Loganberry by Astrid Braun

As I searched for a summer job in the spring of my junior year, I was determined to avoid any type of interpersonal service position. I don’t hate people — I love the small acquaintances I make, whether inside or outside the high school, but the interactions will eventually sap my energy, leaving me yearning for a quiet room. So when I checked my email inbox one day and found a response from my favorite bookstore, I was not only relieved, but excited. I had no idea what I would be doing, but I would be surrounded by books.

Loganberry Books is a beautiful store. It has a few claims to fame: the store cat, Otis, is almost always the first thing that regulars look for, and it has programming and services that have received national attention. The storefront is painted a deep purple, and a mural of book bindings is displayed along the side. When visitors open the door, they’re first greeted with ornate bindings that line the shelves on the left and the arts section, complete with a sliding ladder, on the right. One visit, they soon discover, is not possibly enough; after the children’s, architecture, and antiques books comes the Americana, history, nature and science books. The art gallery and literary arts room lie to the right, sometimes missed by those on a tight schedule. The store is a wonderland of ink, paper, and bindings.

As with anything wonderful that is turned into work, my time at the store could be monotonous. I shelved and cleaned books, mostly, travelling between cart and shelf until all the books blurred together. If nothing else, I’m now extremely good at alphabetizing. But sometimes, I would happen upon a small section I had never seen before, or a nook that held books of the strangest variety.

In the very back of the store, old pipes sit in a small drawer, the kind one would picture in the corner of Sherlock Holmes’ mouth as he considers his next case. Old sheet music rests in the corner of the Literary Arts section, snugly hidden behind audiobooks and the large print pieces. A few weeks into my time at Loganberry, I discovered the etymology and linguistics section, full of books on untranslatable words and the origins of crude language.

The little parts of the store were what were most endearing to me, just as much as the store, taken as a whole, awed me. The more time I spent there, I revered the store less and cherished it more. So, to anyone who hasn’t found their own Loganberry, a place that inspires first awe and then a deep love, I encourage you to do so.

Renaissance Humanism by Miles McCallum

As Europe emerged out of the Middle Ages, the philosophy of Humanism set the precedent for Renaissance and Enlightenment thought that would define European arts, literature, and history for the next five centuries. In contrast from the norms and standards of medieval society, Humanism drew from the sensibilities of Greek and Roman thought, philosophy and aesthetics, and in doing so the first Humanist thinkers and artists became interested in individual humanity. It’s this interest in individual humanity that much of the value of Humanist thought can be directly applied to our lives today, instead of understood indirectly through the legacies of the past. Thinkers such as Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio, and artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael, began to study humanity in the context of humanity, not in the context of God, or of king, but in of itself. They began to dissect emotion and knowledge on an individual level, and appreciate and understand the body aesthetically as a kind of art. This Renaissance Humanism set the foundation for how philosophy in the western canon would propel for the next few centuries, but today we can still reflect on ourselves as the Humanists would have. Reflect on ourselves in the context of ourselves, and appreciate our human form, both physically and abstractly. Appreciate our anatomy, the beauty and complexity in the machinery of our body no matter where it came from, and furthermore appreciate the complexity of our own minds. Appreciate that we perceive beauty, and are ambitious by nature, and political by design. Appreciate that we are a web of complex mechanisms and nuances. To understand ourselves in this way shouldn’t necessarily be a constant exercise, but it is important, every once in a while, to reflect on ourselves as the Humanists may have.