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!)

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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!

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