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Yesterday I made my scavenging pilgrimage to Shaman Drum Bookshop, whose last day of life in the incarnation that we know it is today. I might go back and see if I can’t get the Vice Photo Book for dirt cheap, but my first scavenging trip kind of left me feeling weird. I was happy to have found a stack of books that I really wanted/needed/discovered that I wanted/needed. In real life it would have cost me nearly $200, but as it is, all of them were 50% off. Yet that’s more money than I’ve spent at once in a bookshop, barring buying textbooks at the beginning of a semester, in…I think ever, actually.

I am sad to see Shaman Drum go. I have fond memories of it dating back from childhood, visiting Ann Arbor with my mom and squatting in the history section while she did…I have no idea what she did. It’s symptomatic of the state of publishing these days, raises questions for me about the future, and makes me all nostalgic and misty-eyed. I’ve heard a lot of people express the opposite sentiment: good riddance, what’s the point in mourning a dinosaur, or what have you. Maybe I’m just a nerd.

But the act of scavenging the basement backstock, spread out on all the shelves in the store in no particular order, finding books on philosophy and social media, I felt a little weird. I wonder if this is what it’s like to fight with your siblings over your parents’ will? I wondered as I sifted through the decimated Media & Film section. When I called up my mom today we talked about the inevitable legal battle over Michael Jackson’s estate and kids, and I can’t help but think about how people and institutions (or people who are institutions) have barely to breathe their last breath than we — people close to them, the public, the news media — are swooping down from where they’ve been circling, waiting. It makes me melancholy.


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