Thursday, July 13, 2006

Left to my own devices this week, I've fallen into the disreputable habit of ordering used books on line each morning before breakfast. I've ordered three more Rebecca Wests as well as Harry Thompson's This Thing of Darkness, (I can feel a Darwin month coming on before too long. I already own copies of The Voyage of the Beagle, and Darwin's Shooter and I'd love to get my hands on David Quammen's The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, due out at the end of the month).

But this morning, before I could find something else that I simply had to have, the internet went out. I decided I would clean the study while waiting for the cable connection to come back.

Now, cleaning means loud music must be played. I put on a new cd in the living room and went back upstairs to the study.

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! went the new security system that my husband decided two weeks ago that we had to have. I threw myself down the stairs, punched off the alarm, then raced to turn down the music so that I could apologize profusely when the security company called to check on me. Honest, I had no idea that playing music loud enough to rattle windows would trigger the alarm. I won't make that mistake again.

Except the call never came.

Rather disgusted, I went back to work in the study. I had just found a chapter-in-progress that I'd forgotten I'd printed out (one of the Word files that didn't transfer over to the new computer--yippee!) when the door bell rang.

Oh crap. the police. They called the police instead of calling me.

But it wasn't. It was a friend whose name L. had put down for the security company to call if we couldn't be reached. The alarm company had tried to call me; I'd forgotten that the phone goes out when the cable does.

Yikes. All this trouble over the Dixie Chicks.

Anyway, to recover I went to the library for an armload of Proust bios and literary criticism, and then to the new Borders at the new mall to fortify myself prior to the dreaded clothes shopping excursion (I hate shopping for clothes with every fiber of my being). I didn't buy any books, but I did have a good time looking. I hadn't realized how pretty 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die was; I'm going to attempt to satisfy myself with a mere listing of the books discussed within since the libraries here don't have it (I've read less than 200 of them) although I'm enormously pleased that it contains mention of Lorrie Moore's Anagrams and four Rebecca West novels. And I'm now very anxious to read Winkie and Pretty Birds, which, fortunately, the library does have.

And then I came home, called the cable company on the dying cell phone's last few breaths (L. took the charger to the beach), and opened my new arrivals--West's The Thinking Reed and Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life.


  1. I just did a count of the 1,001 books, and I've only read about 170 of them. I'd better get reading!

  2. That's probably about as many as I've read. My mind kept wandering off while I was trying to count and I certainly didn't want to start over.

  3. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Oh, you must own a copy of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die! The paper is thick and the photos/artwork is fabulous. Not to mention all the books that are listed! I've found many new-to-me authors through this book. Sharon

  4. What a funny story! Especially the irony of The Dixie Chicks causing all the commotion.

    The Alain de Botton book has come up so many times in the last week that it seems karmic-- I MUST read it now. Please let us know your thoughts when you finish- I'm very curious!

  5. LOL. What a great story, and fun, ordering so many "new" books!

  6. Anonymous9:58 PM

    OK, I'm going to have to read a Rebecca West book since you seem to love her so much! Any recommendation as to which one I should chose as my first?

    I haven't gotten around to buying the '1001 Books' book yet either (I'd prefer the British cover rather than the US version), but that list you linked to was compiled by a fellow BookCrosser and I actually started a reading challenge using that list. The one thing I don't like about the book is that some of his descriptions contain spoilers.

  7. I read West's The Fountain Overflows a few years back and liked it a lot--reminded me of Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Women, if you've read that one. It would be a good place to start, as would her first book, The Return of the Soldier. If you're crazy over the Brontes, The Judge would be a great one to start with.

    What kind of reading challenge? Just random books from the list or a concerted effort to read them all?


A bang, not a whimper

  Two months into L.'s retirement, and I'm finished with the stockpiling of books. No more book purchases! Or at least, no purcha...