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Dear Borders,

I admit, expecting you to have De Magistro - or anything by Augustine other than the Confessions, really - was a bit of a fool's hope. I know, most people as eclectic as me buy online these days. And I get that Augustine is seen as a church father first and a philosopher second by many folks outside my discipline.

But Christian Inspiration? Really? Tucked in between Chicken Soup and a book on why America. Is a Christian nation and should act like it? Really?

Augustine must be rolling in his grave, as must Aquinas whose Shorter Summa I saw on the next shelf over. Christian History I would have accepted with a minimum of gritted teeth. Classics would have been understandable. But that was just insulting.

You lost a sale tonight - two of them since I'd planned to buy Sandel's book on justice and refused on general principles. Because Augustine might be many things, but Chicken Soup for the Medieval Soul ain't it.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
dwimordene_2011
Jan. 28th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
I FEEL YOUR PAIN!
I hate going to the philosophy section in bookstores. It's always an exercise in agony. Plato's Republic and Five Socratic dialogues, something by Bertrand Russell (usually Why I am Not A Christian), random commentators on generic topics, Kierkegaard, and (randomly) Wittgenstein. Maybe a little Dewey or Augustine. And then... Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rich Dad/Poor Dad (!), Kama Sutra (*sigh*), The Celestine Prophecy (!!), Ayn Rand's fiction (!!!), Eastern religions (which I'm okay with, but if it's really treating the religions of non-Western cultures in a serious fashion, then maybe that should go IN THE RELIGION SECTION? YOU KNOW, WHERE THE OTHER RELIGIONS LIVE - JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY... CHRISTIANITY... CHRISTIANITY... ), and junk on whatever apocalyptic conspiracy theory is trending with the unreconstructed orientalist readers.

Once I actually found Simone Weil in the philosophy section, but go figure, it was Waiting for God. Which, okay, fine... but she wrote lots of other things, too, and this just smacks of an agenda or of apathy: "Look, another book we don't know how to categorize. Too Catholic for religion, too uncomfortable for self-help. Just stick it in the philosophy section with the other things that don't go together."


(Not that I'm, you know, bitter or anything. Or buy all my books through Amazon or local used book stores.)
telperion1
Jan. 28th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
Re: I FEEL YOUR PAIN!
The worst thing about this particular store was that they had the philosophy section back behind the manga, fantasy, teen series, etc. rather than with the serious non-fiction. Which was fitting as half of it was that "Philosophy for Everybody" series (which is nice for an appetizer but hardly fits what I think of when the title comes up).

Really, this drives me to order a cheaped use version online which isn't all bad. I just was a bit pressed for time so if I could get a paperback at a decent price I probably would have bought new. So yes, their loss, but the whole arrangement just left me wanting to scream at store clerks.

(re: Simone Weil. My kingdom for an Anselm reading that doesn't begin and end with Proslogion II. I do feel your pain...)
aliana1
Jan. 28th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
Ha! Hell hath no fury like a philosopher scorned. As a fellow scholar, albeit not one of philosophy, I am royally peeved on your behalf.
gwynnyd
Jan. 28th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
The whole process must have been very surreal. How did you find any open *Borders* to look for a book in? I passed by their original store Wednesday night and was very sad to see it all shuttered and dark. Were you in some kind of space/time warp? (Or did "Borders" become the generic name for a bookstore when I wasn't looking?) ;-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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