Usually I far prefer shopping at independent bookstores to supporting the chains.  But here’s the problem: there are, as far as I know, no independent bookstores in either my city, Elyria, or the nearest cities/villages in either direction — Grafton, Lagrange, Lorain, Sheffield, Avon and North Ridgeville.  So I have to drive all the way to Oberlin, Amherst or Cleveland, which I love to do, but don’t always have time to do.  Plus I feel that burning extra fuel to get there neutralizes any karmic good (for lack of a better phrase) I accomplish by buying independent.  So I tend to visit the stores in Oberlin and Cleveland only when I have other things to do in those cities — that way, I accomplish several tasks on the same set of carbon emissions.  I had the same moral dilemma when deciding to read during the mint farm benefit in Michigan this coming weekend — so I decided to take another poet with me and hit two readings and a bookstore on the same trip.  Don’t be fooled, however — I did/do all of the above more for personal enjoyment than for the sake of any so-called karmic balance.

Today, hypocritical I couldn’t resist taking a trek to Borders Books in Westlake (about halfway from Elyria to Cleveland) to take advantage of a tremendous sale — one free book (from two selected racks) with any purchase.  I bought a Penguin Classics paperback of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet (for which I’ve been a long time lusting), and for my freebie I chose Michael Ryan’s hardbound New and Selected Poems (the only poetry book on the free rack, though the one poem I’ve read in it so far is excellent).  I also found a huge hardbound biography of Ariel Sharon (by Nir Hefez and Gadi Bloom) marked down from $29.99 to one dollar — and couldn’t pass it up.  Essentially three books for the price of one….

Finally, it looks like Geri and I might burn more gasoline tonight in order to accept James and Dianne Borsenik’s invitation to see the Moody Blues perform at the Nautica Pavilion in Cleveland.  A very cool venue on the Cuyahoga River — last time we were there was to see Chris Isaak in the summer of 2004….  Here’s you a taste: