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Death of a Bookstore February 7, 2010

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Culture, Current Events, Nina Rosenstand's Posts.
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Recently I blogged about the sad demise of used bookstores across the country. Now, for us San Diegans, it is hitting home: The most fascinating, thought-inspiring used bookstore in San Diego, Wahrenbrock’s, closed in 2009, and now the remaining inventory is being sold next weekend. Today’s article in the Union-Tribune illustrates some of the points I made in my previous post.

 “The last time I saw it truly busy in here was in 1997 or so,” said Jeff Brehan, a friend of the Valverde family and a former Wahrenbrock clerk. “Chuck’s lament was that customers he used to see three times a week he’d barely see once a month.”

So here we are, with the ultimate treasure trove of books in San Diego abandoning us, because we abandoned it. And I feel guilty—because Jeff is talking about me (among others): if I, an intellectual whose business, and passion, it is to read, couldn’t even bother to come back to W. more than maybe two-three times a year lately, then how can I blame others?

I have a proposition for you good people reading this blog: we can’t save Wahrenbrock’s, but maybe there’s another used bookstore in your neighborhood? How about if you make a point of, maybe every 2-3 weeks, to go in there and look around, spend 20+ minutes, and buy a  book? First ask if they have a Philosophy section. If they don’t, then buy a book, anyway. Maybe just a $2 crime novel. And then report in to this blogpost about what you bought, if it is in any way philosophically relevant—which just means that it will get your mind started with new questions. Let’s do it.



1. Paul J. Moloney - February 8, 2010

The world has been different for me since Walden and Dalton Bookstores left the malls in Mission Valley. Seeing philosophy books in a store at the mall can give one the sense that philosophy has a existence outside of oneself. In other words, it can make philosophy seem more objective. It can also give one the sense that philosophy has an existence outside academic institutions.

My latest purchase was made at the Barnes and Noble in Hazard Center. I think I like the quieter atmosphere at this store, as they do not sell cd’s, dvd’s and coffee. (There is a lot of fanfare at Borders.) I bought Daniel Dennett’s “Consciousness Explained”. So far it reads more like a psychology book than a philosophy book to me, but maybe he is leading into a more philosophical discussion. Whether or not the book gets more philosophical, Daniel surveys some good points regarding psychology and consciousness, points of which I was not aware. I am only on page 165, but, as far as I can tell, this book would be a must if anyone wants to speculate on consciousness.

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