Bookstore Corner

Crazy Wisdom Books on 114 South Main is worth a visit at least once.

They’re well-stocked. They have two floors, one with a fairly decent selection of metaphysical and “alternative religion” (pagan, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) books, though the inventory within each category is not as deep as the amount of categories is wide, and the second floor with a cafe-type space, a meeting room, and an assortment of yoga and meditation materials. There is the usual new-age store bric-a-brac, including every type of incense you would want (yes, Nag Champa included), candles, tarot cards, and other fine products. The music was determinedly Celtic (or faux-Celtic), with a lot of fiddles and flutes and female-voiced ululations, and the store employees were determinedly businesslike.

They had, near the front door, a shelf with a number of prominently-displayed anti-Bush books. This is par for the course in Ann Arbor, naturally, but I’m fascinated by the concept of a “spirituality” bookstore jumping on the partisan bandwagon. I suppose they’re only doing what every other bookstore in their position would do, but it still seems incongruous that customers coming in looking for a little zen or centering or whatever would also want to take home a little political red meat with their $16.00 peace-to-the-world-in-20-languages candle. Just one more example of the “divided electorate,” I guess.

For a new age store, they were about the grumpiest, sourest bunch I’ve ever encountered. I suppose they aren’t paid very much to dust the Goddess figurines and Tibetan prayer squares they’re required to attend to. Also, people weren’t lining up out the door to purchase stuff. And, on a cynical note, recent events in the world haven’t exactly encouraged belief in the supernatural.

But if you can’t find good humor and lightness of soul in a New Age bookshop, where, for crying out loud, can you find it?