Friday, November 12, 2010

The Way of Babette

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.

And that is the daily report.


Kathleen said...

And now she "can't give it up," to put the first two quotation marks in there without disrupting the spacing beyond (my technological capacity to) repair.

SHS said...

Sarah *has read.

It took me a paltry two or three days to get through MAUS. One of those books that is so good, you cannot put it down. :)

Kathleen said...


Sideways maus ears. OR, Babette sticking out from the paper grocery bag.

Karen said...

A kitten! We will be stopping in soon! I'm looking for a copy of The Book Thief anyway. That will be my excuse. ;)

Kathleen said...

Karen, we had one, sold it, but might have another. Check 1/2 price cart, then Select New Arrivals shelf by door, then Fiction Aisle. Zusak.

It's $5.99 at Amazon, if Babbitt's doesn't have it.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, wish I lived closer so I could bring Babette a toy myself.

SarahJane said...

I think it must be very hazardous working in a bookstore, although probably you can read there as a perk, no?

I've always wanted to read Maus, but in general I resist graphic novels. I was never much into cartoons, and they seem like 83% cartoon and 17% story.

Kathleen said...

My particular job is non-stop so I only get to read occasional snippets to figure out what the book really is if title, blurbs, etc. don't make it clear. Mostly this is with the older books.

But, yes, the terrible temptation is to take everything home!! Sometimes I borrow a cheap book, read it, bring it back. Sometimes I do goofy side jobs in trade for books--collage displays, Halloween poem.

Karen said...

Kathy- thanks! I will check there. Hoping to get over there this week. I told N about the kitty and he's looking forward to it.