From Riverfront Times:
When Charles Dickens first arrived in America he reportedly asked to be taken to see a few prisons; ever the social reformer, he felt he would gain some insight into who we are by seeing how we treated and housed our criminals.
Me, I go to the book store.
More accurately, I go to several. St. Louis is less a city and more a sprawling connection of neighborhoods, each with its own concerns, gossip and squad goals. Our book stores are the limbic system of our Frankenstein body politic, capturing the mood and general emotional health of a particular neighborhood. You’ll overhear people talking about their fears (the coming election is a big one), the day-to-day stuff like dead car batteries, the Cardinals and the big issue of our time — what are we going to read next?
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In 2016 people have a plethora of outlets for book talk, book news and book buying, most of them online. But none of them compares to standing in a book store and talking with strangers about what they have in stock. When a customer asks where to find D.H. Lawrence and it opens a store-wide discussion about his best story, you know you’re in a great book shop; when everybody nominates a different story and then all involved — including the employee — file off to browse Lawrence’s back catalog, you know you’ve found your people. It’s an experience impossible to replicate via text, chat or online review.
That’s why social media plays such a small role in von Plonski’s professional life. “It’s not any more important now than it’s ever been,” she agrees. “I run Twitter and Facebook, and Gena (Brady, a full-timer) manages our Instagram account, which is mostly for pictures of Teddy.” Teddy is Gena’s dachshund, and he’s in-store several times a week. He has his own shelf of recommended books along with the other employees.
Link to the rest at Riverfront Times