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.