Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #38

Thirteen Things about going to the book store Sunday

1. It had been five years since the last time we went book shopping.

2. It was a twenty minute ride in a hot car with no air-conditioning. I walked inside with my sunglasses still on, so could see nothing at first. Taking them off before entering would have been worse because the RP causes a significant lag adjusting to changes in brightness. The bigger the change in either direction, the longer the adjustment. Removing my sunglasses immediately after entering rather than before cuts the lag at least in half. But for those moments before I remove them, it is dark as a raven against a moonless night sky.

3.. It was more than a few moments before I could remove my sunglasses, as is often the case when being escorted by my husband. Because I am carrying my cane in one hand and have the other on his elbow or in his hand, I do not have a free hand to remove them. Thus I was hit with a bombardment of sensations on my other four senses. The coolness of the air. The sudden hush. And that unmistakable smell of new books.

4. Before I could remove my sunglasses, those sensations caused a series of flashbacks to about a dozen interrelated book store and library visits over the past ten years. Including the several book shopping excursions in the year after Ed got his job in the Silicon Valley in 1999, when on at least three occasions he had set me free in a book store saying he would let me know when my pile went over budget. I presented him with piles as big as I could carry in one arm and still use my cane with the other. Must have been over a $100 each time. He didn't even blink.

5. But simultaneously with that memory came the memories of the second-hand book stores in which we sold off my personal library to pay for one more week in the motel we had moved into when we got evicted from our house after his job went dot.gone. I had left that store in tears as they tallied up the worth of the books.

6. Immediately on the heels of that memory was the equally devastating memory of the moment I received the news at the Phoenix library that our Southern Oregon library system was going to be shutting its doors.

7. Thus by the time I removed my sunglasses my eyes were full of tears and all I could see was a smear of color and light. I almost put them back on but instead, I avoided blinking until the tears dried and meanwhile reached out to touch and caress and pick up books whose titles I could not read. I held them open in front of my face so I could inhale their scent.

8. It was a good ten minutes before I could get my bearings and start looking for Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I had set my sights on back in March when Oprah announced it as her book club selection. She had already moved on to the summer book selection but my desire for The Road had only been reinforced by viewing her recent interview with McCarthy.

9. Ed had taken off on his own reconnoiter of the store almost as soon as he had me clear of the entrance. As soon as I could see the sign indicating the fiction section, I headed there. I entered the aisle of the Rs' and worked my way backwards. I had just reached the Ms when Ed caught up with me. He asked if it was Mc or Ma and I said I couldn't remember. Not being able to remember something which I know perfectly well that I know perfectly well, having seen the book cover online and on Oprah, having typed it into the search engine and into my journal, having looked it up in the library catalog, this is one of the insidious symptoms of the anxiety disorder that has plagued me since preschool.

10. Ed had grabbed the book and was handing it to me almost before I finished speaking. As I took the book, I noticed his hands were empty. I asked with surprise if he wasn't going to pick something up. The book store visit was primarily on my behalf so that I could use the gift card I got for Christmas but since the library closure in April Ed had reread his box full of paperbacks, the books my niece had lent us and several from my collection. He was in more need of fresh reading material than I was. I hated to be the only one walking out with a book even if it was one he was interested in too. I pointed at the 20% off sticker on The Road, which I realized meant he would have to cover less than two dollars after the gift card instead of the five or six we were expecting. But he was already gone.

11. I never try to find him in a store once we are separated. The best idea is to stay put and let him look for me in the last place he saw me. I started meandering backwards through the alphabet again but had only reached the Ls when he was back, flashing the cover of a Terry Pratchett hardback for under six bucks. I asked him to show me to the discount section so I could see what all they had. He complied and took off again. A few minutes later he was back saying, I changed my mind, and showing me a John LeCarre. I smiled but refrained from teasing him for this so typical pattern of showing immense enthusiasm for a choice only to change his mind five minutes later and transfer the enthusiasm to his new choice.

12. I wasn't ready to leave yet so he took off again. When he returned the next time he asked for my book and gift card. I put down the book whose jacket I was reading to fish out the gift card. He left me to continue browsing while he checked out. I was still perusing the same book when he returned. I put down the book, glancing once more at the front cover, hoping I could remember the autor and title long enough to get out to the car and pull my notebook out of my purse. Once we were clear of the doors outside he moved off to the side to light up a cigarette and asked if I wanted to see what he got. Wasn't it the LeCarre? He just grinned and pulled out the same book I had been looking at when he came to fetch my book. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

13. He swears it was coincidence, that he already had it in his hand when he came back for my book and card. He chose it primarily because it was twice as long as either of the other two. But it was still a mystery/intrigue which he was in the mood for. But his grin when he asked if I wanted to see, told me that he had at least recognized that I was likely to be equally enthused by it. And I am. It contains multiple elements, any one of which, would make it a must read for me. Its a mystery full of intrigue that crosses centuries. There are elements of the paranormal. The clues are buried in ancient manuscripts and library archives. It features a strong female protagonist. There are a plethora of allusions to historical and literary trivia. And the prose is a sculpted work of art in every paragraph I dipped into. I can't wait.....

As much as I am enjoying the Snicket series, I am sooooo ready to move on to more adult, more complex fare. So my goal this week has been to finish A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was nearing the end of book ten last Sunday and am now two-thirds done with book twelve. One and a third to go.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Tink 2. Gattina 3. Miss Frou Frou 4. Miss Frou Frou 5. Tempest Knight 6. Lisa Andel 7. T.A.Chase 8. Susan Helene Gottfried 9. L^2 10. A-Country-Mom (formerly Stephanie) 11. Joy T. 12. MyUtopia 13. Ann 14. Thomma Lyn 15. Madame Rubies 16. julia 17. Rhian / Crowwoman

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

20 tell me a story:

Tink 6/21/2007 2:57 AM  

In 5 years I must have visited book stores a zillion times! Sorry to hear about the sad memories though... Selling your personal library must have been heartbreaking!
Thanks for visiting my Litha TT!

Gattina 6/21/2007 3:29 AM  

I used to "devore" books before I started blogging. I couldn't fall asleep without reading in the evening in my bed, now I read so much interesting things on some blogs, so many destinies that I am too tired to read a book in the evening. But this will probably change when blogging is not so very new to me.

Miss Frou Frou 6/21/2007 4:31 AM  

I was trawling around a bookstore at lunch today, though miracle of miracles, didn't buy anything, but was tempted!

Unknown 6/21/2007 4:53 AM  

I love the bookstore. I don't even have to buy anything. I love to walk around and read the back covers, looking at all the different stories.

Tempest Knight 6/21/2007 6:37 AM  

OMG! How could you do it? I mean, be 5 years without visiting a bookstore. I go to Borders every Sunday. Unless I get good discount coupons

Lisa Andel 6/21/2007 7:46 AM  

That was a beautiful story.
I agree with Tempest 5 years without visiting a bookstore for me, would be tough. But I don't have the same memories associated with them that you do.

T.A.Chase 6/21/2007 7:50 AM  

Thanks for sharing your experience, Joy. And your Ed sounds like a great guy. :) I don't visit the bookstores as much as I used to anymore. Too busy writing my own stuff, but every once in a while, I get an urge to wander through the aisles and see what's new.

Susan Helene Gottfried 6/21/2007 8:02 AM  

That's an incredible story, Joy Renee. Just really amazing.

I'll be glad to send you any books I'm done with, you know. I have a lot here, in fact, that I'd like to find new homes for.

L^2 6/21/2007 9:16 AM  

It sounds like you had a nice time at the book store Joy. Your description of the sensory overload upon entering reminded me of my visit to a bookstore for the first time in a long time a while back.
Most all of my books come from yard sales and such. And even when I do get a new one, I usually buy online, so I usually miss out on going to the bookstore. It's always a much more fun adventure. I love it when I can buy a brand new book that I know I will enjoy. :-)

Happy TT and thanks for visiting my list.

Anonymous,  6/21/2007 10:03 AM  

Hmmmm, I love reading. I used to go to the library all the time, but now we live pretty far out of town. It has be close to 5 years since I went to a bookstore too.

Happy TT, come visit mine.

Anonymous,  6/21/2007 10:20 AM  

5 years? Then I read #5. I'm sorry you had to go through that. So sad.

Kelly 6/21/2007 10:26 AM  

Last time for me was Tuesday : )

Ann 6/21/2007 11:56 AM  

Sorry to hear about your troubles (and that your library had closed). I've got some paperbacks you can have (if you want them-just post on my blog and I'll leave my email address for you). I go to the bookstore regularly, its relaxing to me in a way that libraries aren't (I spend too much time in them not relaxing *g*). Happy first day of summer.

Anonymous,  6/21/2007 12:32 PM  

Joy, I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit to the bookstore, and I'm sorry it was so long before you could go -- sounds like you've been through an awful lot (((((sending hugs!!))))).

Happy TT, and thanks for visiting my blog!

Heather 6/21/2007 2:56 PM  

How did you manage 5 years without a bookstore?

Oohh.. My Dad loves Terry Pratchett.

Julia Phillips Smith 6/21/2007 3:19 PM  

My husband used to go through his mammoth book collection and sell off whatever was in the best shape when I'd graduated university and we'd begun paying on the student loan. It came in handy when we were low on grocery money/bus ticket money, etc. Since he tends to forget and buys three copies of the same book sometimes, those were the first he'd dip into. But he had to let a lot of books go that he would rather have kept. I know how you felt that day.

Rhian 6/21/2007 3:22 PM  

i kinda figured you might feel some emotional upheaval due to the library closing memories when i saw your comment on my blog. Five years though...amazing.

Amy Ruttan 6/21/2007 5:34 PM  

Oh I love the Historian. Love the Historian, excellent book. I'll have to check out The Road, Oprah does some great books. I also have to try Lemony Snickett too, everyone keeps telling me to read it.

Happy TT!!

Spy Scribbler 6/21/2007 7:03 PM  

Oh, man, I LOVE bookstore visits. Actually, we go nearly everyday, for HOURS, and yet ... the joy never diminishes. ALL those books to read! It's heaven!!!

Happy TT!

Unknown 6/21/2007 8:17 PM  

Sounds like your hubby is a keeper and you are a strong woman. I hope you enjoy reading your books. Happy T13!

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