Before the end

I had previously read the “Age of …” series by Eric Hobsbawm, and though I have a mixed personal opinion of him, I found his books insightful.

This book, written much after those sweeping overviews, captures some summaries and predictions made during the 90s.

Many of the takes are prescient, especially if you consider this is written before 9/11 and before smartphones and before the age of Google and the social media landscape of today.

In praise of used books

I have spoken on you of how I used to frequent a store nearby, in Mountain View (“Book Buyers“), and how they relocated away a few years ago (more recently, they shut down that location, and sold of inventory to Powell’s in Portland).

Well, I was overjoyed to stumble across another used books store, in Menlo Park, Feldman’s Books !!

Books in nooks, or nooks in books?

It is similar, and while smaller in size, better in other ways.

The music section has an old piano to play on. There are chairs scattered throughout to sit and browse on. The children’s section is smaller, but has a soft floor and coloring sheets.

I will be back, and will hope it stays open as long as possible.

Unix blues

From the foreword to “The Unix Haters Handbook” by Donald Norman, author of previous works like “The Trouble with Unix: The User Interface is Horrid“, and “The Design of Everyday Things“, and a fellow at Apple and IDEO.

(Narrator: “… the book didn’t kill Unix …”)

Eulogy for a bookstore

I moved to Mountain View in 2010.

At that time, there were plenty of bookstores within a 10 mile radius:

  1. Borders in Mountain View
  2. Borders in Palo Alto
  3. Barnes and Noble in San Jose
  4. Books Inc in Mountain View
  5. Book Buyers in Mountain View

Of these:

(1) and (2) closed when Borders went bankrupt (about a decade ago now)

(3) was always the furthest out, and rarely visited, but is still around

(4) is now the only store we visit with some frequency.

But (5) used to be my favorite, being a used books store.

In 2016 they had to relocate out of Mountain View, and set up shop further south in Gilroy.

I’ve since visited them only once.

Today I learned that they lost their lease and have to liquidate entirely. Fortunately, Powell’s (of Portland) was able to pick up their stock.

I am sad to see them pass away like this, especially since nothing has emerged to take their place.

Still, I am optimistic that something like it can be set up again (it must be so different for young people today to not know anything else, but there are alternatives to browsing online at Amazon).