Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reading Bounty!

Apparently bitey.
At the last second before leaving, I darted back inside to make sure there were no strange messages attached to my library card. I had paid a real-money fine sometime in 2014 (DVDs, with their $1-a-day-late fee always dangerous for me) but was the card still good? Had it expired? This is how long it has been. Prior to this past year, with every job held in downtown Ann Arbor, I have regularly skulked off to the library over lunchtimes of despair.

La Nuit (Miro), granted 3.5 stars!...heh
For me, libraries have always been similar to thrift stores (also beading, fabric stores): joy is held in their potential. Maybe that exact thing you want is not there, missing, or spoken for -- an occasion for grousing -- but almost every time, something else presents itself that you didn't know to ask for. And if you hadn't slowed down your day, you wouldn't have noticed it. It is often better than what you asked for initially. And so, if you are like me, you have to wander. Stroll down a side stack and pull out something random. Look at artwork you maybe wouldn't buy and contemplate for the nth time how cool it would be, if you were to reserve one space on your wall, and swap out temporary library-framed artwork in that space, you could challenge your reactions to it over a few weeks (just long enough to prevent its presence from fading into the background).

In short, it takes me outside of myself, reminds me of all the talent and insight out there, of which I am ignorant. And while the interwebs also does this, and can suspend time while you discover something new and fascinating, I find it way too easy to return to myself again. Why is that? Is it to do with the intellectual search running parallel to the physical search? It seems we have ventured past the initial dismissal of online living as one bereft of bona fide social engagement, so maybe it's along the lines of studies indicating the brain processes differently a book read on a Kindle and one read in the traditional fashion.

In any case, library visits have now acquired a luxurious sheen, and I was most excited to scamper off. I am told that once baby is mobile, I will lose the opportunity to read, but with nursing, I am still able to do so regularly. A certain haziness does impact reading comprehension at times, wherein my brain sagely nods over phrases like "Manlisted for the Short Booker Prize," before backtracking; even less fortunately, characters are sometimes mashed together, which in turn bungs up plots. Alas, gotta work with where you are! Today's two-bag haul included fiction from the browsing section, a Matisse art book snagged from a to-be-shelved cart, plus a couple handfuls of CDs. I passed on the theremin (seriously! Ann Arbor library has a music section!), leaving the moog accessories to the youngsters slouching between the rows of equipment.

Of note:

"When the secret Service agents climbed up into the large oak tress lining the perimeter of the yard, Alice Townley thought they looked like giant tarsiers. She had seen tarsiers in her picture book about wild animals Do You Know What's Out There? According to the book, tarsiers looked like teddy bears, but they were mean and would eat you if you startled them." Garden for the Blind by Kelly Fordon

"A third of the way through the half-mile walk from the landlord's house to his hut, Nitai Das's feet began to sway. Or maybe it is the head-spin again. He sits down on the lifeless field he has to cross before he can reach his hut. There isn't a thread of shade anywhere. The May sun is an unforgiving fire; it burns his blood dry." The Lives of Others*, Neel Mukherjee
  • also, great epigraph "How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?" James Salter, Light Years
  • *manlisted
We Are Pirates, by Daniel Handler, of which Neil Gaiman said: "The strangest, most brilliant offering yet from the mind behind Lemony Snicket": Sold.

"In the face of calamity, the Colliers' first impulse was to overspend at the bookstore." A reasonable way to combat anxiety. You Could Be Home by Now, by Tracy Manaster


Listening to an old Devotchka favorite, drinking tea and waiting for the rain to fall on our field of dandelion ghost blossoms. Armed for the week ahead!

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