Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Book Shelf: Where Books Fall Open

Where Books Fall Open

From our earliest days together Dee and I have haunted bookstores . . . actually some of them are haunted, they say. Ghosts coax us into cozy shops, overflowing with books stacked on stools, or piled in towers on too-small tables.

Oma in Heaven

"Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are those who need books as wildly as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the book to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to arrange on their shelves, to place by their bedside." —Robertson Davies

Do you like to buy books? There's a wonderful shopping list by the author Italo Calvino— (I'm paraphrasing and editing because it's too long for a blog.) See if you recognize your bookstore habits:

In the shop window you identify the cover with the title you're looking for. You force your way through the shop, past the barricade of Books You Haven't Read, but you're not intimidated. You know that among them are:
  1. Books You Needn't Read,
  2. Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading,
  3. Books You'd Read If You Had More Time. You bypass them, and move into the
  4. Books You Mean To Read,
  5. Books You'll Read When They Come Out In Paperback section, and bump into the
  6. Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You've Read Them,
  7. Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case and
  8. Books You Ought To Get Now So You Can Read Them Next Summer. Suddenly you see
  9. Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and
  10. Books You've Always Pretended to Have Read And Now It's Time To Really Read Them.

Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

Is there a more pleasant place than a room full of books?"
Erik Christian Haugaard

Where Books Fall Open is a book about books. It's a collection of essays and poems about writing and reading by well known authors, illustrated with beautiful paintings by Bascove. I discovered it in a Sun Valley bookstore and devoured it in the snack bar, right along with the fresh peanut butter cookies. After only two weeks, I've already re-read it. Give it to your favorite bookworm.

I search shelves of independent bookstores, looking for gems like this that aren't always available in the giant chains. It's fun to shop where the owners are familiar with their titles, and offer extraordinary books that didn't make it onto the best-seller list. Remember You've Got Mail?

Opa Lost in Words

Our Friday-night dates start with a fabulous meal somewhere, and the idea of going to a movie after. Most of the time we skip the movie, and visit a book nook instead, then go home early to read our new purchases. Many nights one of us has started a book, and found the other in the middle of it the next morning. Helen MacInnes was one of the first authors we shared, then Robert Ludlum, and Frederick Forsythe.

Searching out bookstores in faraway places and spending hours in little cubby holes, between the covers of old books, is a favorite pastime when we travel, too. Our itineraries are often arranged around visits to bookstores, and I try to choose a hotel within walking distance of a good one. Some discoveries are:
  1. The Mysterious Bookstore, NYC
  2. Chapters Bookstore, Toronto
  3. Indigo Bookstore, Ottawa
  4. Mystery Books, Washington, DC
  5. Get Lost Travel Books, San Francisco
  6. Howell's Bookstore, San Francisco
  7. Shakespeare and Company, Paris
  8. Galignani, Paris
  9. Books of Wonder, NYC
  10. Hatchards, London
  11. The Tattered Cover, Denver
  12. The Bookbarn, West Chester, PA
  13. Banff Avenue Bookstore, Banff
  14. White Rose Books, Thirsk, Yorkshire
  15. Waterstone's Bookstore, York England
The Bookworm, by Carl Spitzweg

"Some people say living is the thing. I prefer books."
—A Bookworm

Homework: Do any or all, or be inspired.

~Choose a type of book from the list above, and make your own list of five titles that fit the category.

~Describe the perfect bookstore. Prompt: "It looked so inviting. There were_____, with lots of _____. . . "

~Suggest or review a book we might not have heard about.

Next Week: Kid's Books

*If you do any part of the assignment on your blog, link it back to TravelinOma. And please leave a comment here with a link to your blog as part of our class discussion. I'll be keeping track, and spot checking your work, giving points for participation. You can grade your own work, based on your individual progress. (A for Accomplishment, B for Basic Effort, C for Class Comments, D for thinking this post is Dumb, and F for Failure to Communicate.)


soybeanlover said...

I'm so excited to try some of those bookstores on our future travels!

Here's my very meager offering.

sue-donym said...

You have no idea what this idea meant to me.

Thank you.

The Grandmother Here said...

Marty, If you were going to buy just one book for an infant grandchild, what book would you choose? I love "Clotilda" by Jack Kent.

audrey said...

Oh, how these words speak to me! My husband and I spend many of our dates in bookstores - used and new. We also always have a book that we are reading together out loud. We just finished Anna Karenina last weekend and then immediately started Don Quixote.

I am excited to check out these bookstores in the future.

Here is my assignment.

Sarah N said...

loved my "trip" to the bookstore today. thank you!

Heather @ Alis Grave Nil said...

Yay books!

Link to Assignment

La Yen said...

Now I have to clean out my book shelves!
Here it is

~j. said...

My list.

dalene said...

and here's mine, too.

diane said...

Sometimes I pick books based solely on the covers. I just finished a book that I chose because of the pretty cover. It was good and I didn't want it to end. Serendipity by Louise Schaffer. I was invested in the relationships and love the setting and history. A nice, light summer read.

{jordan} said...

#9. Books Read Long [really long] Ago- It's time to visit these again:

| 1 | Out of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
[and thanks to last weeks assignment, I had an excuse to start this one again!]

| 2 | Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
[sequel to Out of the Silent Planet]

| 3 | That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
[the third book in this space trilogy]

| 4 | A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
[I remember reading this as a young girl and loving it, but I don't remember much about it]

| 5 | King Of The Wind by Margureite Henry

I know these are all children's or teen books, but these were some of the first experiences I had with being taken to another world, and of getting lost within the pages. I remember these books made me happy, and made me forget about the trials I was facing in the real world. So part of me doesn't want to read them, for I'm afraid these titles may loose some of their magic now that I am older. Although . . . I am pleased to report that Out of The Silent Planet was just as captivating as I remembered. [I think it has partly something to do with my crush on C.S. Lewis.]

Diane L said...

Here are my assignments. I had a real writer's block on the travel one.

The books one is near and dear to my heart. I think I'll run out and buy When Books Fall Open ASAP. Thanks for the recommendation.

assignment 7
assignment 8

smeagher said...

I love my lists - this was a great assingment. Fun excuse to figure out why I have so many books to read on my list, but have yet to read them.

Sara's Book List: here


crissy said...

Oh, you just keep these coming! I have been so inspired while participating in your seminar. Inspired and reminded of things I love and enjoy. I wake up every morning eager to see what the next assignment will be. I guess I hafnt realized just how nuch I missed being in school until now.

Anyway, here are my lists.

KJ said...

Allison said...

I love having some time to wander aimlessly around a wallet, however, cringes and tries to hide when I go inside.


Jessica said...

I do a weekly feature {which I haven't done for a couple weeks due to lack of iternet.. eeek!} of awesome books on my blog. Also, I'm fairly certain that I could live in any bookstore on Earth quite happily.

cannwin said...

Ooh, I love when people ask me to suggest books. I had a friend over the other day and we started talking books and I found myself on the floor next to one of my three bookshelves thumbing through the ones I loved. She said, "Are you gonna do that thing where you make me read all the backs of your books again?"

So good books...

There is this one we ran across at a library book sale that is just incredible it's called:
West With the Night by Beryl Markham

its a memoir about the first person o fly from England to N. America... a woman. She grew up in Africa on a plantation, trained race horses at 17 and hunted Elephants. Not only is it fascinating but incredibly well written. It's a diamond of a find.

Other books I've really enjoyed:
Three Weeks with my Brother by Nicholas Sparks (his best book imo)

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

And for all you fantasy lovers Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (he's LDS)

I'm sure I could come up with more, but thats enough for now.

Beck said...
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Beck said...
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Beck said...

Hope you don't mind a little tweaking to your categories. Mine fall under, "Books I tried to read, but hated..."

Sorry about all the deleted posts...couldn't get the link to work.

Greek Goddess said...

Here is my link.

I think a date in a bookstore is a perfect date. Glad I have so many kindred spirits out there.

Mrs. Organic said...

Our favorite dates involve trips to the book store.

My bookshelf homework

Chancy said...

I too love book stores. Especially our local neighborhood library's"Friends of the Northside Library" monthly booksale. The sale runs from Thursday through Saturday. On Saturday you can buy a "bag o'books" for $6.00. that is all the books you can cram into a plastic grocery bag. These are not old library books but are donations from the surrounding neighborhoods and some are choice finds. My husband and I just got back from the sale with our treasures. If there are some that we don't care to read we just gift them back to the library book sale for resale. And when we finish reading all the others we most times regift them too. All proceeds go to our branch library.

Kristie Lynne said...

Any good suggestions for quaint book stores in the Salt Lake area? I need a new book home.

Katie H said...

My hubby & I often meander to our local Barnes & Noble (our town only has this bookstore & college text-bookstores) & he heads to the medical section while I make loops around the store. If only I could be a millionaire & own so many books. J laughed at me when we got married because I had three shelves full - and that was after I reluctantly gave them up! On our budget, I am rediscovering the joys of the library.

Oh, I meant to say I posted. Thanks for this assignment. I feel all kinds of warm fuzzies from talking about books. Nerdy, I know. :)

Katie H said...

I meant to say three bookcases, not shelves. :)