I love the Bozeman Public Library. Many public libraries have a very bland atmosphere, but Bozeman has counteracted this with a barely-a-year-old, LEED certified building that has a beautiful aesthetic architecture about it. It cultivates a very industrial feel with much of the ductwork exposed and lots of huge wooden and steel beams and corrugated steel everywhere. On top of that, there are tons of comfy places for reading a book and even an organic, fairtrade coffee shop right when you walk in. I could take Jocelyn on a date to the Bozeman Public Library and it would manage to be cool and hip. Believe me.
Anyway, this weekend they were having their annual book sale. I love used bookstores and really really love library booksales because it seems that they have a much higher quantity of quality books (no romance novels) than most bookstores. Today I stepped in not really expecting to buy anything, but a couple of hours later I emerged with eight books (after agonizingly deciding not to buy four others) for a mere $17. Here’s what I came away with:
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
I first learned of the Franco-Czecho Kundera as a Philosophy student at Colorado College, but hadn’t read anything by him until I picked up his novel Identity earlier this fall. I initially resisted because it seemed like every artsy hipster I knew as an undergrad stated TULB as their favorite book to the point that it almost seemed cliche. Well, after reading Identity my theory that stereotypes and cliches exist for a reason (i.e. they’re often true) was confirmed: Kundera is a wonderful writer and I can’t wait to read his masterpiece.
- The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
I compulsively buy this book whenever I see a used copy. This particular copy is the classic 1975 edition. Again, this is a wildly cliche book to advocate (if you are a person of my ilk), but it’s hilariously irreverent and entertaining. All novels should be as much fun as this.
- What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
My Dad recommended this book to me last spring and I never got around to checking it out from the library, so when I saw that it dealt directly with an issue that has always perplexed me (I remember writing a short essay about it in high school), I couldn’t resist. Basically, Frank examines why some of the poorest regions of the country (where I grew up–the Great Plains of Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota) unfailingly vote overwhelmingly for a political party that continually disenfranchises them–the Republican Party. Frank is himself a Kansas native.
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
I don’t know a whole lot about this book except that it is reviled by some and lauded by many…controversy is always interesting. I probably should’ve just checked it out from the library instead of buying it.
- One-Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse
My Dad read this when he was in the Army and said he had to take notes in order to understand it, claiming it was the densest thing he’s ever read. I’ve always responded that that is because he’s never read any Hegel. In any event, this book appears to discuss the predicament of modern man and his meaning while facing the pervasive military-industrial complex–always a compelling subject.
I’ve never heard of this book, but it looked interesting (as one might imagine, considering I’m a big fan of Abbey).
- The End of Nature by Bill McKibben
Another environmental classic I’ve been planning on reading.
- The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra
I’d never heard of this book, but I had greatly enjoyed Capra’s The Tao of Physics earlier this year in which he draws surprising parallels between modern physics and eastern mysticism. This book is more about the interconnectedness found in eco-systems.
So, all in all, a great day at the library.