I’ve never before lived in a town that I could walk to from home and have the fun of meeting people I know as I do it. I’ve lived in cities where I knew hardly anyone in the neighborhood, in rural areas where I couldn’t get anywhere by walking, in towns where I never got to know anybody, and in towns where there wasn’t anywhere in particular to walk to. But now I can take a stroll around town, run errands, and see friends and acquaintances. It’s fun.
So today I walked to the library to drop off my latest audiobook (Laura Lippman’s What the Dead Know) and picked up a new one (P.J. Wodehouse’s Hot Water). While I was there, I saw that my library was holding a booksale, a little one with just a few tables of mystery novels. Of course I had to buy something — to support my local library, of course! I found Barbara Vine’s No Night is Too Long for 50 cents, and chatted with the woman in charge of book sales, whom I know because I volunteer to work at them now and then. She asked me if I would help out in December, and I said I would.
And then, because my town was having some kind of Halloween street festival, which was news to me, and which hadn’t yet started but was about to, I stopped at the tent where the local Democrats were setting up their table to see if I could get a sign for my friend who is running for State Senate. They didn’t have any on them at the moment, but promised me I could come back later for one. They also told me about an election night party I can go to if I want. This is not the sort of thing I usually go to, but … maybe. Why not?
And then I was off to the drug store where the people there know my name (which may say as much about the number of medications I take as anything else) and then to one of the town’s used bookstores to see if they have a copy of the latest mystery book club pick. We’re reading Ian Rankin’s novel The Falls. I’ve never read Rankin, so I’m excited to read someone new whom I’ve heard very good things about. The shop didn’t have a copy of the book, but they will order one for me.
Then I was off to buy coffee at a local shop that roasts its own beans; the shop’s owner is a big fan of Muttboy and makes sure to send him greetings every time I’m in there.
This was a nice walk, a good way to break up my day full of grading and preparing for class, but it was made even nicer when I found a box full of books waiting for me at home. Stefanie sent me my grand prize winnings from the contest she held over at her blog a couple weeks ago. And is this ever a grand prize! I got a signed copy of Don DeLillo’s Falling Man, a book on translation by Gregory Rabassa (If This be Treason), a collection of short biographical essays by Javier Marias (Written Lives — exactly my kind of thing!), a book about “Dewey, “The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” (I wonder if my library book-sale organizing friend knows about this book?), and a CD of Adrienne Rich reading her poems. Very cool, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to reading/listening to all of these.
And tomorrow I have a big literary day planned … but more on that later.
11 responses to “Ramblings”
Ian Rankin! You’re in for a treat.
I also live in a town where we can walk everywhere and it adds hugely to quality of life. Not only do we bump into people, but we experience the seasons and changes in the weather. Out walking, we see the same people and have gradually made new friends. Walking is the way forward.
Enjoy your lovely books …
I’ve read the Rabassa and the Marías–very fun books!
What a fun day! And what a wonderful feeling of belonging and community to be able to walk around town and chat with people you know. And then to come home and find a box of books! I hope you enjoy them 🙂
I love being able to walk places. I can get to some places in my neighborhood, but not quite everywhere where I need to go. Isn’t it nice being able to do so many errands on foot–be able to get some exercise, not use gas, and be able to listen to a book as well! I look forward to hearing about the Rankin book. I’ve not read him and am not sure where to start, but I’ve heard he’s good. And I hope you like the Vine book. I read it ages, ago, but it’s been so long the details are a little hazy (but you can’t really miss with any of her books, I think). Oh, and what a great box of books to come home to!
How wonderful to live in a place like that. I like my new place a lot better and can get around on public transportation quite a bit but still dependent on a car for the most part. I hope you’ll enjoy the Rankin book. I’ve not read that one but am a fan of his Rebus series of which I’m up to book 6 I think. Good stuff.
What a nice day – it’s a good feeling to be part of a real community. And lovely, lovely books! I enjoyed Javier Marias and this reminds me I should read more by him.
the best thing about Pittsburgh is the ability I have to walk almost anywhere I need to go! I too love how I’ve come to know certain folks…the restauranteers, the coffee shop owners, etc. Sounds like you had an absolutely lovely day!
A lovely day, and reminds me that I must visit that bookstore again soon. Looking forward to our discussion of the Rankin!
Those books sound wonderful – I’m sure you’re in for a treat. And how fun to have such a nice walkabout day, literary and otherwise.
Boxofbooks — oh, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed Rankin; it makes me look forward to him more!
Charlotte — yeah, that’s exactly it! Good community, good weather, good fun. What’s not to like? People comment on how they always see us in town with our dog. It’s fun.
Amcorrea — oh, good to know that you liked them; they both look great, like good thoughtful books I can learn a lot from.
Stefanie — I’m sure I will enjoy the books and thank you once again! I do like feeling as though I belong to a community — one that’s in a small space; it’s a new feeling for me, and it’s fun.
Danielle — yes, it’s wonderful to be able to run errands on foot, isn’t it? It’s great that you can it too, at least with some things. I’m glad Barbara Vine is so enjoyable — you are the reason I picked her book up!
Iliana — I’m glad to know you’re a Rankin fan! I’m going to be reading out of order, I think, but that’s okay; I can always go back if I want to and read them all.
Litlove — I now have two Marias books on hand, the nonfiction and also a novel. I should get to them! I’m very glad to hear you have enjoyed his books.
Courtney — how wonderful moving around on foot is! I’m glad you have such a good situation in Pittsburgh; it sounds fabulous. And yes, I love knowing the shop owners — it’s great to have that little bit of social interaction.
Musings — that bookstore … I love it, but they do make it hard to see some of their books, which doesn’t make sense at all. Their collection of new fiction is shelved in such a way you have to take the books off the shelves to see what they are! But the back of the shop is much better … the Rainyday bookshop across the street is fun too.
Verbivore — yes, I’m very grateful to Stefanie for sending me such a lovely box! I’m sure I’ll love the books.