So I allowed myself only two purchases today at the antiquarian Mesa Bookshop in downtown Mesa, Arizona, Gary Wills' slim volume, Saint Augustine, Viking 1999, and Joseph Agassi's Faraday as Natural Philosopher, University of Chicago Press, 1971.
But I resisted the temptation to buy a big fat biography of Richard Brautigan, a poet/novelist of sorts I hadn't thought about in years and whom I last read in the 'sixties. The book of his I read is probably the same one you read if you are a veteran of those heady days and were en rapport with its Zeitgeist. I refer of course to Trout Fishing in America. Even if you never read it, you will recall the cover from the numerous copies scattered about the crash pads of the those far-off and fabulous times.
But I resisted the temptation to buy the fat, space-consuming biography for which there is no room on my Beat shelf. Instead, I sat down and read deep into the opening chapter which recounts in gory detail Brautigan's suicide at age 49 in 1984 achieved by a .44 magnum round to the head.
Brautigan, like Bukowski, had a hard life and writing was their therapy. The therapy proved more efficacious in the case of Bukowski, however.
I have been visiting the Mesa Bookshop for over a quarter of a century now. These days I pop in once a year, every year, on Thanksgiving Eve right after I pick up my T-shirt and race number for the annual Mesa Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving morning, which I run or 'run' every year. Time was when I ran the 10 K but tomorrow I'll essay the 5 K and see how the old knees hold up.
After the book shop and a snatch of conversation with Old Mike behind the counter I follow my tradition of having lunch nearby either at a good Mexican joint name of Mangoes or as today at a Thai place across the street, Nunthaporn Thai Cuisine. Recommended if you should ever find yourself in the heart of Mesa.
How I love this time of year! And what a pleasure listening to Dennis Prager on the drive over and Michael Medved on the drive back.