Meet the mascot

Meet the Mascot at Walls of Books – Atchison . . .

Betty (Bibli)Ophilia¹ Walls

a/k/a Betty the Bookstore Bunny

Betty the Bookstore Bunny has become a store fixture at Walls of Books – Atchison, the store my wife manages, since the Great “Books with Bunnies” Adoption event.²  At night, Betty sleeps in her cage in the back, and she stays behind the counter most of the time the store is open.  She eats pellet food, hay, and the occasional celery top or strawberry leaf.  She is “trained” and has only had one minor accident-statement—as though to say “this area is now mine.”  She enjoys ripping newspaper shreds and nibbling on cardboard, an activity that’s good for her teeth.

Development and Training

Betty has grown comfortable in her area.  She lazes, she sits and munches, or she watches and checks things out.  She perks up when cars pass by and when customers come in the door but is not skittish.  She shows curiosity about Mama Manager’s activities and often approaches to sniff and to learn about the cash register.  Betty may turn out to be a natural retailer, but she is a hare short to be of much direct assistance.  BOSHA² has recommended the installation of an ergonomically sound rabbit pedestal.  Betty doesn’t appear to be the litigious type and is unlikely to sue, being rather content with standing on her hind legs, jumping a little in the morning, and flopping down at breaktime.

Product Knowledge and Local Sales Implications

Betty’s IQ has not been tested, but she manifests a love of learning.  She shows a particular taste for what is termed “inspectional reading” in Mortimer Adler’s classic guide (but has not actually tasted any books).

A shop three doors down often has a black lab mix sitting near the door, but he seems to ward off undesirables and divert attention more than actually contributing to sales.  A couple of notable establishments in town have the requisite store cat, but no feline-revenue correlation has been published.  On the other hand, a couple of special customers have gotten to spend time with Betty the Bookstore Bunny, forming a bond.  It is thought that Betty will eventually be able to greet customers—and perhaps to help direct them to certain authors/items, e.g., the Beatrix Potter and Alice in Wonderland books, the pet section, and fidget toys (but not the hunting section).

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Previous posts on books:

Books! (1 of 2)

Books! (2 of 2)

Store Link:

Walls of Books in Atchison, Kansas:

¹ “Bibliophilia,” from Gk. biblio and philos, means “love of books.”

² The adoption program on 4/15/17 was jointly sanctioned by Walls of Books franchise headquarters and BPS.  [BPS, of course, is Bunny Protective Services.  I assume readers can deduce what BOSHA in the Development and Training section is.]  No large snakes were benefited by the bunny placements.  


Books! (2 of 2)

Thanks to the new bookstore in our lives, I “deal” in books even more than before.  As much as I appreciate and use electronic technologies, I want paper or a physical book in my hand when I read anything longer than a couple paragraphs.  Audio books on a portable device?  Absolutely.  But I can’t imagine ever gravitating to an e-reader if I can choose a paperback or hardbound volume instead.  (If your hands get tired holding open a book, try this cool gadget.)

A couple days ago, the first post in this short series appeared.  At some point, I may share a few book covers I will never spend my time with, for various reasons.  That should be fun.  For now, though, here are a few more of the new books that have drawn my interest.

 img_20161215_073853_334.jpg I judged this book by its cover.  Positively, that is.  I liked the look of it—a spare design, a nice font.  I like thinking about maps, national borders, and music.  Basically, everything about this cover drew me in.

I don’t know the author, but I’ve seen the movie made from his earlier title.  This one is a nice, moderate-length hardback; based on the flap and back cover info, it has much promise for relaxed storytelling.  Probably a book to be borrowed, not kept.  (Can’t imagine reading a novel a 2nd time.  Corollary:  I can count on the fingers of two hands [with a couple fingers cut off] the movies I’ve intentionally watched a 2nd or 3rd time.)

Best-selling physician-author M. Scott Peck was first famous for The Road Less Traveled.  He is known for some philosophy and some theology in a deeper-than-the-norm self-help vein.  We’ll see if this novel lives up to his name.  I found one pretty negative review, but I suspect I’ll appreciate some things about it anyway.
img_20161215_163058_061.jpg I’ve only vaguely noticed this and other similar titles before.  I probably should have picked it up years ago.  (I have at times exercised little judgment in “choosing my battles.”)  The message here is likely good for me right about now:  when I’m inwardly pouting about relatively little things, or in the annoying lulls between computer screen-refreshes because one software program our company uses behaves badly, or when decisions inhibit my efficiency and effectiveness, I should probably take this book out and read a few pages.
Because everyone needs a rule book for the greatest, most interesting game the world has ever known.  (Just ignore today’s obscene player salaries and team owners’ greed. Those things spoil the game. Oh, for the days of Lou Gehrig and Dizzy Dean and Lou Boudreau and Pee Wee Reese and Carl Erskine and Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and Stan Musial and even Tom Seaver and Joe Morgan and George Brett. . . .)  The intricacies of baseball can lead to interesting questions that I’ll now be able to investigate more easily. 20161208_210553.jpg
20161208_210559.jpg New Testament Words is a treasured find, and right up my alley.  Some of my study partners will caution me not to place this work too close to my BDAG lexicon or my Greek grammars, but the linguistic insights of the renowned Scottish scholar William Barclay will certainly illuminate some things. In terms of importance in my studies, I imagine these elaborations will exceed those of A.T. Robertson in his six-volume set Word Pictures in the New Testament, at whose right this Barclay book now stands.  (It was interesting to find that this used book belonged to a friend of a friend.  I’ve no idea why anyone would get rid of this one!)
This book certainly caught my eye and was a gift from someone who knew it would. The Kingdom of God is arguably the most comprehensive, utterly significant, even cataclysmic topic of all time. I have already read some of this, and I’ve bookmarked it for a time that my attentions can be more focused. 20161208_210607.jpg

Speaking of God’s Kingdom . . . prior to examining the holdings of “our” new bookstore, I had begun to build a mini-collection of books about Christians, culture, society, government, and (what I take as) the over-arching Kingdom of God.  I’ve spoken and written extensively about this Kingdom myself, and it’s a good time to share again some details, along with the means of acquiring a copy of my book Subjects of the Kingdom.

At least parts of this book would be good reading for any thoughtful person who observes and cares about how pure Christianity relates to American society.  I am interested in avoiding various traps of the Christian Right, and the notion that American patriotism and Christianity should go hand in hand is one of those traps.  The book somewhat extensively deals with some important-but-often-overlooked ideals of original Christianity—namely, nonviolence and non-participation in human government in favor of an “apocalyptic” view of the Kingdom of God.

The term “pacifism” could perhaps be said to be a book theme, but I am reluctant to use the term for fear that it is associated with less thoughtful, or differently thoughtful, philosophies and theologies.  What I advocate does not necessarily correlate to so-called “pacifism” in terms of beliefs about what a government should or should not do.  (On the contrary, I seek to emphasize what those in the Christian nation should or should not do.)  On the other hand, when one digs, he can find quite a number of (pacifistic) “peace churches,” historically speaking, and this fact alone may be surprising to groups other than my own, such as contemporary fundamentalists and Roman Catholics.

Here is a link to cover blurbs from Subjects of the Kingdom: Christians, Conscience, Government, and the Reign of the King.

And here are two ways to get the book:

  1.  CreateSpace Direct

Password:  allegiance

Add the book (1 or more copies) to your “cart,” and then on the next page, paste in the BL8DQZ4H discount code for $1.50 off.

2. Amazon  (may be cheaper, especially if you get a used copy or get free shipping)

All my books may be viewed and purchased here.

Books! (1 of 2)

When the crew came from Gottwals Books headquarters to help set up the new Walls of Books store, one of the t-shirts they wore queried, “Why buy other stuff when you can buy books“?  Yeah!  I might appreciate the acquisition of some good fruits or a new vacuum cleaner, too, but new books are of more value, I figure.

For as long as I can remember, books have been important to me, although I have not been an avid reader, really.  I generally read to have read, or to learn, if you know what I mean.  But I do value books, and I love neat categories on my book shelves.

Recently, thanks to this new store opportunity, I think about books more often and more expansively.  I have traded in quite a few old ones that I don’t think I’ll need again, and I’ve selected a few new ones, too.  Fiction is not generally my thing, but I had previously acquired a copy of Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress.  I took nearly a year to read it, but I finally finished it a month ago.  Although I now have ready access to all the top-selling novel authors, e.g., James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Andrew Greeley, Gillian Flynn, Nicholas Sparks, and (gasp) Debbie Macomber, my next fiction read will probably be another one I’ve had on the shelf for a while:  The Chamber by John Grisham, who is still the best novelist/storyteller I know.

For what it’s worth, here are several of the new ones I’ve taken home—some with my store credit, some on loan (it’s nice knowing the manager and the owner!), and a couple were gifts.

20161208_210610.jpg Through Painted Deserts is not exactly a “coming of age” story, but it has a youth-growing-up layer.  Reading this is as relaxing as it is constructional and inspirational.  Having read Blue Like Jazz a dozen years ago at the recommendation of a younger friend, I knew Donald Miller to be a good writer with something to say about life and God.  His style of relating the two is not exactly my own, but there’s something about him and his ways and his descriptions that makes me wish I were a little more free.
And what about a little light reading?  On a simple topic?  That no one has ever stumbled over or philosophized about?  Mark Vernon’s All That Matters:  God is sort of a brief, fair-minded history of various strands of theological philosophy, not really a theological investigation, and certainly not confined to Judeo-Christian ideas.  Still, this book now sits, having had a fairly thorough scan, among my more traditional books about God by J.I. Packer, A.W. Tozer, and others.
20161208_210556.jpg I always wanted my own Dead Sea Scrolls.  Not really.  But I figured it was a steal at $2.97 to have this early edition of a colossally important find of the middle 20th century.

I doubt I’ll ever read through it all; it’s a reference book more than anything else, and it’ll be better to look at a page in this book than to find some unreliable, hard-to-navigate web page.  Eventually I’ll have to do some spelunking of my own to find out whether this edition has an academic axe to grind, and how it was published so early, and so cheaply, to begin with.

I’m a sucker for a story about people who righteously rebel against the corrupt and/or stupid status quo.  This promises to be just that.  Never had heard of the Cathars.  Their label would appear to be related to “catharsis,” which has taken on a new meaning in current use but which derives from the ancient Greek root καθαρ- | kathar- which signified (roughly) cleaning/cleansing.

This ties in with my interest in biblical words, etymology, and linguistics in general.  And doesn’t it whet your appetite to know more about the Cathars?  I only hope their take on cleansing was more inward rather than finding its voice in such violent atrocities as the Inquisition or the Crusades.

img_20161211_205700_450.jpg This one was a gift . . . because everyone needs a Chilton’s manual for his old truck . . . if not for himself, perhaps the backyard mechanic he will someday hire will find it useful.

On a side note, I wish my little Chevy S10 were red—or, better yet, blue or green—but the white one was a good buy at $1500, and I’ve only put $300 into it.

I’ve also written some books.  You can find them here.  There are two on musical topics; one on the Christian assembly and one on Christian Worship, and I’ve made contributions to other books that also show up on the same page.  In planning stages are books on conducting and Matthew’s gospel, but those are many months or even years off.

In the next post on books, I’ll give some detail on my own magnum opus as well as sharing some more blurbs on books from the bookstore.