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My love affair with Borders bookstore on State Street in Chicago came to an end the other day when I spent the last of my gift card on the purchase of four books. It took me two hours of roaming to isolate the four that spoke to me the most. And then I still spent more than the remaining value on the card. But, oh well. When I eagerly told a friend about my new books, she paused a minute, looked at me quizzically, and said, “Do you realize they are all a type of self-help book?” I had not, of course, but replied, “Guess that’s me. The forever student.”

Here are my final purchases:

Architecture Styles: Spotter’s Guide (Cunliffe and Loussier, editors)

I expect this to help me identify some of the marvelous buildings we have in downtown Chicago. Did you know the skyscraper was born here? Yes, due to the Chicago fire of 1871, the city had to be rebuilt and the “escalating cost of land prompted buildings’ construction on small footprints.”

How to Read Like a Professor (Foster)

Reading this will help me see the “deeper meaning” of a book, such as when it rains in a story. “Rain is never just rain.” What does it really mean? Cleansing, destruction?

The Intellectual Devotional (Kidder and Oppenheim)

I bought this book last year for my daughter and have wanted one like it ever since. Like a religious devotional, this is set up in one page descriptions (week 1, day 1 etc.) that deal with varying fields of knowledge: personalities, literature, music, film, ideas and trends, sports, and pop. Already I know that Freud’s work influenced pop culture’s TV show-The Sopranos, films of Woody Allen, and art of Salvador Dali. Fun, huh!

The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream (Orman)

I love Suze’s authoritative stance on TV, and maybe if I read her I can talk intelligently with my husband about financial things. Currently, I’m a math mess.

SALE sign, a block away

So even though I’m saying farewell to Borders, I have these latest books to read, learn from, and lovingly remind me of the hours I mosied around to select them.

If you’d like to chime in, and you have $33.00 left on a gift card, what would you like to buy? Frivolous now, not something you HAVE to buy, but something for a fun reminder.