Friday, January 7, 2011

Dewey and Dani

Day 333 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and Dani is reading Dewey the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicky Myron with Bret Witter, because I mentioned it, because she had been playing with Babette the Bookstore Cat, here seen as Babette in a Bag, and because Karen had just mentioned it in her Scrapper Poet blog, so it was on my mind.

Karen had read the book in one sitting and identified strongly with the small-town aspect, as you can see for yourself in the entry called Starting the New Year Off On a Sappy Note.  Sandy, another friend in the blogosphere, and another sap, like Karen and me, read the book sobbing, and actually grew up not far from Spencer, the actual setting for the book.  And you'll notice here and above that I've linked you to the Spencer Library's Dewey pages, which include the library's hours.

As I told Karen and Dani, I have handled the book at Babbitt's but never actually read it, because it goes out again fast, so I did not realize a copy of the Dewey book was part of our current cat-book display, inspired by Babette.  The last time we had a copy, a former librarian bought it, as it had been popular at her library and now she wanted a copy of her own.

Dani was having a wonderful time in the store.  She had a handful of 4 or 5 hardbacks, so I encouraged the usual book-lover stacking practice.  "You can leave them here on the counter while you keep looking."  And then she found 4 or 5 more including Dictionary of the Khazars, a Lexicon Novel, by Milorad Pavic.

"Do you know anything about this book?" she asked.  "Because I want to know which one I should take."  Hmm, I did not know anything, but I could see that one was a hardback, and one was a paperback.  (Both were $4, I might add.)  On closer inspection I learned what some of you already knew: one is the female version and one is the male version, with a difference of only one paragraph.

As the cover of the book states, "The choice is yours."

"Oh, take the female!" I said.  So she did.  (And now I am troubled by making her choice* for her.)

And I have brought home the male, to blog about, and now that I know more about it, thanks to Wikipedia, I am going to have to buy it and read it.  In fact, I think people have told me about this book before, maybe even here, because of its hypertext/metafiction dictionary format and its comparative religion/culture contexts.  I think I will learn a lot, and will have to stick it in a fold of my brain tightly closed but still sore and tender at the edges since reading a particular essay by Catharine MacKinnon about Serbian violence against Croatian and Muslim women.  Oh, dear, and I have the male version.

*(Dani, we can trade later, if you like!)

There were other fine conversations about books in the bookstore yesterday.  The one with Harry will turn up later, but I will mention the one with Melissa, just returned from Austria and Berlin and living between languages, so when I asked her if she'd seen some of the "stumbling blocks" in Berlin, she said she had but could not think of the German name for them.  Stolperstein, Melissa, is one name!

Melissa had come in to see Babette, as she had been following the story of her arrival on our Facebook page.  Babette was nowhere in sight, and then I remembered I had put a big paper bag on the floor for her.  Yes, she was in it, curled up and napping.

But she was happy to wake up and play with Melissa, and then, when Melissa had gone, to play with the bag.


Kathleen said...

Oh, and we have a mouse. At home. Can Babette come over?

nene said...

Finally got a chance to see Babette. 'What's in your bag'?

We had a mouse, big ears like a Cypriot mouse, in our house. Seduced it, befriended it, fed it, took a shower with it, etc. Much to the disdain of our two minianture poodles, Jules and Jaz. Then came time to release him into large expanse of our back yard. You'd think the story would be a happy ending but unfortunately we witnessed the neighborhood redtail hawk come swooping in for a talon fest. Since then, in my house, my braggadoccio in the art of seduction has never been spoken of, again. The sight of Jules and Jaz snickering' still haunts me.

Kathleen said...

We have hawks, too. And sometimes owls.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, I am soooo jealous that you have a cat at work. Long live the spirit of Dewey!

Karen J. Weyant said...

What a wonderful cat! I think that having a cat in a bookstore or library or where books can be found is a cool idea.

Dani said...

Hi Kathleen,
Interested in a trade, eh? I could certainly be convinced to part with my now beloved copy of the Dictionary. BUT! a quick internet search (only after you've finished!) yields the paragraph difference that separates the two and it's an incredibly interesting one at that. Me? I've already scoured the web and found (read: secured, certainly) a copy of the same book, same edition, same hardback copy in the male form. I plan on keeping both editions in loan circulation for a while. There are too many people who need to read this book.

And Dewey? Well... I didn't cry! A victory of sorts in and of itself!

Kathleen said...

Dani, good to hear from you! Glad to hear you are recommending and sharing the book. I think you have decided me to read it NEXT, and save my book for book group till later!!