What does the future hold for brick and mortar book shops? Things are looking bright! As the internet has decimated big box book retailers, small independent book shops have reemerged as vital community spaces. These shops offer the author readings and events, fortuitous browsing discoveries, and simple human interactions that you just can't find online. So what's the greatest threat to modern booksellers? It isn't the Kindle: it's the rising rents.
A family wedding in Kenya inspires Ken to start reading about Africa-and thinking about the book collections that could be made up of works about this vast and varied continent. From the early exploration narratives of the 1700's to the novels of Ernest Hemingway and Isak Dinesen, the possibilities are almost as diverse as Africa is.
Books! They're not just for reading. They can lend atmosphere to a bar or hotel lobby, make your living room seem smarter, and even be hollowed out in order to contain a tiny gun. In this episode Ken talks about decorating with books: books as silent conveyors of knowledge and safety, books as status symbols, and even books as movie set decor (books from the Brattle have made cameos in a few famous films). Whether it’s 6,000 red books or a single exquisite leather-bound volume, books really do furnish a room.
He voyaged with Captain Cook, escaped from college via canoe, and attempted to walk across Russia. But, most importantly for our purposes, he also wrote a plain looking, easily discarded book, some volumes of which contain an extremely valuable map. He's John Ledyard, the most interesting New England character you've never heard of and the author of Captain Cook's Voyages, the book we should all be scouring yard sales for!