Today I went to the bookstore. No surprise there, I happen to be in a bookstore quite often. And I was wondering about life without a bookstore. Off course, in the past books were not available to all, or even literacy. But what about the future ? I can well imagine a past without bookstores, but would be horrified by a future without bookstores.
So, I make an effort to shop in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. It is so easy to buy everything online, click-click-click and it’s delivered at your doorstep. However, it usually supports bigger companies, while your local independent bookstore might be struggling to survive.
I admit that not all independent bookstores have a great history section, and medieval history is usually a small niche, although it is highly popular in the online world. With the exception of Waterstone’s bookstores, I’m lucky if I can find 1 shelve of medieval history. Usually they carry only the mainstream bestsellers. On top of that, the supply of medieval history books leans heavily on the Atlantic influence: England is leading in a lot of historical research, debate and education. In the Netherlands most of the history BA’s and MA’s are taught in English, with mostly English books. Don’t get me wrong: I totally love British history! But there is so much more going on.
Where ever you live, I’m sure there is a lot of historical research being done in your country or city, and a lot of interesting books are being published about it. So, keep an eye open for those in your local bookstore. And don’t forget: the 2nd hand section can be a real treasury for medieval history finds.
Since I consider myself a ‘cultural being’, I feel I owe it to culture to support it. Art and history are a great joy in my life, that I share with friends. A lot of people put in a lot of time and love to contribute and create all kinds of ‘products’, like blogs and vlogs, websites, magazines, online courses, festivals, lectures, tours etc. etc. There are a lot of initiatives deserving of support, in time or money.
For instance, I have a Museum Card, which gives me free acces to most museums, exhibitions and castles. Since museums are not free in the Netherlands, this is a good option to enjoy history and art. In case of free visits, I try to give a small donation every time. You can also support online. I use Patreon to donate to smaller initiatives, and sometimes I join a crowdfunding project. Or even just sharing and liking posts of things I want to support.
Off course, it is up to you how and if you support, and not all of us have time or money to spare for that. But you might want to reflect upon that some time, and feel free to share. How do you support your local and/or medieval scene ?
List of books
- Top left: latest issues of ‘Madoc. Tijdschrift over de Middeleeuwen’
- Top right: P. Bange, ‘Ridders in de Middeleeuwen‘, 2019. ISBN
9789462493667 >> about the medieval knight in texts versus reality
- Top right: F. van Oostrom,‘Nobel Streven‘, 2017. ISBN
9789044634679 >> about the life of the Dutch knight Jan van Brederode
- Bottom left: J. Haemers (ed.), A. Bardyn (ed.), C. Delameillieure (ed.), ‘Wijvenwereld’, 2019. ISBN 9789460017445 >> essays on women in the medieval city.
- Bottom left: P.C. Smis, ‘Historische Verhalen. Korte verhalen uit de Middeleeuwen’, 2018. ISBN 9789082642643 >> forgotten stories of daily life in the Middle Ages
- Bottom right: [2nd hand] Jan J.B. Kuijper, ‘Nederland in de Middeleeuwen‘, 2011. ISBN 9789057307768 >> overview of Dutch and Belgian medieval history