Book Buying And Other Existential Crises

It would be more than safe to say that I like books.  I love books.  I greatly esteem books.  Sarge says I eat them.

I buy clothes when I need them, or every three years, whichever rolls around first.  I buy or trade books once a week.  And then I go to the library.

A few years ago, I set myself a goal to ‘visit all the bookshops in the world.’  Lofty goals are the truest ones.  I’ve been doing pretty well.  Some personal highlights have been Shakespeare and Company, The Strand, and Heffers.  No, I haven’t been to Powell’s.  Yet.

I’ve even been known to read books about books and reading.  Last week, I read this, complete with a list of more bookshops for me to visit.  I’m also going to work on this list.  And because I’m not picky, this one, too.

Yesterday, after our monthly book-group, Sarge and I went to Blackwell’s, Edinburgh (number 39 on this list.)  We just had to buy next month’s book.  A Steinbeck, yes!  It was Sarge’s idea to get it yesterday.  He is such an enabler.  I love him.

I get short of breath with sweaty palms anytime there might be books to buy/check out anywhere.

Here is the ‘reasoning’ behind this, in list form:

  1.  BOOKS!
  2. All the books I might want to read, I already have, but haven’t read.
  3. Books are so pretty.  Want, want.
  4. I’d like something that isn’t in a 3 for 2 deal.  And two books that are.  So I should pick out something else that has a damn sticker on it.  Because it’s a free book, people.  So Sarge picks out something that I’ll probably start/read first, anyway.  Because he reads slower than I do, and because it’s there, and because he loves me.
  5. BOOKS!
  6. There’s a space on a shelf that doesn’t have a book with my name on it.  Sometimes Sarge creates that space (in alphabetical order) and says:  That’s where your book goes.  Put one there.

And then I feel bad, because I’ve bought all these books when I should be writing one.  That is, finishing one.  It would seem I have issues with finishing things.  It’s a shame I don’t have any issues with finishing a bag of Doritos.  I couldn’t even finish a bowl of porridge this weekend.  Because it tasted like paste.  I told Sarge that I’d eat half and we could use the rest as spackle.  Good deal.

Back to the books, and finishing them.  I should probably work on that.

And because I like to change the subject, where is your favourite bookshop?

Shakespeare and Company
Image via Wikipedia

Shopping On My Shelves

Last April, I condensed my list of Things To Do Before I’m 30 into 29 Resulotions.

Number 10a and 10b on that 16 item list goes something like this:

Read all the books I’ve left unread/people have thrown at me.

Not buy another book for myself until the above item is checked off. (Except The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest.)

Well.  I failed.  Not by much, because I had this in mind and not  a lot of money in the bank.  But I failed.  I will say that I bought most of these a LONG time ago.  One or two, I got with a Christmas book voucher from Sarge’s parents.  I know it upped my number of unread books, but it would have been rude not to use it.  And it’s not cool to be rude to your boyfriend’s parents.

Today’s Top Ten List over at The Broke and The Bookish which I found via The Reading Date is:

Top Ten Books I Just HAD To Buy…But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

I thought I’d share mine, and in doing so, show just how grabby-grabby-want-want I am when it comes to books.

In no particular order, I own but haven’t read:

The Bullet Trick.  I bought this as soon as it came out, because I loved The Cutting Room.  Currently three rows back on my middle shelf.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist.  Because it was nominated for the Man Booker Prize.  In 2007.

The Children’s Book.  Because I loved Possession, and only had a mild migraine by the end.

A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Because I was crying by the second page of The Kite Runner.

The Little Book. I bought this for a friend, and then bought myself a copy.  My friend finished it.  Last year.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  I once asked for books ‘I could get lost in.’  Someone on Twitter suggested I try this.  I haven’t.  Yet.

Snow.  I bought this because I thought it was something else.

The Piano Teacher.  This was a second-hand shop find.

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller.  This wins a longevity prize, having followed my around for ten years.

The Selected Works of T.S Spivet.  And this is a relative newbie, only waiting since Christmas.

I’ll read through this list after I finish The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, my 15th book of the year, previously 11th on this list!

100 Books Or Bust: Double Digits

Cover of "Aloft"
Cover of Aloft

As of this morning, I finished my 11th book of the year.  I’m trying to vary lengths so I don’t ‘cheat’ with short books only.

So far, I’ve read:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – in two days, on an island.

The Lacuna – in a little more than two days, back to reality.

The Slap – I’m still calling this one ‘The Bitch Slap’.

A Very Private Gentleman – quoted here.

I Was Amelia Earhart – which took me a little over an hour here.

Warm Bodies – which resulted in maybe not so weird dreams and prompted another library experiment.

Summer Crossing –  which took me back to my University workshops.

The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas – which sat on my shelf for years, and took two days to read.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective agency – Recommended by my mother, who didn’t tell there were so many cows in the book.  Cows and tea.  And quiet humour.  And no, I have not read Agatha Christie.

The Help – recommended to my by everyone and their sister, which I ended up reading as part of the SITS book group this month.  I rationed my reading of this one, so it would last longer.

Aloft – Perfectly pitched, dry suburban drama set on Long Island.  Made me want to fly.

What’s next?  Any more suggestions?

Back-seat Baking: Cider Doughnuts

There is Christmas shopping to be done, but I didn’t want to go out on Saturday.  Strange, me not wanting to go out.  I embraced this feeling and spent time reading books and poems, sometimes aloud.

Sarge went out and came home with a haircut and a bottle of Kahlúa.  And ingredients for a Backseat Baking Adventure: Cider Doughnuts.

This is our own spin on the recipe, which I found via the lovely Emily Drinking Tea .

For our own spin, read: the use of alcoholic apple cider (Magner’s Irish Cider).

Sarge went out again at 7.30 at night to buy an electric mixer, as per the recipe.

What follows is a run-down of what your favourite couple did next:

Sarge:  Reduced generous cup (mug) of cider and gave the rest of the bottle to the writer in the house.  Left on hob for half an hour.

Sarge:  Followed recipe, whisked ingredients.   Waved whisk at girlfriend as proof of posh kitchen utensil ownership.

Lorna:  Ducked and dodged bits of batter.

Sarge:  Used electric mixer.  Spent extra time mixing because new mixer isn’t very good.  Worried slightly about burning smell from said mixer.

Sarge:  Added a pinch of cocoa the mix.

Sarge:  Rolled out dough on baking tray.  Then realised tray was too big for freezer.  Lost equivalent of one doughnut to bottom of freezer while trying to jam tray in.

Sarge:  Transferred dough to giant ice-cream tub and hoped that worked, too.  It did.

Lorna:  Hummed U Can’t Touch This for no apparent reason.

Sarge:  Made White Russians (Kahlúa over ice, with added vodka and fresh milk, finished with cinnamon.)  Turned pint glass into doughnut cutter.  Prepared to fry doughnuts in wok by making doughnut holes with spirit measurer, previously used in making of White Russians.

Lorna: Took pictures.  Hummed the theme to The Odd Couple, for a possibly apparent reason.

Sarge:  Filled the wok with oil and guestimated temperature.  Finally fried doughnuts.

Lorna and Sarge:  Watched The Big Lebowski with The Big White Russians while eating some of The Big Doughnuts.

Photographic Evidence:

I realise I didn’t do much except record the whole thing for posterity and provide the random soundtrack.

Good team-work again!

And the doughnuts were delicious!

What Does Love Sound Like To You?

This is what it sounds like to me:

1.       The laughter of people I love, especially when I make it happen.

2.       Popcorn popping.

3.       The noises the coffee machine makes while doing its thing.  I happen to think it sounds exactly like a zombie dying.  Not that I’d know exactly what that sounds like.

4.       My new favourite song.  Or old favourite songs.  But my new favourite song is pretty cool. It’s this one.

5.       Instances of friendly sarcasm, and creative swearing.

6.       Well-played bagpipes.

7.       Purposeful foot-steps.  In heels.  In the rain.

Popcorn by me.

8.       ‘Another home-run for the Mets.’

9.       Crickets.  And the sound of a screen door opening to a friend on a summer night.

10.   ‘Hello’. The best beginning there is.

Inspired by:  Top Ten Things I Love To Hear, List It Tuesday, and Art Every Day Month

A Noodle fell into my Coffee

A photo of a cup of coffee.
Image via Wikipedia

I hit Publish on Tuesday’s post, and then had coffee and noodles, while sitting at my desk and dealing with more official stuff.  I was addressing envelopes and slurping my lunch when I looked up and noticed my post had been Freshly Pressed.  One particular noodle might have been so shocked that it jumped ship off the fork and landed in my coffee.  Just maybe.

I won’t go all Sally Field on you, but I will say that I genuinely appreciate all the comments and feedback I’ve received.  I’ve read every comment and look forward to responding to people.  Being able to connect with people on a human level is really what my life is about, and if you found something in my writing to connect to, the pleasure is mine.  I write this blog  for myself, and sometimes forget that people may be reading it.

Thank you for your words and I’ll keep writing mine.

Last night Sarge and I went to this gig.  I love live music, and go to see it every chance I get. Even if the musicians are new to me, I always get something out of the experience, and often come home with new favourites.  This is what happened last night.

As I looked down at the gig stamp on my hand, listened to the music and wondered what word rhymes with palimpsest, I had a ‘be here now’ moment that hasn’t yet ended.

And earlier today, as I listened to the rain and Plácido Domingo, I was very here.  Or there.  Life is good.

I just got back from the dentist, and I was even looking forward to that.  Maybe because, in my head anyway, dentist rhymes with palimpsest.

I have been cheating on this blog…

On Friday, I listened to this and this, which made me want to start watching his actual stuff.  Sarge has both of Werner Herzog’s box sets, and he’s wanted me to get into his films for ages.  It can be said that every night is film night in this house.  Films and booze.    Friday film nights are special because they include not having to get up the next morning, and therefore, more booze.

We sat down with My Best Fiend.  And beer for Sarge, cider for me.  That’s where the cheating bit comes in, see.  I drink drinks that aren’t gin and lemonade.

Since moving to Edinburgh, I have rediscovered my love of cider, and drank quite a lot of it here, on Saturday.  There was cider and friends and laughs and card games, and an actual accessible toilet in the pub we were in.  There was no leaving the pub to go off in search of another place to pee.  That has happened before.  I once left the original pub and went to one place after another with Out of Order Signs on their accessible toilet doors.   It took me half an hour to find one, and all I remember of that time was begging Sarge not to make me laugh.  He failed, but I didn’t, arriving at a working and unlocked accessible toilet still needing it.  But there was no such shenanigans on Saturday, and four and half pints of cider later, we went home and had drunken fish and chips.

I awoke without a hangover.  My last hangover was the result of a night out early on in my first year of Uni. I’d gone out with some friends, and the end of the night saw me leaving a trail of nuts and bolts from the chair from our front door to my room.  The taxi driver put the wheel on wrong, and snapped my tipper bars, which was the cause of the leakage.   I should also mention that I’d left my chair in the kitchen, using a spare chair to get to my room.  This confused my hall-mates, who knocked on my door, asking if I needed anything.

Advil, I said.

No need for anything stronger than coffee on Sunday.  And lots of fresh air on the way to the movies to see Winter’s Bone, which was brilliant and not unlike watching a really good documentary.

Since I’ve gone on a bit about drinking in this post, I’d like to say don’t drink and drive.  Even when all you drive is a wheelchair.