Bargain Aisle Discovery

bargainWhen bookstores like Barnes and Noble meet what would seem to be the same certain fate as record stores … and my beloved Tower Records … one of the things I will miss most is a Bargain Aisle Discovery.  Oh, yes.  I’ll miss wandering through the store, looking through the book categories … mysteries, literature, self-help, spirituality … waiting for a title to call my name.   And I’ll miss the synchronicity of a title left out of place or on a table, a book that becomes a favorite, like The Artist’s Way did. But, oh, I will miss the the Bargain Aisle, where overstocks by well-known authors lie side-by-side with books by unknown authors whose first novels never quite took off.   I find unusual biographies I’d never read like A Three Dog Life and My Stroke of Insight keeping the company of art and music instruction books at a price too low to resist.  And then, there are the coffee table books full of glorious photography at a glorious discounts.  Freakin’ nirvana.

But even when Barnes and Noble bites the dust, all will not be lost.  Our local Anaheim Hills library has a used book section, mostly relatively new volumes in excellent condition donated by library supporters and on sale for ridiculousintimate prices.  Recently, the cover of Intimate Seasons by Shinzo and Akira Maeda caught my eye, a glorious photo of a profusion of cherry and scarlet peach blossoms that manages to be both detailed and Impressionistic at the same time, depending upon the degree to which my eyes focus.   As I leafed through the pages, I literally gasped at photo after photo (yes, I gasped quietly … it is a library, after all).  Shinzo Maeda, who passed away in 1998, was a world famous landscape photographer but was not well known in the U.S. because his 46 photography books were published in Japan.  As a boy, he and his son, Akira, would roam the hills of Hokkaido in northern Japan finding what musician Will Ackermann described as beauty, composition and abstraction in what was a lovely landscape but a landscape  far less spectacular than the landscape he illuminated for us.  Akira has continued and become a photographer in his own right, saying, The reason my father and I carried on taking photographs of those hills … can only be explained by the the fact that we fascinated by the way the scenery of tis country shifts with the passing of each month.   Intimate Seasons documents this passage through the lens of Shinzo and Akira Maeda.  It is the kind of photography that shatters any notion that wonderful photographs are simply a matter of equipment and place.   These are a few of Shinzo Maeda’s images courtesy the UK website, on Landscape.

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You can find more … and a brief biography of Shinzo Maeda by Tim Parkin here and you can find Intimate Seasons on Amazon, a used copy for as little as $10.   Or you can luck out and have a Bargain Aisle Discovery at your local library for fifty cents.  Either way if you love nature and beautiful photography, I can guarantee you at least one gasp per page.

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4 Comments on “Bargain Aisle Discovery”


  1. Oh how I long for those days of bargain books and book stores. I miss them all.

  2. Cheryl P. Says:

    I hope that some of the bookstores survive for those of us that love to spend hours looking through the shelves for interesting things to read. My husband would say that I am keeping the local Barnes and Noble in positive cash flow. There are still a few independent bookstores locally but all the Borders bookstores closed a year or so ago.

    Intimate Seasons does look like a beautiful book. While I clicked over to Amazon there is also Tree A Blade of Grass by the same photographer. It was also $10.00 (with 3.99 shipping)

    I find it amazing that some of the natural things that we see everyday can be captured into such beautiful artistic pictures. It’s not that I don’t see beautiful things, but I have never lined up the exquisite shot and taken a picture that comes out that spectacular.


  3. The same is happening here in the UK where bookshops of all kinds are far and few between. Libraries are also suffering terribly with reduced opening hours, too much spent on computers instead of book stocks and a lack of staff meaning that books are piled up on trolleys instead of being returned to the stacks.

  4. territerri Says:

    What a great find!

    I love that bargain aisle at Barnes and Noble. I don’t go as often as I used to. I tend to buy e-books more often these days. But I found myself there just before Christmas, picking up an audio book for my dad. I couldn’t resist the bargain aisle and stumbled upon a book by an author I’d recently discovered and enjoyed. My five buck book ended up being one I couldn’t put down.


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