Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15

I spent two hours at Changing Hands this morning.

I felt very much like my old self, perusing the Memoir and Cooking sections of the store, crouching down in Fiction, sitting very nearly on the floor, reading titles, synopsese (I'm pretending that's the plural of synopsis), and employee suggestions for various books.

And the angels sang.

Until my body hurt, which made the angels stop singing (and me start muttering things under my breath that I shouldn't say in public - or anywhere, really), which led me to an aisle that had a bench smack in the middle of it that I could sit on whilst reading random pages (sometimes chapters) out of unknown books.

This is what I do in a bookstore; I sit, and I read. I read whole sections out of the middle of books, so I can decide whether or not I like how an author writes. (I usually read the first page, too. But the first page is, almost without fail, excellent. Anyone can craft an opening line/paragraph/dialogue that can kill. But an author who can keep it together at page 261? That's an author I want to read.)

I went in, looking for a particular book for a friend. ... It was the second book I picked up.

At the back of my head, I had thought I would see if they had a copy of Dandelion Wine. (I'd started reading my mom's while I was home last week and the beauty of the language completely sucker punched me.)

Dandelion Wine was the fifth book in my stack.

That's right. I went in to buy one book (to give away). I walked out with five.

I needed four new books like I needed a hole in my head.


This is one of three full-to-overflowing bookshelves in my apartment. (And when I say "overflowing", I mean it. I have books stacked two deep filling both the bottom and top shelves. Obviously, I also have books stacked two deep on top of the shelves, towering a good two and a half feet over the book case.)  I have two other bookshelves in similar straights, not to mention books stashed at the left side of my couch, by my recliner, on both sides of my bed and on the kitchen counter.

And yet, I bought four more books today.

I. Can't. Help. Myself.

I love them.

I came home from the bookstore, made myself a snack of bread and crackers and goat cheese and set about reading Dandelion Wine.

Three hours, two catnaps and 180-odd thrilling, beautifully written and glorious pages later, it was finished.

The book, the day and me. We were all finished.

This book. It is a thing of beauty. It is lyrical. It is mesmerizing. It is... Summer.

Spending a Saturday morning in a bookstore was magical for me. I love to get lost in a bookstore. And this morning, I was able to do just that.

And I bought a book (okay, I bought five, but right now I'm talking about this book) about a boy who realized, in the summer of 1928, that he was alive. I can relate.

This book is about living. And loving. And seeing the world and people around you for what they really are: beautiful, wondrous, enchanting. This book is Summer Magic.

This day was a gift. A marvelous, wonderful, incredible gift. To be able to do something I love to do, even for a short while, before pain brought me home, was glorious. To be able to lie down with a new book and read it in an afternoon, with the end of Summer's sun streaming in on me, was heavenly.

I am so grateful. For well-strung words, and for life experience that has taught me, even more, how to appreciate and cherish them. For this book. For this day. For my life.