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Murray Browne
Decatur, Georgia
Writer, Bookseller
Interests: Down & Outbound: A Mass Transit Satire (2016), The Book Shopper: A Life in Review (2009), Understanding Search Engines (1999), Destination: Books (a popup book shop)
Recent Activity
Once in a while I will write a longer essay that doesn't fit The Book Shopper format, which is surprising because our editorial policy can be a little loosey-goosey at times. These alternative lengthier works often end up at the Tropics of Meta (ToM). Using their words, ToM "offers a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2021 at The Book Shopper
Before "the old year slips away, lamented by no one*," a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens is in order. My memory of Dickens goes back to my school days in the 5th grade when I was assigned the Victorian novelist as part of the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2020 at The Book Shopper
Because of the latest surge of the COVID-19 cases, Destination: Books has put its Alibris online store on "vacation" hold indefinitely. In the meantime if you have any questions, contact Murray Browne at murray.browne905 (AT) Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2020 at Destination: Books
Unlike many book lists that enumerate the best books published during the year, The Book Shopper blog can boast that even though none of the books on our list were published in 2020, at least all the selections have been read cover to cover, and gleaned from a list of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2020 at The Book Shopper
Over at Destination: Books the companion-other-side-of-the-counter blog to The Book Shopper, I recently posted an article about "les bouquinistes" the Paris book vendors who have been selling reading material in book stalls along the Seine River since the Middle Ages. The pandemic has crippled their business because of the lack... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2020 at The Book Shopper
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, (enough of the Super Spreader events already!) the Destination: Books business plan of venturing out into the world of popup books stalls remains on hold for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I must be content to put more books online at the Destination:... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2020 at Destination: Books
While reading Vladimir Nabokov’s 1953 humorous novel Pnin about the teaching life of a Russian émigré in a fictitious small New England college town, this line stood out among the many noteworthy passages: “With the help of the janitor, he (Pnin) screwed on the side of a desk (in his... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2020 at The Book Shopper
This is the final posting to the Down & Outbound blog. For you few, the very few subscriber/friends you won't notice much change in the volume of your inbox since I've only been averaging a posting a month (for over four years). There are several reasons to end it permanently:... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2020 at Down & Outbound: The Hub
This passage comes from Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017): The hero of a David Lodge novel says that you don't know, when you make love for the last time, that you are making love for the last time. Voting is like that. Some of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2020 at The Book Shopper
Though your garden plot might be winding down for the season (like mine at the community garden plot), this could be the time to catch up on your sustainability reading or reliving some of the joys of gardening. Destination Books has several new books at its Alibris online store for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2020 at Destination: Books
To motivate myself to write more essays, I recently finished Brian Dillon’s Essayism: On Form, Feeling and Nonfiction (2017). As a long-time subscriber to Cabinet magazine, I am familiar with Dillon’s byline as an editor of the quarterly, which sadly is ending its gorgeous print version and going strictly online.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2020 at The Book Shopper
"...there was no end to stupidity, and nothing so dangerous." W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants (1992) Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at The Book Shopper
By coincidence last week, I stumbled on to a movie and a book where trains play a prominent role in the storyline. They even share an educational component: Wim Wenders, The American Friend. Wenders directed this 1977 German-French film starring Dennis Hopper and a young Bruno Ganz the late, great... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Down & Outbound: The Hub
I have been a Believer subscriber for over ten years and rarely have I thrown away or recycled an issue even though I am nonplussed about the publication. In one (and in the most important) way I've always found each issue containing some interview, feature or essay that introduced me... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2020 at Destination: Books
This year I started keeping a personal list called Suggested Readings linked off the main menu of the blog’s homepage (unbeknownst to you email subscribers) where I keep track of books that have been recommended to me and the source of that suggestion. It can come in handy for ready-reference,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2020 at The Book Shopper
Every summer for the past four years, I have written a long piece for the Tropics of Meta or ToM for short. In their words, ToM "offers a fresh perspective on history, current events, popular culture, and issues in the academic world. Founded in 2010, ToM has published (online) over... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2020 at The Book Shopper
In 2018, these big plastic planters in hideous purple, blue and orange colors were added to busy Dekalb Avenue to slow the traffic from Atlanta into Decatur. I don't how effective they were in calming traffic but nothing slows traffic like a pandemic. These plastic planters have met with some... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2020 at Down & Outbound: The Hub
Next month there will be commemorations* for the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). One writer who is synonymous with that fateful day, which hastened the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II is John Hersey (1914-1993).... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2020 at The Book Shopper
If you are stuck at home, yearning for travel, and running out of things to read, perhaps you are thinking to yourself, "Maybe it's time to read Will and Ariel Durant's 11 volume The Story of Civilization. " If so, you are in luck. Destination: Books in its ongoing efforts... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2020 at Destination: Books
Do you like to stay up late at night reading, but get tired of holding the book long before you get sleepy? Then check out the revolutionary Buchor Model C, a device that allows you to lie in perfect repose and read your book without having to hold it. Der... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2020 at The Book Shopper
Before the COVID-19 pandemic in March, this small parking lot near the Avondale Station here in Atlanta would be filled before 8:30 in the morning. Now if you drive in there, one has the uneasy feeling of: "Am I even supposed to be here?" Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2020 at Down & Outbound: The Hub
Several of my recent reading choices in the past six months have been a direct result of my subscription to The Sun Magazine out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Sun Magazine is a monthly literary publication of essays, fiction, poetry and photography. Each issue has an in-depth interview with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2020 at The Book Shopper
With Hot Stove League extended past Memorial Day because of the pandemic, my ability to maintain an interest in baseball has waned. With few exceptions, I have little interest in watching tired-ass games of the past or baseball players video gaming or repeats of baseball movie standards ad nauseum such... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2020 at The Book Shopper
With no foreseeable end to the COVID-19 lock down the Destination: Books popup book stall remains at home with no opportunity to wear our T-shirt "uniforms" out in public. Last year we were at the Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association (GABA) Paper and Art Fair at the Decatur Book Festival but... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2020 at Destination: Books
Inspired by the recent ESPN series "The Last Dance" about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty, this posting is an excerpt from the 2016 book Down & Outbound: A Mass Transit Satire (available online only from Destination: Books or Amazon). The map shows the fictitious Atlantis City Transit System... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2020 at Down & Outbound: The Hub