Sundays are usually pretty peaceful, good music, a few customers walking in and spending money, and loads of reading…
A couple of Sundays ago we were playing host to a couple of thingies at mothership Goobe’s.
- Book walk organized by the good people at The Humming Tree’s book tentacle – Books and Brews.
- Science Fiction discussion – Dystopias: Orwell’s 1984 & Animal Farm, Bradbury’s 451 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s tale.
The book walk was rescheduled and we were moved from the first stop to the last (Which was ask expected kind of a bummer – people tired after a whole day of visiting bookstores, buying books and lugging them around)
Had to juggle staffing of minions and would have to splice the SF discussion, managed to get some reading done.
Regular customer who is a scientist that frequents Goobe’s walked in, we had a neat chat about his work and some flux that is going on in the Evolutionary Biology academic scene, nice.
Another repeat customer from the states who works for a big legal drug firm, walks in after sometime, he is back for a training project. He thanked me for suggesting the Shashi Tharoor’s new book – The era of darkness. Always reassuring to hear that folks like books suggested. Spoke to him about the shit which we have been up to. Introduce the two of them and hear the sweetest thing.
“This man has been the only thing that has maintained my sanity during my stay here” Yeah, of course most people hate their fucking jobs, hate traffic and other shit that has been going down, my scientist friend answers that “for you, me and many other people” Fuck, if I were to die right now, I would die a happy man just hearing that but there is much more to be done.
Both customers buy a shit load of books, smile, look really happy with their haul or whatever, say thank you and leave, the scientist promising to come for the SF reading.
Read some more, a few interruptions.
Sci-fi dude and dudette walk in with a mathematician, no this is not a joke, it was the first of the reading group. Two ladies walk in along with Amit and Vijay co-pilots of this ship. The talk began with an introduction and confession of which of the 4 required reading books were actually read. Most had read two at least and surprisingly none had read the Atwood book.
Discussion was pretty sweet, covered the books, the references to the current state of affairs, how AI can be nasty because it is based on human learning – usually ends up sexist or racist, how pigs walk away in human clothes (Fuck Orwell was a harsh motherfucker), how most people think we are living out 1984 not Huxley’s Brave new world, what would be a perfect voting system (including books which have people hooked up to a neural network, some with further enhancements that make them superior), a little talk on Dick (PKDick i.e) and how he is super awesome, how the word Ubiquity was derived from Dick’s UBIK, and how most dystopias offer no real hope, though 451 does offer hope through the book people who memorize books (as the books are being eradicated by other people), yes dystopias are fucking beautifully depressing.
Main Sci-fi dude pulled out a quote from Orwell that is so fucking prescient that it is going to make your hair stand…
“ We don’t all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what they have to put up with.”
Sounds familiar? Hrn?
Now do you want to begin to fall in love with Science Fiction?
Took this pic of the folks that came for the reading…
Book walk people started walking in, got Amit and Vijay to talk about what we are, the bashful fuckers did an excellent job – A description of what we are not; “We hate romance – bad ones at least, good ones we will keep, we hate pulp – cant get rid of it fast enough.”
Then a bit of what we are; “We love Science Fiction, we love non-fiction and we love literature, we are a book store, we are a library and we buy pre-loved books with joy and have been doing it for the last eight years and counting…”
Also about why we have composters at the entrance to the store – it’s the best decentralized way of taking care of some of the shit we generate at home – 60% of your wet waste, why send it to a landfill? Seriously do it, all thinking individuals should be doing it already.
Introduction by the little energizer bunny from THT, talk about the importance of independent stores, something about amazon (heckling from the booksellers – “FUCK AMAZON”), a little about advantage of asking for suggestions from people that love books and some more stuff that I forget.
Walkers browse, some come for suggestions, some make requests for books that we do not have.
Rang up a tidy amount – about a third of what we used to do pre-demonetization (do’nt see any fucking “development” here awesome fudged GDP numbers or not)
Spoke to a little lady who seemed to be some kind of whip for a young IT co, got to drink masala chai (with too much masala) from a box – yeah that was weird.
Book walk people leave.
Met two ladies from the Indian Institute of Science, who are going to organize discussions with students and the unwashed masses, at our store no less. That was pretty sweet, while having this discussion, one of the girls tells me that she thinks a dude sitting on one of the lower steps was trying to take a photo/go live on FB or some perv site (she had a short blue summer dress on) Got up, abused the man for a bit in bad hindi and asked him to leave. Apologized to the ladies, I had nothing to do with it and had no reason to apologize, I somehow felt responsible for “mankind” fuck – we are really quite fucked up.
Ask the girls for suggestions of books that pushed them over to science when they were younger, received an email with a bunch of links to the brain pickings site, and a huge ass list of excellent books on Science. We accept the fact that our knowledge is very limited and the only way to change that is by asking for help when its required. We are on for a discussion at the store on the last weekend of the month. Really excited to be participating in the insertion of Science into culture (pop?). Will be working with the super awesome Gathr on this (they curate beautiful interactions and learning sessions, seriously you need to check em out.)
Asked the ladies to approach schools some schools, there was some talk about how the system educates kids-rote learning and not encouraging curiosity.
This has to change.
Hung out with the minions and discussed the day that went by, which was pretty fucking awesome.
While killing some beers a library regular walked in and asked for some sort of self help book, asked him why he wanted to read rubbish, most self help books can be absorbed through the title, give a brief speil on Science Fiction and he selects Dick’s awesome Do androids dream of electric sheep?
We genuinely feel we have saved this brave readers soul.
Want to see more awesome shit happen?
Buy at a fucking indi bookstore, people who work there usually love books as much as you do some, perhaps a little more.