Dwight Garner has been reading Humorists: From Hogarth to Noel Coward, by Paul Johnson, I have been resisting the temptation to buy all the "new" (fine-looking used) books by Christopher Moore that have come in at Babbitt's recently, 3 paperbacks and a hardcover.
I am a sucker for humor and one of them is even titled You Suck. Yes, it's about vampires. I resisted the temptation to buy this for my niece, a vampire connoisseur. I thought it might be too risqué, but she is familiar with risqué vampires, too, so it might have been OK.
I did not resist the temptation last Christmas to give my parents a humor book: In a Word--words by Margaret Ernst, and drawings by James Thurber--because it was too perfect. She is a retired English teacher who loves words, and James Thurber is one of my dad's favorite humorists. They have Columbus, Ohio in common, among other things. Thurber, in fact, is one of the funny guys in Humorists, along with Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, G. K. Chesterton, and....Nancy Mitford?
And I did not resist a skinny funny book on the history of toilets for some lucky kid in my acquaintance (who does not read this blog).
What helps me resist temptation is a basic lack of cash. Hence, today's bookmark reminder, and the fact that some of my gifts this year are indeed Emily Dickinson collage bookmarks.
This one is made with a giant 500 bill folded over a piece of cardboard, with butterflies on front and back. My son scanned both sides and then put the images together to recreate the whole bill and make the butterfly wings touch! Isn't that cool?
The Emily Dickinson lines are these: "Each life converges to some centre." The cut up phrases that make this line do converge on the center, McKinley's head. "A narrow fellow in the grass" hides along the narrow margin. (My son loves how the color of the money matches the color of the printed poetry page.)
Above the butterfly on the other side: "I measure every grief I meet." And below: "Heaven is what I cannot reach!" At the utter bottom: "It dropped so low in my regard."
I find that rather funny.