The customers had unusual taste yesterday afternoon. There were still crap books being sold, but at least they were polite about it, and not trying to get me to swoon over Nicholas Sparks or swear a loyalty oath to Dubya. There was a middle-aged lady who was intent on getting me to recommend something on the level of ‘The Kiterunner‘, which i haven’t read, and isn’t even on my list. While i was scrambling to remember the name i needed, she thurst ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ under my nose. “What about this? Have you read this?” I couldn’t lie. No, but i started referencing this mysterious absent coworker Bill. We had it displayed as his Bookseller Pick. He loves it. I was probably a little more hyperbolic than i needed to be, but i was keen on someone buying a book not by Dan Brown for a change. She bought it immediately, but kept asking me questions. I panicked in defering to the opinion of the absent Bill again, saying he’d recommend ‘Snow’. It even seemed worth mentioning his Nobel Prize prediction. Before i knew it, she had bought that too. I cannot express how peculiar this is.
The next bit of oddness were a couple asking me for books i know quite well, ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’ by Zukav, ‘The Tao of Physics’ by Capra, and ‘Lives of a Cell’ by Thomas. I’ll admit that the first two are a little dated, more anchored to the time when they were first published in the ’70s, they are still great introductions for lazy dilettante like myself. The science is more dated than i realized it was a few years ago (as i reread parts of them recently and found a lot needing severe revision.) There was no way that i could turn someone away from these books though. There are no other tomes that i’m familiar with offhand that try to bridge mysticism, consciousness, and science. Neither one can be any more misleading than the Bible anyway. Who cares about their absence of proof of quarks then?
I passed off ‘The Holographic Universe’ on the boyfriend too. I couldn’t get them to take me up on any Fred Alan Wolf though. It’s probably just as well. Although it seemed that the path they jumped in on was well worn by the ’70s, i don’t know where to go from there. I’m a little embarrassed of my pseudo-science New Age background sometimes, but i enjoy talking crap too much to let go of it, as long as no one starts on about chakras, spirit guides, auras, and crystals. It’s a cheap indulgence, and a lot less harmful than prattling about the Living Jesus. However, i’m going to use this to prod myself into dragging my head out of the post-hippy cannibalization of what was an emerging fusion of philosophy and science. There must be progress. There must be more relevant books.