Monday, August 23, 2010

Baraboo is a Circus Town

Day 196 of of the "What are you reading, and why?" project and today, in the Land of Coincidii that is my life in books, one man would be reading The Politics of Jesus, by Obery M. Hendricks, and another man would be reading The Trial, by Franz Kafka, if we had had them, but we didn't. Not having The Trial surprised us, and the boss will be checking the basement for duplicate copies, and bring them up tomorrow. If I remind him. (Google Alert might remind him, too, if I mention Babbitt's!)

OK, but, here's the freaky coincidence. BOTH of these men, who came into the store at different times, and who are not related to each other*, mentioned Baraboo, Wisconsin and a lovely used bookstore there, The Village Booksmith, run by Annie.

*I asked, as returning college students and their parents have been walking around town this past weekend.

My book life has also taught me that Baraboo is a circus town.

In the afternoon, a completely different man, looking for Nancy Drew, mentioned that he is a little scared of people obsessed with the circus...
And, to somehow complete some circle somewhere, I finished The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman, in which a rare bookstore features prominently, just in time to return Kim's copy of The Used World, by Haven Kimmel, about a used stuff shop, to the library and check it back out to myself. Because she, too, came into the store today, but not at the same time as either Bariboo man, or the scared-of-the-circus man.
I will pause to note another wee coincidence. There is a lovely strand of mystic Judaism in The Cookbook Collector, giving the book a subtle spiritual undertone, which reminds me of one of Mary Oliver's "rules" for herself each time she writes a poem, to let it have "a spiritual purpose," something I re-encountered assigning her poem "The Swan" and a little essay about its origins (in Poetry East) to my rare-book-room poetry workshop this weekend.
I admire the joy at the heart of Hasidic Judaism. I loved this book. And I admire poets who know their purposes so well. The Used World will be darker, but I will be able to handle that.
AND somebody bought Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen on Sunday.


Kim said...

I am looking forward to discussing The Used World with you, on the sly at book group, or over some strong coffee somewhere, somehow. The book is robust, rich and aromatic, like...well, like strong coffee. It has a complex bouquet with notes of feminism and sprituality, like a fine Pinot Noir, and dark notes like a film noir...and now I think I have written myself into a silly corner and must stop.

Julie Kistler said...

I'm with the frightened-by-circuses guy, although I have to say, that's a very nice poster illustrating this post. I would put that in my TV room, even though I don't care for circuses. Circi? Circii? But I think it's the clowns, not elephants in attractive headgear, who frighten me.

Kim has made "The Used World" sound very intriguing. But that would be a major tangent for me, as I am busy with 60s books because of my Mad Men obsession. (Patrick Dennis' "The Joyous Season" and a man called Jerry Della Femina's "From Those Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Pearl Harbor," about his experience in advertising at that time, are on my Ottoman of Reading. They're each quite interesting.)

Kathleen said...

Gentleman #1 said there are still some Ringlings in town, but I don't know if there are any elephants in Bariboo.

Anonymous said...

I came over to put your lovely page on my Bloggy People List, and read this entry to see if there was any reason for "Bariboo," but apparently it's jut a spelling error. Baraboo.

I love coincidii the same way I love fairies, as something mysterious that I don't really believe in. Here's one: every day for about a week I've seen a reference somewhere to "Like Water for Elephants." Does this mean I'm doomed to read it? Everyone says it's really good. Might as well fire up the Kindle and order the thing right now.

Kathleen said...

Holy Moly! Baraboo, it is!