I was sent the following article on borders, which gives a different slant on something I have mentioned in the past.
There probably is no perfect border in the world, because each is, in some way, artificial (with the exception of rivers). Still, humans seem want to draw, control, and defend these unnatural lines.
This article caused me to think about another kind of border: voting districts. I learned a word in school: gerrymander, which keeps recurring in articles about the United States. This practice seems to be a normal feature of life and is practiced by both parties. No one seems to be upset, because each knows that they are guilty and will do the same if in power. No fixed battles are fought and no shots are fired (unless Blacks are attempting to register).
I like bookshops. It is difficult to pass one without stopping…at least to study the window display, if not wander in and browse. I buy more books than I need or can ever read.
Therefore, it saddens me to read about Borders closing. One of there shops was my last stop at Orlando Airport, before submitting myself to the indignities of security checks. I left my wife at McDonalds with a packet of French fries and a coke (we have very different priorities) and rushed to make a last-minute purchase (The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain). I had read a favorable review by one of my favorite Guardian columnists (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/10/hadley-freeman-richardson-ernest-hemingway?INTCMP=SRCH) and had considered buying at Barnes & Noble in Miami. I had room in my backpack for one more book.
From what I have read, Borders in a case of self-inflicted wounds. Management seems to have guessed wrong on major strategic issues, whereas Barnes & Noble got some things right. The world is always changing, and good managers guess correctly more times than not. My hope is that English bookshops will hold out longer, because I expect to visit that country more than the land of disappearing bookstores.