The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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October 17, 2010

Sunday Reading

Winslow Homer, The New Novel (1877)

Except for Friday, when we had our over-hyped nor-easter, the weather has been so beautiful that it's hard to stay inside and read.  But it's been even harder not to; now that my 'unfrozen' library requests are arriving, I have good books in progress, and more stacked up and waiting ...

Our wonderful library system (I think it's 30 towns) lets you have up to 20 books on request, and if you're going to Switzerland (or anywhere, really) you can 'freeze' these requests (they don't come in while you're away, but somehow you don't lose your place in line). So when I unfroze them all, a few days before I came back, some new fall-release books that I had put my name in for months ago starting coming in right away.  So imagine my surprise when I walked down to the local branch and saw the reserve shelves behind the counter stripped, empty and bare. What???  No, it's all good. While I was away, the library implemented a new system. Instead of skulking up to the counter and saying 'Um, I think I have 7 books waiting for me,' I can now just walk up to another set of shelves, pick up my requests, scan my library card at the self check-out station, stack up my books on a little gray pad, and they're all checked out at once. Then I load them into my little granny cart and trundle them home. {Do the librarians care that I have seven books waiting? Probably not. Are they, and the Minuteman Library Network, the best? Absolutely. Oh, and kidding about the granny cart. It hasn't quite come to that. It's just that I never seem to see anyone else picking up seven books at once.} There's something else! The online catalog lets you save books to lists. I have a new cookbook list, and a reserves-to-reserve-later list. Pathetic...}

I do have reading plans for today, though. I'm well into Part II of Madame Bovary, due Thursday for the Nonsuch Book group read (thank you again, Frances!). We've just met Rodolphe, and we know right away who he is and what he's like. I stopped reading the other day at Chapter 8, which is the beginning of the scenes at the agricultural fair.  I think I read somewhere that this is an important scene (like the wedding, and the visit to the chateau), and now that there have been so many interesting and perceptive posts about the book, I want to keep some of those ideas in mind when I read further. {Specifically, physical attributes vs. clothing and possessions, and lies.}

But I also couldn't resist diving into The Charming Quirks of Others as soon as I got it home. Great literature or not,  I love Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie series, and I almost want to read this one more slowly so it won't end quite so soon. {I just found out that he'll be speaking at the Boston Public Library on October 25th!}

And then there are the new cookbooks... my copy of Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table finally arrived, and I'm sure I'll be looking through it for the third (and maybe fourth) time today. It's a big, heavy (and beautiful) book, but I had 8 pounds of empty space in my suitcase when I went to Switzerland, and if I had it then I could have brought it with me. I would have had so many ideas for what to do with all those cheeses, and I could have made hachis parmentier (French shepherd's pie, this week's recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie cooking club) with a new and interesting twist.

I hope your weather is as nice as ours is, and your Sunday reading is as delicious.

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Frances said...

You are a very busy reader! So glad to have you reading along with us for Bovary. If we all got that excited this week for 58 pages, imagine what this Thursday will look like. Can't wait.

Di said...

Our library has the same system--I love it. No more waiting just to pick up reserve books! Another cool feature we have is a big list of authors--you select as many as you want, and as new books come out from them, they're automatically added to your reserve list. It's resulted in a number of "wow, I didn't reallize so-and-so had a new book out" moments for me. =)

Vintage Reading said...

Gosh, 7 books waiting, I couldn't cope with the pressure. Think I'm the slowest reader in the world! Love that quote from Emma on your blog.

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