Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

the reader’s corner

In thoughts on things on May 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm

in serendipitous moments, when you’re with people you aren’t normally around, in a place you don’t normally go, you find something that looks you square in the eye and makes your heart start beating faster.

(like jumanji.  just kidding, not like jumanji. there are unfortunately no illusive beating drums in this story. )

it was late. we drove around downtown after a concert at the art museum, lit globes hanging in the sky, evening birds singing along to the music and the hum of people enjoying the show.  shakes and sodas were in order, of course, so i got a cheerwine and sat quietly and contentedly in the backseat.  someone mentioned the reader’s corner, others chimed in, and after a few turns and streets we were there.  fine by me, i like being around books.

i had never been there before.  at night, when the shop is closed and the street is silent, shelves of organized books remain outside to be adopted for 10 or 25 cents, and the proceeds then are donated to npr.  i had listened on npr to some lady who talked about the validity of expiration dates the other week, so i sought out with my cheerwine to see if i could find any gems.

there were newer books and older books, magazines, VHS movies – like a garage sale but presented in a much more dignified way.  my first find was the special annual wedding issue of my favorite magazine, only slightly weathered and tanned on the edges.  the next find was my favorite movie on VHS (which i still happily use on my big box tv in my room), a little more weathered, but still in watching condition.

happy at that, i lingered over to the older books, mostly hard bound collections of reader’s digest and old encyclopedias.  i picked up a few books whose bindings were especially interesting looking, feeling the texture on my fingers, noticing the weight of them in my hands.   old books are always intriguing, even if you never read what’s inside.  my friends were still chatting and perusing, with my chiming in here and there.  my eyes continued to brush over the stacks.

i noticed a particular old book.  fat binding, deep, rusted color, faded black swirls of ink designs.  beautiful!  i picked it up.  heavy.  flipped through the thick, browned pages.  copyright 1940.  a synopsis a few pages in.  romantic and simple prose.  i handed over 10 cents to npr and the expiration date lady, knowing i’d enjoy just the aesthetic of the book even if i never got around to reading it.

i can’t put it down.

“I like good times, and nice men to dance with, or open up picnic suppers, or to go rowing or fishing or whatever’s doing.  But somehow I don’t get excited.  I’d like to travel.”

“Have you ever been in love, Gwen?”

“I think I was once.  Anyway, he went away, without any of the moonlight last remarks that I’d been counting on, and my punctured romance went with him.”  She laughed again.