Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

The Best Bookstore in the Bay Area

R and I went over to Fields Book Store today. Fields has always had the best selection of obscure books on spirituality. I’ve found hard to get Buddhist texts before and I’ve had them ship rare occult books, like the Cultus Sabbati works. I’ve met the owner socially in the past when I’ve gone to Pantheacon and we have mutual friends (as well as being on some e-mail lists together). Simply put, it is the best bookstore in the Bay Area on anything to do with non-mainstream spirituality.

I stopped in because, other than wanting to visit it, I knew that they had received copies of the new one volume edition of the Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, edited by Wouter Hanegraaff and with contributions by many of the current scholars in Western Esotericism. I’d heard amazing and excellent things about the earlier printing of this but it was a two volume edition and published by Brill. The books published by Brill are excellent academic texts but it is a small market and they are all horrendously expensive. This newer printing combines the previous two volumes into one massive (six inch thick) hardcover but it was still expensive. A number of people have told me that I should get access to it or own it because of my academic work but I wanted to take a look at it first.

After looking at it, I decided that they were right and I paid a horrendous amount for it. I’ll be able to use it as a resource in my thesis work.

I spoke to David, the owner, and found out that he’ll be at the conference this weekend too. It seems like half the people that I know with an interest in esotericism are going.

I also picked up my demi-nemesis’, John Michael Greer, recent book A World Full of Gods. I’m becoming interested (well, have been interested for a while), in how both pagan practitioners and academics (some of whom are both) approach the problem of theology. Much of the theological content and speculation of the last 500 years has come from an a priori Christian or at least monotheistic bias and it has certainly colored things. I see this in early Buddhist studies as well though it seems much better dealt with today. John Michael is writing as a practitioners but he’s always been pretty intelligent and reflective so I wanted to see how he weighed in as a practitioner. As with the other book, I did want to take a look in person first.

On another note, tonight is the Front Line Assembly show and R starts her new job at Six Apart (makers of Movable Type, Typepad, and Livejournal) tomorrow as a QA Engineer. I’m having lunch with my new boss and a couple of workers tomorrow as well.