Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SHELFIE- My Vote for Word of the Year - 2013

Okay, I hate the word "selfie".  It's narcissistic and dumb.  BUT, if you add a single little "h" into that word, it becomes sublime.  Shelfie - taking pictures of all your books and sharing said pictures.  I tried to take pics of ALL of my books, but it wasn't possible.  Some are in plastic containers (from that time we had serious hurricane warnings and I had to save the books!!!), some are in closets...my daughters have "borrowed" (i.e. stolen) some of them...you get the picture. 

The books in those cloth bags are from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN.  Ann Patchett, one of my favorite authors, owns that store and when you join her first editions club you get a SIGNED first edition of the authors of her choice ever so often.  Unfortunately, she and I have waaaaaay different tastes in books, so I only belonged to the club for one year.  The books you see in plastic bags are first editions, my babies.   'Specially the hardcover, first edition diaries of Anais Nin.  Those were a MFer to collect on my budget.  I'm a certified cheapskate.  I got most of them from Ebay from people who obviously didn't know the books were first editions in great shape.  I digress.  Let me upload the few shelfies I took today.  I swear I'm gonna dust all these books before this year is out.  I better get going.  Happy New Year!!!   My one resolution is to READ MORE BOOKS in 2014.  (You can click on the photos to make them larger if you want to read the titles.) 

P. S. Don't judge me because I have 3 copies of "Skinny Legs and All" by Tom Robbins.  Reading his books changed my life.  (Thank you, BFF, Angie Mallette Comer, wherever-the-hell you are, for sending me that first copy of "Jitterbug Perfume" over ten years ago.  I MISS YOU!!!  Where are you???? Call me if you're still alive.  I have the same number!)

These are books about books on the bottom.  Really!!!!   HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!!!

E. E. Cummings and Lorca, how I love you both!!!!

See what I mean about the plastic?  Yeah, baby, that's "Rabbit Run" by John Updike.  Don't slobber on the screen.  Oh, the story that goes along with that book!!!  I could sit here and tell stories all day about each and every book.  I need to do that for my grand-ones.  Okay, hubby went into a junk store to buy a hat.  He sees this book in a pile.  The lady had it marked $15 (in pencil, thank God).  He bargained her down to $5 and she took it.  He gave it to me like handing me a diamond.   He had NO IDEA that he had purchased for me a pristine first edition of "Rabbit, Run" by John Updike.  God love him.  I know, I do. 

I'm still reading "S." by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst.  It's two stories in one huge book.  I wonder if they knew that John Updike wrote a book titled, "S." back in 1988?  It's one of the most mind-blowing book I've ever read.  The main character is a woman and I could have sworn that book was written by a woman.  It was like he crawled into a woman's body and took over her brain to write this book.  My #1 favorite book by Updike.

I ran out of shelves.  I swear, I have no idea where these milk crates came from!

This is ONE of my To-Be-Read piles.  I got the "Game of Thrones" books for Christmas.  That's going to be a month-long marathon of non-stop reading for January.  I hope it snows.  Fat chance of that.  So much for housework and cooking.  Some things are just waaaay more important once you get my age.  So many book, so very little time, right?

This is Penny Lane and Polly Jean.  (Blythe dolls). P. J. is wearing a curly wig.  Tee-hee.  I hope I never, ever, ever grow up.  Ever.

Okay, I stole several of these books from my husband:  "Radix" by A. A. Attanasio and "Everville" by Clive Barker.  He hasn't missed them yet.

This is my Tom Robbins row.  He's all over the house.  I have many copies of his books.  He's THE master of the metaphor, the king of irony and humor.  I worship him in a bookish sort of way.  He'd be happy to know (I hope) that I have him near John Updike, another of my favorite authors.

My favorite Mark Twain:  "Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc".  A masterpiece.

I met Rick Bragg at a book festival years ago and made a damned fool of myself, slobbering all over him like a groupie.  But I think he liked it.  He autographed every book of his I brought with me.  You were supposed to buy your books there, but he could tell my books were old and battered.  He winked at me.  If my daughter hadn't been with me, I might have, well, you know.  Use your imagination.  (Licked his face like a dog).  Ha! Ha! Ha!

The book, "The Dreaming:  A Novel of Australia" by Barbara Wood was so magical, it literally became a part of me.  I read it when it first came out in the early 90's (or as my granddaughter says, "Oh mah gawd, you mean back in the nineteen hundreds????")  She's a comedian.  Anyway, the book is with me still and I can call up scenes from it like a movie.  Fabulous book.

Oops, more Blythes.  My girls like to hang out with the books, so I cleared them off a shelf.  They're above the books about writing.  I read them, then don't write.  It's a curse.

My James Lee Burke, Joanne Harris and Isabelle Allende shelf.  I'm running out of room.  I need a bigger house.

I love Graham Joyce's books, especially "Smoking Poppy", "Indigo" and "Dark Sister".  He's a wizard with words.  I found those old Rumer Godden books at a library sale for free.  My favorite price!!

That boxed Ursula Le Guin book is another great find:  "Always Coming Home".  This box set edition of the book came with an audiocassette entitled Music and Poetry of the Kesh, featuring 10 musical pieces and 3 poetry performances by Todd Barton. The book contains 100 original illustrations by Margaret Chodos.  I think I paid a dollar for that one, including the cassette and the box.  Tee-hee.  :-)  :-)  :-)

The orange/white books are all Angela Carter's.  I found these at a used bookstore in Nashville, TN.  Oh, how excited I got when I saw this pile of her books!  I only owned one at the time and had just discovered her writing.  I happily paid $1 each for these books and didn't even try to bargain them down.  My daughter gripes when I visit her in Nashville and the first thing I want to do is hit the used book stores.  Cheap fun!  I only take two sets of clothes so I can fit more books in my luggage.   (And my 3 grandkids are just like me...I passed on the book gene).

A poetry row, mostly.  It used to be in alphabetical order, but then life crept in....

Ha!  There's that Barbara Kingsolver book I've been hunting for!!!  On the bottom shelf.  I love Tao books.  My fav is "The Tao of Elvis".    Happy Reading in 2014. 

 "I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things."  ~George Robert Gissing

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Sparrow by Billy Collins

Well, this particular cat never caught anything but a bowl of Science Diet.  Catfish, lying on a plastic bag from my favorite clothing store (freepeople.com) doing research for me on a new cat toy from Amazon.  He has a plastic fetish (goes crazy over any kind of plastic...loves to lie on it and crawl into bags...).  He gave this toy five paws up because it held his attention for over five minutes.  Tee-hee...  He's a whopping 25 pounds.  I have 6 cats and he's the only fat, lazy one.  Go figure.  
Enjoy this awesome poem.  I heard it on public radio this morning.   xo

Christmas Sparrow

by Billy Collins

The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—

wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.

Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.

On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.

But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.

For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.


From Mr. Collins' wonderful newest book, "Aimless Love".

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