Lancaster, California’s only general purpose bookstore—serving a city of close to 200,000 people—closed a couple of weeks ago. It was a Waldenbooks, and, ironically, it shut down within about a week of the city’s mayor—R. Rex Parris—making this comment to a gathering of 160 people:
We’re growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that…I need (Lancaster community) standing up and saying we’re a Christian community, and we’re proud of that.
Mercifully, the mayor walked back his channeling of John Calvin and sectarianism (see here), and that means that maybe now he can move his focus from the lofty goal of making Lancaster a city set upon a hill to the more modest goal of making it a city with a bookstore. Here’s what the old one looked like yesterday morning. I bought a lot of books there. And it was nice to have someplace in the city that offered an allusive nod to Henry David Thoreau:
And below is another image. The shadow being cast on the sidewalk is from a palm tree (a bit of which you can see reflected in the window). Thoreau would have noticed the palm tree and its shadow. And I can’t help but think of the poet Wallace Stevens’s line, “The palm at the end of the mind.”