Monday, July 27, 2009

The Hardbound Book

I like to read. Unfortunately, I also lead a very busy life that doesn't leave me with much time to sit down and get lost in a good book. A few years ago, I joined a book group in order to get myself disciplined to not only read regularly but to comprehend and be prepared to discuss a book. It did help and we have read some great books together. It also has reawakened my desire to make time to read no matter what.

One of my favorite indulgences is to go out and purchase a brand new hardbound book. Usually it is by an author that I am already familiar with and whose newest book I am anxiously anticipating. Very occasionally, I buy a hardcover edition of a new book by an author with whom I am unfamiliar because the book has caught my imagination and I don't want to wait six months to find it on a used bookstore shelf. Sometimes, I have been disappointed that I purchased a hardback book at full price but mostly, I'm not sorry when I do.

Earlier this month, I was at Powell's in Portland, Oregon (a must-visit bookstore) and while my husband browsed through geology and history, I made my way to the literature section and hunted down a copy of The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I have not read anything by this author before and I don't know that I will read her other books but this novel has caught my fancy and so I plunked down full price for a gorgeous, hardbound copy. Just the feel of it, the weight of it, makes me anxious to read it straight through. I will try and write a review after I have finished and let you know if it was worth it.

Novels I have purchased at full price in hardcover without regret in no particular order:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
Making Money by Terry Pratchett
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith
The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (a memoir not a novel but worth every penny)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Birthday Beach Ball

I love my niece. She is six years old now. I called her Tuesday morning to talk to her a little bit on my birthday. We usually have the "shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings" type of conversation. We talked a bit about the hair pretties that I had sent to her the week before. I sent them because she had cut her own hair. As usual, the result was not perhaps what was hoped for and my sister had been hopping mad at her for it. Granted it was the THIRD time she had cut her own hair with disasterous results so her mother had a right to be upset. I sent the hair bands and bows because I felt sorry for her. EVERY girl cuts her own hair and ends up with a questionable outcome at least once in her life.

After hair, our conversation turned to my neighbor's swimming pool. I told her that Uncle John and I had been for a swim the day before and that when she comes to visit in August, she could go swimming with us. Then I said we would blow up the air mattresses and float around in the pool. She thought this sounded like a good idea. I mentioned that Uncle John and I did not have a beach ball and that we were going to get one to play with in the pool. My niece then said "Well, maybe you should just wait for your birthday." This remark went straight over my head. I thought how like a child to tell you to wait for your birthday to get something you want and then gave no further mental acuity to it.

That night when I opened my birthday presents after dinner, there was a small flat package marked "From Marta" that my sister had sent in the box with my other gifts. I opened it and burst out laughing because there was the beach ball. I was so tickled that she had managed not to tell me while still giving me the large, economy-sized hint that a beach ball I would have but not until my birthday!