There are many ways to join Shimer in reading along and reading together, for we are also about conversation and discussion, whether in the classroom, the hallways, in coffee shops or online.
In a small book called The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Lewis Buzbee recounts the wonders of wandering around bookstores, working in bookstores, and much more. Such places, in his view, are unique in that they allow for browsing, and they allow for being alone together. As we browse, we know that there are others browsing, and when we sit down on the floor (or a convenient chair) and read a chapter, we are, also, reading alone together.
Buzbee is not a Shimerian in the sense of having graduated from Shimer or even having attended for a semester. And yet, his book made me think that if he arrived here tomorrow, he would find something familiar – reading alone, and reading together. Indeed, the bookstore where I purchased The Yellow Lighted Bookshop is a place where I know the owners will ask me how Shimer is doing each time I come in for a browse.
There are many ways to join Shimer in reading along and reading together, for we are also about conversation and discussion, whether in the classroom, the hallways, in coffee shops or online. In this we challenge what Buzbee describes as a “silent” community of readers. We are as sure that reading improves with conversation as that reading is worthwhile. For those of you who are far distant from our hallways, we hope you have found congenial Shimer-ish places to continue the conversation and the reading, and that you will take seriously the opportunity to do so with us through online discussions (insert link) which include faculty from Shimer.
And, we hope you will continue to do what all aficionados of good bookstores do – share the knowledge, recruit new Shimerians, and contribute your treasure to help sustain the discussions that are Shimer’s mission. As you do so, you can think of the conversation I overheard at Sandemeyer’s recently, where I purchased The Yellow Lighted Bookshop. “I am buying this,” said a visitor from Milwaukee, “because I was once a bookseller, and I know that you need the dollars to continue to support both those who browse and those who buy. I love bookstores, and I know you need my help.”
I do, by the way, recommend the book!