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8:29 a.m. - 2010-09-13
The Book Garden

Grocery shopping with Mick is dangerous. Dangerous to our bottom line anyhow. Saturday morning we went to Shoprite, we needed this and that. Turned out we bought a LOT of this and that and the other. It kills him to watch me lower my hand or pick up something only to put it back on the shelf. When he thinks I'm denying myself something, treats mostly, he waggles a finger at me and into the cart it goes. I'm learning to be discrete in my longings. I have to. Otherwise we'd be stone broke and I'd weigh 400lbs.

Saturday's shopping wasn't too over the top, but it certainly wasn't the milk and egg run I thought it'd be. The roses on my desk and the full cookie jar in the kitchen will attest to that.

It was a quiet weekend. A little sore from going back to the gym, but the bigger aftereffect was simply being tired. I crashed on Saturday night, in bed and snoring before 9:00. Then yesterday after we got back from B&N (Mick wanted Stephen Hawkings new one) I took my new book upstairs, stretched out on the bed, delightedly read the first 180 pages, then when Mick came in to catch the final at the US Open I conked out. Almost 4 hours. And the long nap didn't put me off schedule, went back to bed at my usual time and slept for almost another 7 hours.

Feels good. All rested and my bod isn't too grumbly anymore. Just in time to go back to the gym tomorrow and exhaust myself again. I just wish wearing myself out helped with my crazy night world. It doesn't. Mick says I've been sleeping with my fists clenched, and when I'm not snoring I'm whimpering. Oh well.

With the coming of the cooler weather I finally forced myself to try on my jeans. I was afraid I'd outgrown them, the easy summer clothing of sundresses and soft shorts makes it dead easy to expand without having to acknowledge it. Big happy sigh though, my jeans slid on just fine. The biggest ones to be sure, but at least I hadn't outgrown my fat pants. What with going back to the gym and being free of the enervating summer heat I should be able to firm things up again fairly quickly. Fall is my best time. Perversely I am at my most alive as the world prepares to hibernate.

My new read, btw, is 'The Book of Lost Things' by John Connolly. Again, the voice of the Storyteller took me away. I picked it up at random, opened to page one and fell in. When Mick startled me out of my reading trance I was already almost 25 pages in, eating the story with my eyes, standing there like a goof right next to a big comfy chair. It's that good.

Aside from being good I can't find a common theme among the books I've read lately. The new books, I mean. I always have a few re-reads going on. Battered favorites parked face down, open to where I left off, their poor spines already too wrinkled and cracked from previous abuse to protest their undignified position. Andy Rooney and Molly Ivins in the john. A 'Little House' on the breadbox and a grease-spotted Lonnie Coleman next to the stove. A tattered Stephen King by the bed. There's usually a Harry Potter lying around too, on the porch or here by my desk, they at least are spared the face-down thing. Too thick. The Potters have a dust jacket flap tucked into the pages as a bookmark.

The others? The newcomers? Off the top of my head- 'The Flamenco Academy' by Sarah Bird, 'The 19th Wife' by David Ebershoff, 'John Belushi is Dead' by Kathy Charles, , 'Odd Mom Out' by Jane Porter, 'Wench' by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and 'The History of Love' by Nicole Krauss. I also tried finishing 'The Wrinkle in Time' series by Madeline L'Engle but got bogged down again. Just not in the right mind frame for metaphysics.

But you see? Not much in common with each other. Except that they're stories. Plain old fiction, mostly. I have nothing against genre, I go off on whodunit sprees or gorge on satirical fantasy (once did eleven Pratchetts in a row and couldn't stop sub-referencing for the better part of a year). I detest the smirky ghetto-ization of books by and about women so I refuse to call anything 'chick lit', but I do strings of women stories sometimes and if they happen to have pink jackets, so what?

The last year or so it's just been about the Story. I drift around B&N and the library sales picking books up and giving them a taste. Sometimes I can tell a book might be satisfying, but it's not what I'm hungry for right then and I'll put it back. (At B&N. At library sales I buy by the armload and shelve them at home to be discovered later.) Perhaps this rummaging through the pantry method of book browsing is less efficient and I know I'm probably missing some good reads by flitting around tasting random books like a goddamn hummingbird, but it's also netted me some good tales I might not have found otherwise. Like say if I sought out specific authors or doggedly made my way through the stacks alphabetically like Francie Nolan.

How about you guys? How do you pick your books? Lists? Author recommendations? The NYT bestsellers? Stick to a known style and hope for the best? Or do you do like me? Betcha there's more than a few literate hummingbirds out there.

A good Monday to you all. ~LA

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