6 July 2014

Books and Arguments in Great Barrington, MA

I visited the W. E. B. Du Bois National Historic Site after visiting the Bookloft in the Barrington Plaza, which in a way was a good thing because (in spite of the mosquitoes) it allowed me to cool off and concentrate on peace. I've never come across arguments in Barnes & Noble, or Waterstones in England for that matter, but isn't that what independent bookshops are for? A place where you can have a good conversation, argument or whatever?

This is a preliminary to me saying that I really couldn't stand waiting in a line to pay for my books without saying something to the customer in front of me who was yelling at the (rather disinterested, or maybe just plain uninterested, I thought) sales assistant that voting should be compulsory for everyone. Well, when I hear crap like that I just have to react. Politely, I interrupted and said that no one should be forced to vote for the party they least hate, and that as a pacifist I refuse to vote as all political leaders are warmongers. She pretended to partly agree with me, although added that anyone who didn't vote denied their rights to citizenship. Wanting just to pay for my books and get the hell out with my partner Penny,  I then pretended that I didn't know what a citizen is, although this fanatic was obviously more or less trying to tell me that if I didn't support war then I didn't exist, or something like that. (I won't venture to argue much about the opinions on war of the authors of the books I bought.)

The Masachusetts Review (Fall 2013) on 'W. E. B. Dubois in His Time and Ours'.

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Collected Poems. (Yeah, I know all about her support for WWII.)

Catharine Maria Sedgwick: The Linwoods. (An abolitionist, but...)

Finally, I re-post my shot of the mockingbird originally actually taken in Barrington Plaza three years ago. We ended the trip back here (avoiding the bookstore) with me drinking a blueberry smoothie and regretting the absence of any birds this time, but reflecting on the words of Harper Lee (via Atticus Finch).

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