiny bookstore had more customers shopping than I've ever seen inside at one time. People helping people recover from the damage.

Joan Uda said...

One of the problems in our country right now is that too many people have forgotten their responsibilities as citizens. We remember the huge wars of the 20th century (WWII movies and books are all over the place) because they gave everybody a heightened sense of being alive and of life mattering. They gave most people a sense of purpose. But the end of WWII was in 1945, 72 years ago. We don't celebrate our war in Vietnam--the recent Ken Burns special about Vietnam shows how confused we became with it because after all we lost and had to retreat to our own shores.

Human life is endlessly complicated. If we can cannot find enough pride in patriotism, if we are estranged from our sense of belonging in the world, whether through lack of religious connection or philosophical connection, if we have no story greater than ourselves to act as a kind of moral/ethical plumb line, then we just wander around hopelessly lost. These are the people who elected DT--people who don't know how to sort what is good and humane from what is not.

Thus we get the overt expressions of hatred, violence, and destruction in our country; because it's in the souls of our people. If it weren't, it couldn't spill out. It is horrifying.