Day 277 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and today will be one of my hodge podge potluck blog entries, but I will in fact tell you what some people are reading and why.
While the warm fall weather continues, we have a lot of people wandering into Babbitt's just to browse, or to visit for old time's sake because they used to live in town (often for college or first job) and used to be a regular customer. And also because they've been on Facebook and seen the kitten pictures, and they are coming to see Babette.
So, on Thursday, an old customer came in and is now reading The New Life, by Orhan Pamuk, because he's read three other books by Pamuk that he liked, because Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, and because he likes Turkey--he's visited--and the intrigues set in Turkish history and locales in Pamuk's novels.
Babette certainly loves her new life in the bookstore, where she is well-loved, well-fed, and lives quite happily the life of a chair thief.
A young man came in from the half-price cart parked outside for the whole November day with a like-new copy of The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way (in the edition translated by R. M. French and introduced by Huston Smith.) I think I got a little overly excited, as the young man promised to bring it back when he was done. My excitement was not religious, even though the theme of this book is "to pray without ceasing," but literary, as this is the book Franny is carrying around in Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger, and I've been wanting to read it ever since I re-read that book for book group, and also ever since Salinger died. It's the story of a Russian peasant on a spiritual journey, and, if the young man brings it back, I will indeed read it. That particular copy, because of the sweetness of the conversation, and the act of returning. Life is a constant wonder.
Other old customers came in to see Babette and brought her 3 mouse toys--one white, one gray, one black--and a little bag of "catweed." Babette had a very exciting afternoon, hopping about the store with her mice, and then a very sudden and much-needed nap in a paper grocery bag.
And, speaking of mice, Sarah is reading Maus, by Art Spiegelman, the two volumes in one edition, which passed through my hands, got catalogued, and now she can't give it up," so she will buy it, the main hazard of working in a bookstore.
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.