Independent Bookstore Day – and the Glories of the 70s!

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This afternoon I was in a large chain bookstore and noticed that The Children Act by Ian McEwan is now in paperback. McEwan’s novel is on my summer “to read” list, and so I was tempted to buy it when just in the nick of time…..I remembered that tomorrow is Independent Bookstore Day!  I pulled myself back from the brink, waited until I got back home, and purchased it at my favorite local independent bookstore – Buttonwood Books and Toys in Cohasset. In the spirit of “Buy It Here, Keep Us Here,” support your local independent bookstore tomorrow – and every day!

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I seldom (really – hardly ever) laugh out loud while I’m reading. But today on the train back from Boston, I literally had to stifle my laughter so that my fellow passengers did not get up and move away. I was reading I Was a Child: A Memoir by Bruce Eric Kaplan. If you grew up in the 70s or have friends who grew up in that uniquely strange decade, read this book!  I’m tempted to quote hundreds of passages to you, but that doesn’t help independent bookstores. Here are two favorite passages:

The gum that came with baseball cards was always covered in white dust and was so brittle, unlike other gum. Sometimes you would open up the baseball cards package and the flat stick of gum would immediately break into little pieces, in which case you couldn’t really chew it.”

(I did not buy baseball cards, but I totally remember dusty chewing gum!  I didn’t really understand it. Apparently others shared my concern.)

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There were always cartoons about people you would see in real life, like the Jackson Five or the Brady Bunch or the Harlem Globetrotters. I watched those ones, but they made me feel weird. I was happy when the show would get canceled and the people would go back to existing in real life.”

(This one brought me right back to Xenia, Ohio!  I remember the cartoon version of The Brady Bunch, my favorite show, but something about it didn’t work which unsettled me. I thought I should like “animated Marcia” because I related to the “real” Marcia!)

There’s a bittersweet tone to Kaplan’s anecdotes, but it captures the decade. Kaplan, a New Yorker cartoonist, is a master of mixing humor and melancholy – my favorite combination.

Happy Independent Bookstore Shopping – and have a good weekend….

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