In another journalistic life, I worked at an estimable Beltway publication covering the daily business of Congress. One of the early directives I encountered there concerned the use of the word “reform” in connection with any pending legislation. The notion of reform, I was soberly informed, was simply too charged and incendiary to pass as a description of any agenda item seeking approval from the people’s representatives; the less loaded term “overhaul” was always and everywhere to be preferred.
It was one of the biggest days in the history of Point Reyes Books. On Saturday, March 14, it had “holiday-level sales,” said Stephen Sparks, who has owned and operated the Marin County, California–based independent bookstore since 2017. “We were up 350 percent.”
But Sparks wasn’t celebrating. “Bookstores are places where people browse and touch everything,” he said. “It’s a small space with everyone is shoulder to shoulder.” That evening he made the difficult decision to close the store to the public, starting on Monday.
Thanksgiving 1972 was a bad one for Mimi Galvin. When she and her husband Don went out to dinner with his Air Force colleagues and their wives, she liked to project the image of a proud mother of an all-American brood. But Mimi was on the brink of losing control. The two eldest of her 12 children were fighting, and she could only watch as their brawl spilled into the dining room and upended her perfect holiday table. She walked into the kitchen and smashed her special Thanksgiving gingerbread house into bits.
If you’re over a certain age and you were ever on Facebook, you’re on your way off it. Every time Mark Zuckerberg does something creepy or bows to pressure from the Trump administration, one acquaintance or another announces that they’re quitting, and every time you think: Yeah, maybe this is the moment for me to get out. After all, what used to seem to you a vibrant, garrulous hangout space, or at least a reasonable simulation of one, has become a ghost town.