I'm back to my theme about random selections from marina laundromats. It broadens the mind.I actually do that sometimes--close my eyes and pick a book at random off the library shelves. Broadens my reading horizons.
I always read whatever is left behind in tramping huts--it's usually stuff like NZ Pig Hunter magazines, but even these are good to read now and again, for the broadening of perspectives they offer. It also makes me feel really good about my own writing, because the writing in those sorts of magazines uniformly sucks.I'm back to my theme about random selections from marina laundromats. It broadens the mind.
Almost all of my books are blind dates. I buy 90% in the second hand (charity) shops, so I act on impulse/intuition/that author is said to be good, lets give them a chance. Usually I'm satisfied- and if not, I just take them back from where I got them
Several of those lovely 'libraries' popped up in the vacant spaces around Christchurch after the earthquakes--an old glass-fronted drinks cooler (probably from one of the supermarkets that were destroyed), filled with books, and a few benches to sit on while you read. Such a lovely idea! I would say, @Marc, you should donate a book to your local library--it's like random acts of kindness--you don't expect reciprocity, but you expect it to be passed on.Somewhere in the east of the UK, where Essex starts to think about becoming Suffolk, there is a small rural train station with a small waiting room. The waiting room has a small library. The idea is you take a book, read it and put it back when you have finished with it. Just like a real library, except honesty-based. Make a bookish donation if you choose to. It's a beautiful idea, and from this wonderful institution I once picked up a rather nice little book. 'Hector and the Search for Happiness,' which I greatly enjoyed. (For adults, despite the title). But to my everlasting shame, I have not yet managed to return 'Hector', because I never returned to that station. Can't even remember which station it was. (Kelvedon?) What do I do?
50% of my novels come from charity book shops. I love to imagine who read the story before me. For instance, I bought a book, I cant remeber the name of it now, so I wont lie. But as I was reading, it was a bit strange, it was bought in a book shop in Dohar, it was priced in the currency, and halfway through the book, I found 4 x 100 Afghan Afghanis crisply pressed into the book. My imgaination flew, who had the book? where they from Afghanistan or passing through? what was there connection with Dohar and how did the book end up in a charity shop in Switzeraland.
One of the downsides o charity shops is you do get a load of Dab Brown pulp.
Good idea! That should appease the guilt.Several of those lovely 'libraries' popped up in the vacant spaces around Christchurch after the earthquakes--an old glass-fronted drinks cooler (probably from one of the supermarkets that were destroyed), filled with books, and a few benches to sit on while you read. Such a lovely idea! I would say, @Marc, you should donate a book to your local library--it's like random acts of kindness--you don't expect reciprocity, but you expect it to be passed on.
Beautifully written!The actual life of a book is an interesting topic. Many that I read have travelled on other boats. this was an interesting one ( a book of short stories):
Conceived in London under the guidance of an undisclosed editor, with an introduction by Geraldine ________, this copy was born on Guernsey in 1996. The Guernsey Press acted as midwife and despatched the copy off to its first temporary home, before it met its first parents. I didn’t meet the anthology on that island jewel of the English Channel, even though I lived there for a short while some years ago.
In fact I don’t know where I acquired it, but certainly it was this year, and as far as I can deduce it was in Greece – perhaps Paxos or Cephalonia, maybe even Ithaca or Levkas.
Now I think about it, not far from the bones (would there be any remaining) of Lord Byron? Or it might have been here in Sicily - it was certainly an island and somewhere where we engaged in a book-swap; that intermittent activity that cruising folk enjoy. That activity is now in rapid decline, with space on boats at a premium and the advent of the e-reader well under way, but that’s another essay.
The meeting was not immediate. The compendium stole aboard secretly, hidden amongst a set of other books – fiction mostly, with its own set of surprises and new-to-discover (for me) authors such as David Baldacci. It lay undisturbed, secreted in that collection of regular fiction. The first meeting finally took place last week, when I had finished working my way through the novels. Hmm. Not my thing, short stories. Nevertheless I was committed.
That first brief lunchtime kiss engaged me – I think it was accompanied by salami Milanese. That was not a good choice - garlic for a first date? The trysts are – usually - restricted to the lunch hour, but the affair continues unabated. A week already! Have we known each other that long? It cannot be! And, as one does in any affair, in any interlude of love, one develops knowledge of the subject of one’s affections and examines more closely the crows feet and laughter lines, knowledge built up from a series of open examinations made in brief snatches across the lunch table.
I know it will end. The kisses may become uninteresting, I may lose that frisson that one experiences before the next meeting. End it will, but still I am drawn to my lunchtime thrill, each one bringing something different. Such variety! Occasionally, we meet over dinner, but only occasionally, as by the evening I am usually too tired to give mon amour the attention deserving of such an exquisite treasure.
Don't Get Excited!
Hey - it’s only a book! Don’t get carried away, the feelings will pass. Fine, I acknowledge that. A book it is, set, unfortunately, in what is at most, nine point type - as with all affairs, one has to work at it. But what a book! A distillation of so much experience, so many eyes, thoughts, cultures and historical settings, it is there with me, during lunch. Such a flexible spine!
So, how did it arrive at my table on a boat in Sicily? I have described the migration from acquisition to acquaintanceship and deeper affection, but what about the laughter lines? They tell the tale of travel, perhaps. Inside the front cover, written hastily in pencil, I see “$5”, so I can assume that it has in all probability travelled on an American boat for some of its life, or at least lived on one. Some literary stowaways have tattoos - ink or embossed stamps - showing that they have been on the 'SV Marie Celeste' or other sailing vessel, but not this one.
Despite being only fifteen years old the cheap paper has acquired a weathered colouring. Weathered but not faded, strengthened towards a sepia tone, with freckling; and there are water stains too – probably from having resided temporarily under a dripping hatch, or leaking deck. Which waves, which seas brought the book here? The tired spine tells me that others too have enjoyed this volume, or parts of it anyway, and that it has been manipulated by their hands. How long were their encounters? Were those encounters at an anchorage, or whilst on passage at sea? Perhaps both, and probably there were some enjoyed with a glass of wine as the sun set, as is the wont of we cruising folk. Or perhaps some encounters were like mine, at the lunch table.
Of course, the volume may have experienced an occasional air flight too. That I cannot know, only guess at – just as I can only guess at the number of harbours and anchorages the book might have visited, and wonder. Romantically, I prefer to think that it arrived at the table via the Straits of Gibraltar, and not via Luton Airport.
These days, ‘books’ – hardly the word - are travelling through cable, fibre optics and via radio signals, to terminate on an e-reader. I’m not sure I would enjoy the company of an e-reader every day at lunch. In fact, I’m not even sure that the words – even of this anthology of short stories – would have the same magic at my lunch table when viewed through an LCD screen.
Thank you @Marc Joan . I have been sailing for the last few weeks, but no new books this time.Beautifully written!
Not sure if there's a buried jibe in there? Yes, I sail at sea (salt), but I'm not a professional mariner. Just sailed solo from Canaries to Portugal, 1200 miles. I actually managed to get some writing done as well as plot planning.
Any sales trick that stimulates trade is good, however gimmicky. This ploy reminds me of a rather more open method of recommendation that my favourite CD store in Atlanta used—they encouraged customers to suggest albums they'd liked, displaying them in separate racks at the top of each genre with the listener's comments. I was introduced to several artists new to me in this way.