Getting Committed to The Art of Book Choosing

henry-miller-books-01Choosing a book while browsing your favorite or not so favorite bookstore can be difficult. Oh you may say what are you talking about? You walk in, look around, see a book, buy it and leave. Heading towards your next spectacular NYC Paris London or Rome adventure.


This scenario JUST doesn’t happen.
Say Whaaaattt????


llowry-quotes-from-the-giver-02Nobody just walks in said bookstore, chooses said book, pays, and leaves with such easy breezy detachment, nonchalance, state of mind.
Unless of course they just don’t give a shit. Which is possible.
Especially today where digital rules.
But —-
Book choosing is SERIOUS stuff. It’s hardcore mental madness.
It’s a love affair.
It’s a philosophical journey.
It’s the right wine
It’s turning on a light
It’s the difference btwn today and yesterday
It’s knowledge vs ignorance
It’s turning off the pounding tv mindfuck
It’s A Commitment

books-vs-computers-03Well. True that. Also today it can be an expensive commitment. Meaning that even Amazon isn’t exactly book cheap though perhaps book cheaper than most book stores. And that’s great –Except real book folk enjoy the process.
The process of the journey to one’s favorite store. Perusing the book choices. The new fiction. The new non-fiction. The thinking, the contemplation, the surprise, wondering,holding, waiting for inspiration, the hunt, studying the synopsis on the back cover, wondering hmmmm is this for me? Or not? This can be a lengthy exploration of the mind that has very little to do with bland consumerism, the mechanics of your Apple gadget du jour, or the senseless impulse beach read purchase we are all guilty of.


silvia-beech-shop-04Book buying and painting buying share a common denominator. You are willing wanting wishing to PAY for an experience of the soul you will not get anywhere else. A new house won’t do it. A new pair of Loubatins won’t do it. A new wife won’t do it. Nor will the priciest Rolex in the store.
This is special. Rilke knew it. Hemingway got it. Miller owned it. Stein worshipped it. And Sylvia Beech in her iconic bookstore created a shrine to book lovers and writers everywhere.

people-in-bookstores-05You are going to read your way into a new experience, a familiar one, an insane journey, or a mental miasma, or a memory or a fantasy or a dream or a revelation . Be careful what you choose. This is Not a joke.
Could this be why many people DO NOT READ???

Unless they have to. For a test in school. Or instructions. Or an article in Cosmo. Or the news.
Not really in the same league.

Reading is a mind elevation, an exploration, and an exciting journey, that you must travel solo in order to really have a complete experience! That’s heavyyyyy.

the-strand-bookstore-06>> Artists are very much aware of the literary connection here. Our paintings are read by the viewers. Some like. Others dislike. Choosing a painting is no different than choosing a book . You, as the individual are confirming the profound realities that say – “this is interesting to ME . I want it. I will pay for it. I want to go on this journey.” This trip is personal and unique to you alone at the moment you make your decision. The non – reader might opt to minimize the unique process that goes into book choosing. That’s ok. They aren’t familiar with this extraordinary act . Maybe one day…….

4th-ave-nyc-book-seller-07So, I’m in McNally Jackson, which is a gorgeous bookshop in SoHo, Nyc, on Prince street. This is a biggie, as far as book choosing goes, because it’s not for me. And I have to get it right. I kind of know where I’m going with it, but haven’t zeroed in on the object of my affection so to speak. But I will. Point is we do this all the time. Choices. Whether books, art ,food ,clothes ,shoes, or movies . The personal power that makes us choose can’t be overstated. Money out of pocket, book into pocket, ideas into mind! It’s really an act involving so many facets — like intellect, economy, personality, entertainment, emotion,drama,time,place, influence…….I could go on and on.
Film director, and author, John Waters, makes bold “Out There” statements about his love affair with books. His rogue remarks are documented on posters, bags, and magnets, in every bookstore in the world. For example, he says – “seriously don’t get involved with a person who does not read.” Only he says it his way. That’s just how important this whole book thing really is.! And the choosing is the beginning. The embryo. Once the commitment is made ,the seed is planted!


Choosing a book is not like choosing a new purse, or shoe, or car. It is a choice of the soul-spirit and psyche. It’s art on the page. Like the painting you choose to hang on your wall. It’s not technology. It’s technique. It’s identity. It’s a way we expand our world!

So. Choose. WELL!

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