We have no contributing diarist this week, so we'll have an open forum instead. Those of you who have read a book that changed your life and would like to contribute a diary, please kosmail me. I have a template that makes it very easy to write a diary! You need only write three paragraphs and the template tells you exactly what to put in each one. Just think--contribute a diary and you may find yourself on the "Rec" list!
What is your weirdest book-buying habit? (Forget Kindle for the moment.) When I discover books that meet my (admittedly esoteric) standards for enjoyment, I rush to AbeBooks and begin methodically buying every paperback novel by that author. Buying and reading the 80-odd books Anne Weale wrote in her lifetime helped me through a very difficult period five years ago.
Then I got on to Marion Chesney. After I read all the silly Regency romances by Ms. Chesney the library contained, I bought the rest. It helps that the paperbacks are so old they actually cost 1 cent each and the other $3.98 is for shipping and handling.
One book I bought during the Christmas season even arrived beautifully wrapped, tied up with ribbon, with a little “extra” in the form of a teabag! That was extremely thoughtful of the shipper. It made my day—to me, books and tea go together like love and marriage.
So far I’ve bought and read every novel I could find by Sylvia Thorpe and Jane Feather. I like books that are set in England (almost any century will do) or that at least feature English, Scots, Welsh, or Irish protagonists in exotic settings.
I order three at a time, which usually comes to about $10, and gleefully pile up “my stash,” as I call it, in my home office or on my nightstand. One of the worst fears of my sixty-odd (actually, very odd) years has been the thought of (1) waking up in the early hours of the morning, (2) wanting to read something,and (3) not having a book that matches my mood to hand. Sometimes I’m in the mood for comedy; sometimes for spy stories or mysteries; sometimes for “sanitized” romance (I don’t need or desire porn at my age); and quite often I’m in the mood for epics. One such epic, The Far Pavilions, lasted me the entire flying time from Washington, DC to Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, with a few chapters left over to read once we arrived at our destination. I’m saving Shogun to read if I find myself traveling that route again.
One of the worst cases of book mania occurred when I simply could not find a copy of an Anne Weale book I wanted, Bid Time Return. I read just enough of the book jacket blurb online to make me wild to read the whole novel. It had been out of print so long it was impossible to obtain, even from AbeBooks. I just missed an opportunity to have one of my Australian relatives bid for it on the New Zealand equivalent of e-Bay, so resigned myself to driving to a small-town library in New Jersey to read the copy the library supposedly had on its shelves.
But before I could MapQuest my drive, help came in the form of a very kind Good Reads habitué. She typed the entire novel for me—it took her several weeks—and sent it to me as a .pdf file, may Goddess bless her forever. I greatly enjoyed reading it and still have the printout.
Have you done anything weird connected with books? Come on, I told you mine, now tell me yours! There’s plenty of freshly brewed hazelnut-flavored coffee, and I just baked tons of oatmeal cookies with walnuts to accompany the java. Brush those cookie crumbs off your lap and take the floor!