Friday, February 17, 2006

Maine Bookstores Don't Know Who's Running for Governor

I just got my hands on independent Maine gubernatorial candidate Barbara Merrill's book today, and will read it carefully and give my thoughts about her candidacy here soon. (Now that I'm back home, I've found out that she is offering the book gratis on her web site, as a PDF.) I just wanted to point out how hard her book is to find in Bookland and Mr. Paperback, and how easy it is to find in a particular independent bookstore in Rockland.

Mr. Paperback in Belfast doesn't seem to have it, despite assertions on Merrill's website. I scoured the Maine section a couple of weeks ago, and then had to leave, due to the noisome stench of coffee. (whoever decided that sickening your customers with vile odors was a way to get them to stick around and buy more stuff must have received a head injury some time ago.)

Breakwater Bookland and Cafe in Rockland tried to find the book for me, but was unsuccessful, even though their computer said they had copies. I looked in the Maine and nonfiction books sections to no avail. The fellow at the info desk seemed unaware of the book's existence, tho it is by a local woman who gained statewide press exposure about her bid for the Blaine House.

I did have fun walking around the store, which was formerly owned by a previous employer of mine. The building's new owners did an excellent job converting the lower floor to retail space.

The second I wandered into Reading Corner in Rockland, they not only knew of the book, but had it prominently displayed by the cash register with a "Local Author" sticker on the cover. There's some local Maine pride for you. If I ran a bookstore, that's what I'd do, regardless of my political agreement or disagreement with the author. I'd probably draw the line at holocaust deniers.

Looking at the table of contents of Merrill's book, I'm sure I'll find much to agree with, and much to groan at. With sections titled, "Why government fails in the marketplace," and "How government corrupts the free market," I'm already looking forward to the first debate she's in. On the other hand, she seems to be in favor of another exercise in rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic of our government-run educational system. I hope that, after reading the book, I'll have a better idea of whether to support her candidacy.

I already know Baldacci isn't an option for me. And no Republican candidate seems to have his act together at this point, either. Right now, the only other candidate who interests me is John Jenkins, former mayor of Lewiston. Last time he ran for governor, he didn't get enough signatures to appear on the ballot. But the first line in his press release called for reducing spending, so he's at least on the right track.

A warning to both Merrill and Jenkins: candidates whom I back tend to lose. If backers of either candidate want to encourage me to endorse the other, PayPal donations can be sent to my email address.



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