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Saturday’s Bookstore Visit

August 2, 2014

photo 1After feeding the geese by the lake, my daughter and I stopped by Walden Books in Oakland where we sat for awhile reading through whatever caught our eye. When we left, I had two books I’m excited about.

One is Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry. I read a couple collections of Berry essays years ago (What Are People For? and Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community) and thought they’re insightful and important. Berry’s great concern is that with our move away from the agrarian lifestyle, we are less connected to the land and less concerned with the long-term, big picture implications of our daily choices. As profits have become the most important motivator for our society, we continue to pillage the earth and deplete our resources. Our lifestyle is far from sustainable, and the way most people live separates us from even an awareness of how we’re impacting the world. Anyway, not very cheery stuff, but important.

As I was sitting there reading the intro to the Berry book, another book caught my eye, thanks to its great cover. It’s called William RussellSpecial Correspondent of The Times.


Russell is, according to the intro, widely recognized as the greatest war correspondent of all time, almost single-handedly defining the field. Born in 1820, this British-Irishman travelled the world, sending back first-hand correspondence of what he witnessed. He made war a concern of the average citizen and brought the horrors of the battlefield into the living room. I can think of few more important contributions to journalism. This book is a collection of his writings, starting with the Crimean War and ending with a dispatch from Egypt in 1882.

William Russell

William Russell

I’m looking forward to both books. Oh, and my daughter was very excited about the booklet of dinosaur stickers she picked out. photo 2




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