From Guns to Gavels

January 6th, 2006

I read a lot. I almost always have at least two books checked out of the library at one time, sometimes quite a bit more. These are, of course, in addition to all the books I own.

I don’t buy many books, though, and most of the ones I do buy I get at the used bookstore– partially because I’m cheap and partially because I like used books. I also like used bookstores. There’s a certain ambiance to a good used bookstore that you just don’t find anywhere else. It’s somewhat akin to the vibe of a very good antique/junk shop, but distinctly singular. If you are a book person, you likely know exactly what I mean. If you aren’t, you probably don’t.

I mainly read fiction. Mostly westerns, science fiction, fantasy, and crime/hardboiled detective stories. I really dig deep, serious literature and I read my share of it, but more frequently I am in the market for a few of chapters of escapist entertainment before bed or at my desk during lunch.

Recently, though, I decided I need to start reading more non-fiction. I figure I ought to put some stuff in my head which will, if not make me smarter, at least make me more knowledgeable. So the other night when I went by the library to pick up a particular specimen of that escapist entertainment I wanted and found it checked out I decided to get a biography of P. T. Barnum I had seen some time ago and thought interesting. It, however, was also checked out so I scanned the non-fiction shelves until I found the first thing that looked interesting called “Trials That Shaped The Nation” (or something like that– it’s upstairs right now). Instead of ringing clash of swords against armor in an epic battle of kingdoms, I ended up with the mighty knights of the bar clenched in grappling combat for the face of justice.

Last night at bedtime I began reading it and finished the introduction before I started getting sleepy. Hopefully it will pick up with chapter one, but if not dozing off to a dry, dull educational book will get me more hours of sleep each night than being kept awake for just one more chapter of a vapid page turner.