Book Gluttony

I went to two book sales in one day last week. I know. That might be a little much. Hence, the title of this post. That isn't even all I bought. I also bought about a dozen Star Wars novels and a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for my son. I spent $13.00. It averaged out to 38 cents a book. I think the gluttony is understandable.

I went to one of these book sales last year and wrote about it here.  This year I also went to a sale at the library in a neighboring town. Both sales are run by a bunch of little old ladies who spend their time bustling around, getting in everyone's way, and chatting like mad to everyone. They are a joy and a pleasure. When I am their age I shall work at town book sales and get first pick of all the books. I also hope I have glorious white hair like one of the ladies I saw. She was very elegant with beautifully coiffed hair and it is now my goal to look just like her in 25 years.

I'll list the books I bought in case you can't read the titles in the photo.

Giant and Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber

The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins

London Under by Peter Ackroyd

Scotland: An Intimate Portrait by Geddes MacGregor

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Never Surrender by John Kelly

Quiet, Yelled Mrs. Rabbit by Hilda Cole Espy

The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson

The News From Ireland by William Trevor

Red House: Being a Mostly Accurate Account of New England's Oldest Continuously Lived-In House by Sarah Messer

Book of Ages:  The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore

My Love Affair With England by Susan Allen Toth

The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller

I Will Bear Witness 1933-1941 by Victor Klemperer

I Will Bear Witness 1942-1945 by Victor Klemperer

The Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Gentle Tamers: Women of the Old Wild West by Dee Brown

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

The Norton Anthology of Poetry

Many of these are books I don't know much about. They looked interesting and so I threw them in my bag. At those prices, I really didn't need to debate a purchase. I can always read them and then donate them to another book sale. The only ones I have read before are the Edna Ferber novels. Is there anything you recommend or can I just put them all on my shelves and pretend they have been there all along?

A Poem for a Thursday #29

Jane Kenyon was an American poet and translator. Her work is described as "simple, spare, and emotionally resonant."   Her poems are frequently filled with rural images and a love of nature. Kenyon's poems also reference her battles with depression. She was New Hampshire's poet laureate at the time of her death from leukemia at the early age of 47.

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years...

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper...

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me...

I am food on the prisoner's plate...

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills...

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden...

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge...

I am the heart contracted by joy...
the longest hair, white
before the rest...

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow...

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit...

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name...

Briefly it Enters, and Briefly Speaks
Jane Kenyon

Visit Brona's Books and Pastry & Purls to read more Poems for a Thursday.

Ephemera in Books

I stopped in at the library where I always found wonderful donated book that are being given away and I picked up a couple of Happy Hollisters books. Did any of you read them when you were little? We had a huge collection of them and I read them over and over. They were ridiculous in the same way Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden is ridiculous. The books are about a family with five children. The parents don't matter. They only exist in order to provide a backdrop against which the children solve complex mysteries, go on adventures, and generally know more than all the adults. Wonderful stuff when you are 7 or 8.

My parents still have the collection in their basement and I picked these up in case they were missing these. They do all blend together so I wasn't sure. I am not sure why I felt we needed to complete the collection. Most of the grandchildren are way too old to be interested in the adventures of Pete, Pam, Holly, Ricky, and Sue. However, I seemed incapable of leaving them behind. When I got them home my daughter was just as nostalgic as I was and promptly decided to read one. That is when we found that someone had left some papers in it.

Notice the handmade paper dolls with very sixties outfits. There is also a joke paper from Bazooka gum, a postcard from the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT (lots of dinosaur footprints, very cool) and a letter written and then translated from a secret code. It says:

I have decided to write a long letter. I have finished my book report have you. I don't think we should write letters in school do you. Please write back. Love, Cori

I think Cori must have been an absolute sweetheart. She also saved a copy of Helen Keller's obituary from The Hartford Courant of June 2, 1968.  Helen Keller was one of my slightly obsessive interests when I was 8 or 9. I didn't remember that she lived in Connecticut at the time of her death. According to the article, Mark Twain (who also lived in Connecticut when he died. Maybe I should move.)  said: "The two most interesting characters of the 19th century are Napoleon and Helen Keller."

I just Googled The Happy Hollisters because, even in my childhood, they were not very common. None of the libraries I went to had them and I rarely run into anyone that has read them. However, there is now a website devoted to them and they are being reprinted. Not only that, but you can buy a Happy Hollisters T-shirt if you want.

A Poem for a Thursday #28

Photo by Stephen Ellis on Unsplash

Wendell Berry is an American poet, essayist, novelist, and environmentalist. He lives on a farm in Kentucky. He strongly believes that frequently too much importance is placed on wild lands without a proper appreciation for farming.  Berry's poetry "celebrates the holiness of life and everyday miracles often taken for granted."

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

Visit Typings for another poem.

A Poem for a Thursday #27

Photo by Guillaume Flandre on Unsplash

Carl Sandburg was a poet, biographer, writer, and editor. He lived from 1878-1967. He won the Pulitzer Prize three times; twice for his poetry and once for a six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln. Sandburg described poetry as "a pack-sack of invisible keepsakes. Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration. Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment." He also said, "I'll probably die propped up in bed trying to write a poem about America."

love is a deep and a dark and a lonely
and you take it deep take it dark
and take it with a lonely winding
and when the winding gets too lonely
then may come the windflowers
and the breath of wind over many flowers
winding its way out of many lonely flowers
waiting in rainleaf whispers
waiting in dry stalks of noon
wanting in a music of windbreaths
so you can take love as it comes keening
as it comes with a voice and a face
and you make a talk of it
talking to yourself a talk worth keeping
and you put it away for a keen keeping
and you find it to be a hoarding
and you give it away and yet it stays hoarded

like a book read over and over again
like one book being a long row of books
like leaves of windflowers bending low
and bending to be never broken

Love is a Deep and a Dark and a Lonely
Carl Sandburg

Visit Typings for another poem.

Bookshop Visit//Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery & Café

I stumbled upon a bookstore last week. My husband had a doctor's appointment in Westborough, MA to follow up on his concussion recovery and I went with him. We were a little early and decided to get something to eat. Imagine my joy when I realized there was a bookshop and café literally across the street from the doctor's office. My husband had no choice about where we were going at that point.

When I first walked in I did not think this was going to be a wildly successful bookshop visit. The store is huge but a large portion of it is taken up by gift items. Notice "Gift Gallery" in the name. This should not have been a surprise to me but I think I concentrated on the "Bookseller" part. I am not a huge fan of the typical gift shop items. There was a lot of jewelry, bags, china, and other knick-knacks. Most of it was not really my style.

The café was fine. It wasn't anything special but it wasn't bad either. I had a spinach quiche and my husband had a seafood salad sandwich and we split a piece of cheesecake. The workers were extremely friendly and helpful which is always a plus. I ate quickly and moved on to more important things. I only had about twenty minutes to explore before we had to head to my husband's appointment.

They had what seemed to be a large children's section. I didn't look around since my kids are way too old for it but it looked cheerful, inviting, and full of books. The gift section of the store took up most of the front but once I walked towards the back I realized there was a quite good selection. There was a good mix of books some of which I have never seen in my local Barnes & Noble. I obviously did not have time to look at everything but I browsed through the history section and found a number of books I would like to read. You can see the one I chose in the photo at the top of this post. You can also see the mug I bought because of course, I could not leave a Jane Austen mug behind.

All in all, I was pleased. While the gift section was mainly not to my taste and the food was average the book selection was better than I expected. I have already told my husband I will be accompanying him to his follow-up appointment so I can visit the book store again.

Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery & Café
18 Lyman Street
Westborough, MA 01581

A Poem for a Thursday #26

Is there anyone who doesn't know Winnie-the-Pooh, that lovable, loyal, bear of very little brain? I don't remember when I first encountered him. Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and Roo; they were all familiar characters. I half-believed that somewhere there really was a hundred-acre wood where the animals lived and frolicked and one day maybe I could join them. At some point during my childhood, my dad (I think it was him) brought home copies of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. Some of the poems felt a little sweet to me, even as a child,  but some had a rhythm and a flow that I enjoyed. Plus, the books were filled with charming illustrations by Ernest Shepherd. Here is one of the poems I liked when I was little and still like now. It reminds me of my children when they were little. They both had stuffed animals they loved dearly and their stuffed friends went on many real and imagined adventures.

Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh:
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let's go together," says Pooh.

"What's twice eleven?" I said to Pooh.
("Twice what?" said Pooh to Me.)
"I think it ought to be twenty-two."
"just what I think myself," said Pooh.
"It wasn't an easy sum to do,
But that's what it is," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what it is." said Pooh.

"Let's look for dragons," I said to Pooh.
"Yes, let's," said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
"Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh.
"As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
That's what they are," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what they are," said Pooh.

"Let's frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh.
"That's right," said Pooh to Me.
"I'm not afraid," I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted "Shoo!
Silly old dragons!"-and off they flew.
"I wasn't afraid," said Pooh, said he,
"I'm never afraid with you."

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
"If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said:  "True,
It isn't much fun for One, but Two
Can stick together," says Pooh, says he.
"That's how it is," says Pooh. 

Us Two
A. A. Milne

Visit Typings for another poem.

Golden Moments #10

I bought this sweatshirt a few weeks ago and it is making me very happy. My son asked if I had it made specifically for myself because it is so on brand. I didn't, but yes, this is me in a nutshell. It is actually quite pink but that isn't showing up too well in the photo. I have no idea why I bought pink, I would usually buy grey or blue, but pink it is and I am fine with that.

I stopped in at a library that usually has a big selection of books that have been donated to the book sale but they think they can't sell them so they give them away. I brought 21 books home with me. Yes, I know that is ridiculous. Yes, it amused my family greatly but yes, it made me happy. There were five or six Charlotte Armstrong suspense novels in the mix. I haven't read those in years and I am enjoying revisiting them. In related news, I decided I didn't need to purchase any books in March. Are you admiring my (relative) self-restraint?

In what my son claims is the most grown-up moment of my life, I am beyond thrilled to have purchased a new vacuum cleaner. I just vacuumed the family room and was simultaneously pleased and horrified by the amount of dirt it picked up. How was my old vacuum missing so much?

I saw my first crocuses and snowdrops of the season last week. Maybe spring is actually going to arrive.

My husband and I are going away for two nights in the middle of April. We haven't had any time away in over a year because of life, stress, my husband's accident, and our son's chronic health issues so we are very much looking forward to this. We are going nowhere exciting and I mean that literally. We are checking into a hotel in a nearby town and we are going to sleep, eat out, go to bookstores, and hopefully have 48 hours of not worrying about anyone or anything. I can't wait.

That is not a bad selection of golden moments considering my whole family has spent the last two weeks dealing with the cold/flu/plague of doom. What pleasant things have happened in your life lately?