Written on January 27th, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
My copy of Michael H. Barnes’ In the Presence of Mystery: An Introduction to Human Religiousness finally arrived from the equally mysterious and always entertaining Amazon Used and New Store. Purchasing a used book from an Amazon Seller is an adventure in grab-baggish surprise! One never knows what the packaging holds, until it is finally opened. My copy of In the Presence of Mystery came with a ridiculously huge and obnoxiously white circle immutably planted on the front cover. The bold, red text unceremoniously decorating the white circle reads: “DESK COPY.” Ah, DESK COPY! The fact that someone sold me a free book doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The perpetual white circle interrupting the book’s front cover is, however, an unacceptable aesthetic complication. Placing such an immovable blemish upon a book’s front cover is comparable to the senseless stringing of an endless line of cold aluminum and hard steel berm advertisements straight through the middle of an otherwise beautiful mid-western plain. It is sacrilegious, at least to an exuberant and picky book enthusiast, like me. This aesthetic mess isn’t a complete wash. The book’s body is in excellent condition. It contains no markings, highlights, or unidentifiable stains. Wonderful.