Friday, January 14, 2011

Hopeless Romantics

Day 340 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and John is reading a new stack of, say, 10 or 12 fabulous books that caught his eye at Babbitt's.  John is a regular who appears every few months for another fine stack and says his house is full of books, maybe as many as the bookstore, so now I am worried for his wife, who, I'm sure, is hoping he will consider a Kindle.  (He won't.)

John first appeared at the window, peering at a copy of To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf.  He came in, picked it up, looked closely at it, saying, "My wife loves lighthouses."

Here's when my personal responsibility red alert button went off, flashing little pulses through my brain.  "I read that book and can't even remember the lighthouse."  May the literature gods smite me, I can't remember the lighthouse, except the one on the cover of the paperback edition I read in the green room while singing in the chorus of Camelot.  Not a good place to read Virginia Woolf.  Nor a good time, age 17, immersed in musical comedy.  Wikipedia reminds me that a visit to the lighthouse is central to the "plot" and I did remember that much, but I can't remember said "plot."

Red light still flashing, save the wife, save the wife!  "Isn't that the one where the wife dies in parentheses?" I ask, innocently.  "And I don't think that's giving anything away," I continue, impishly.

(I think I saved the wife.)

Anyway, in John's fabulous stack was a book from the floor that I had been lusting after as I passed it day after day, The Book of Love, an anthology edited by Diane Ackerman and Jeanne Mackin.

"I'm a hopeless romantic," said John.

Further evidence: the stack included Don Quixote, our favorite fighter of windmills, by Cervantes, which, by random coincidence, a young man had bought in paperback earlier in the day!  And Lincoln and the Court, by Brian McGinty, an account of Abraham Lincoln and the Supreme Court and their constitutional and legal "battles" during the Civil War.  We also looked for and found a hardcover Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.  More about that, perhaps, tomorrow.

But now I will tell about what I love to do, respond to a snippet of conversation by turning and grabbing from the shelf behind me (the shelf of books I am about to list in our database) the perfect book for the person in front of me.  "Oh, you'll want this!" is the refrain.

John had just asked, "Do you have True Grit?" as he had just seen the movie.

"We used to have one in the window [full circle return to image of John in the window!!].  Sorry, it sold right away," I said, turning to the shelf behind me. "But you'll want this!"

The Dog of the South, by Charles Portis!  First edition, hardcover with dustjacket.  John, if not his wife, is going to be glad he has that one!


Sandy Longhorn said...

You lead a charmed life, my friend!

Maureen said...

A couple of yearsago, my husband and I took a drive into the country, as we love to do, and stopped in a small town we visit frequently. We discovered a new used bookstore had opened, and it had quite a few first editions, all in excellent condition. It was as if someone had simply opened his personal library up for sale. My husband happened to spot True Grit and bought it. Alas, the shop closed a few months later.

Kathleen said...

I do!

Kathleen said...

..and what a shame, the loss of that bookstore!

I was talking to a young man in the store the other day about a bookstore in Westerville, Ohio that is someone's house opened up as a shop!!

Kathleen said...

All day I have been hearing Peter Gabriel sing "The Book of Love" in my head.

Kathleen said...

And now it is playing on my media player because I remembered I had a free download MP3 coming!!

Hannah Stephenson said...

You are the equivalent of a book d.j. Or a book bartender. A booktender :). That is so delightful!

I furtively love making mix cds for people I know fairly well--if I know 3-4 bands that they already like, I enjoy the challenge of creating a little album for them.

Kathleen said...

My niece and daughter and an online writer friend have made me mix tapes, and I love that!!

Yes, yes, a book dj, or a booktender. Plus, I listen!

Kathleen said...

But, unlike the best bartenders, I do imbibe.

Collagemama said...

Now if you would just give haircuts at the same time!

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

Yumm! Barefoot Mascato, Fourteen Hands , Witches Brew (warmed), all good cheaper wines with a dessert of a good piece of literature.

The afterwork pleasure of a good 'booktender'.

Kathleen said...

Haircuts are just down the street!

Jasmine said...

I don't remember To the Lighthouse either, ;)
And you have a blessed job!