Once a year, Roger has to venture up to Salt Lake City to take around fliers for a BYU library book collecting conference to some of the independent bookstores. It's a tough job, I know.
Since my dad is in town, we decided to kill two birds with one stone (or, as my sister prefers to say, feed two birds with one hand) and left him with Jack so we could spend the night in a downtown hotel. That gave us plenty of time for some leisurely browsing at several of our favorite stores.
People often ask me what I'm reading or whether I've read any good books lately. When we had our bookstore, I made a point of reading lots of books that other people would enjoy so I'd have lots of books in mind to recommend. Now I pretty much just read what speaks to me or that connects to something going on in my life, so I'm never really sure how to answer those questions anymore.
Here's what I picked up last night:
Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams. I'm going to a writing workshop she's leading next week. I remember being intrigued by this book when it first came out and I heard her on the interview circuit. "Shards of glass can cut and wound or magnify a vision," she writes. "Mosaic celebrates brokenness and the beauty of being brought together." I rationalized buying it because I love the way she writes and so I can have something for her to sign when I see her. Oh, and also because it begins in Ravenna, Italy.
A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams by Michael Pollan. It's a memoir about building a small cabin with his own hands on his Connecticut property. He used it as a writing space. I love books that weave threads of seemingly disconnected ideas--especially ideas that enthrall me like how we humans are affected and inspired by well designed buildings. I rationalized buying it because I know exactly who I will pass it on to when I've finished reading it.
A used copy of a book published in 1978 called A Guided Pilgrimage: Literary Places, in which author John Deedy has "set out to provide a guide, with biography and some critique, to people and places in the state of New York and the New England states where persons might commune with the spirits of those who helped create an American literature, or, in the cases of some, a literature that America shares by reading." I rationalized buying it because it jumped off the shelf and reminded me of an idea I've been nurturing for a writing project that involves reading books and traveling to where they were written. Communing with the spirits. And maybe dragging Jack into the project in the guise of educating him. If I don't run out of years before he's grown up that is.