1001 Black Men–#302

I think I’ve made this admission before, but I’ll do it again, just in case my memory is deceiving me: I do, at times, shop at chain bookstores. As a bibliophile, I understand that this is problematic, as small independent stores (and big independent stores) do tend to over a level of service and expertise (as well as a diversity of selections) that the chains seem unable to match. Still, when I want the new Sara Paretsky mystery novel, it’s easier to go to Barnes and Noble than it is to visit three separate independents before I can find one that actually stocked this very popular book. I should say, though, that all of the driving from store to store ended up being more than worth it. When I finally found the book, at Diesel Bookstore on College Ave, it was only $8.00, considerably cheaper even than on Amazon.com, and all because of a barely detectable cut in the dust jacket. I guess I just disproved my own point…

In any event, I saw this shopper in this drawing at one of my favorite independents, Books Inc. The Market St. Books Inc., near Castro (in San Francisco) is the one I like the best, but I end up at the Alameda store a lot more often. That is where I ran into the man in this post. I noticed him because of his thick, full beard, and because he was both tall and big–in a way that suggested he might have wrestled or rowed in college; and yet, at the same time, he seemed to emanate a desire not to call attention to himself, a challenge for someone who was easily the tallest man not only in the store, but (probably) on the block.

Ajuan Mance

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