Recently the Pharyngula blog posted about a small prank involving moving all the books from the single religion bookshelf in their local bookstore to other areas in the store. In the comments, many of the southern readers couldn’t believe there was only one bookshelf in the store dedicated to religion. So I decided to snap some photos of what my local Hastings store (the only local store that could be called a bookstore) looks like. Here in Tullahoma, Tennessee, we obviously have a greater demand for Christian and Christian study books than science. I apologize in advance for the crummy photography. The staff started looking at me strangely.
So here’s my local Hastings Christian book section in all it’s wasted space glory. The first Picture shows the left side of the Christian Wall. Visible in the bottom right of that same picture is the Contemporary Christian music section (thrown into the books for some reason). The second picture is the main back wall. That entire wall is dedicated to Christian books including the entire “Left Behind” series and the only couches or chairs in the whole store’s book section. The third picture is the right side of the wall which includes an entire case dedicated to Bibles and 3 cases that move back and across. The last of those is pictured at the very end of this post and includes only 1 small shelf of books that criticize religion.
Now compare that to the 1 (one, single, solo, uno) shelf dedicated to Science AND Nature (shown in 2 pictures from both sides). In fact, the first of those 3 sections is dedicated entirely to Pets.
Here’s that last bit of the religion section. This is the only place in the store you’ll find books that challenge religion. It’s the bottom 3 shelves of the entire Christian wall. Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” is visible as well as 2 copies (top-left) of “The Portable Atheist” by Christopher Hitchens, the book I walked out with, so now there’s only one. All of this is jumbled in with “Eastern Philosophy.”
So there you go northern readers. Now you see what kind of maze we southern rationalists have to go through to get to the one or two book shelves of interesting and enlightening reading.
It’s all very sad and annoying. This is why I love services like Bookmooch that let me get great books by giving away books I don’t want.