shadowtricker: (heart of pages)
I've been terrible about updating here, yet again. Rather than having some piece of prose to present, I posted today to show off my entry in LibraryThing's latest bookpile contest. It was my first entry, although I had intended to enter in the last one and simply missed it due to sheer lethargy. My entry, posted here in Bridgie's flickr account (They insist on flickr as the contest host, and I was reluctant to open an account), was chosen as one of the five runners-up. My gratitude to Morri, who provided nearly all of the props shown. He had more to offer, but I wished the focus to remain largely on the books themselves. I can only hope they'll hold a pirate bookpile contest sometime, as between Rey and Bridgie I'd be well supplied for that. I don't believe the prize they're offering does me much good as I already have a lifetime membership, a gift from Bridgielove. I'm just pleased to have the picture up there.
Unbelievably, I have yet to complete my entering of all of our books in LT, as some are still stacked on the bedroom floor against the wall, awaiting my attention. Truly, we do need more bookshelves. The glass-doored case purchased for the more valuable older books is nearly full, although not all the books in it are antiques. By rights I should more all of Rey's Douglas Adams collection into it, as many of them are on the verge of falling apart.
shadowtricker: (words)
I left the house late this morning, intending to take a leisurely amble down to the 7-eleven for possibly a croissant for breakfast and some coffee, a rare enough indulgence. I had the loan of Rey's music player (although some alarming things come up when it's set on shuffle), and the digital camera at Bridgie's request to take photos of things springing into blossom on the way. I should have stayed to my original destination, but one of my favorite local haunts is merely a jaunt across the street from there and I thought to peek only to see how low the price has dropped on the rather old bible I've had my eye on for over a year now. The binding has come apart of course, and I'm hardly religious- except, of course, where it comes to things such as books.
Needless to say I could hardly look there without going around the corner to look over the shelves briefly, and in the end I succeeded in spending every last dollar in my wallet (a mere eighteen, but the books are wonderfully cheap). So here I sit, with a volume of Kipling in my lap and macaroni and cheese for lunch. I forwent breakfast, as I did not escape the shop until it was nearly noon. I might have gotten out slightly earlier, but I fell into conversation with the woman that runs the antiques section of the store (the gentleman that actually sells the books was not there). Somehow we got on the topic of recollecting old books one has had once and given up, and the necessity of finding the same copy with the same cover/illustrations/what have you to reclaim that thrill one had the very first time on discovering that particular book.
I am a happy man.

Purchased today:
Land and Sea Tales for Boys and Girls, Rudyard Kipling 1923 - A must have, of course, for reasons stated above.
The Thurber Carnival, James Thurber 1945 - I can't recall when I first came across Thurber, but his recollections have provided me with hours of amusement in the past and I no longer own any of his works.
The Haunted Bookshop, Christopher Morley 1919 - The title alone drew me in and would not let me go. I may give in and read this one first.
shadowtricker: (gold)
I feel something of a traitor to my own kind.
Deprived of the keyboard so often lately, I turn myself to books and then am in fact reluctant to return to the keyboard when my chance does occur, because the books have so effortlessly reabsorbed my attention that I am accosted by guilt for ever having temporarily abandoned them in favor of a computer screen. Were I actively writing, there would be no guilt, but I hardly count the memes of a pseudo-leper as a creative act. But I have digressed greatly from my original thought, to which I shall now return by an ambling route that may serve as some explanation for what inspires me to feel traitorous.
In seeking something else to read, I happened to pick up one of Rey's books; The last volume of Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt. It's a delightful work, full of rambling little essays that require little preface and are small gems in their own right. Wandering through this just shortly after having skimmed a volume of Dave Barry, I find myself forming an unintentional alliance with and longing for the other side of the Atlantic, from whence I come. I mean no slight to Mr. Barry, perhaps it is a matter of purely ethnocentric perception, but American humour seems to me a more forced affair; the language services the joke, rather than the other way around. Mr. Adams writing has an elegance and honesty that seem more subtle and effortless when contrasted with a work of American humour. Mr. Barry is a thoroughly entertaining person, but I cannot help but worry that he was not inspired to polish his craft of writing purely do to the environment in which it was learned.
I have digressed again; I do not consider myself a good writer, and in anything close to an essay format I am prone to ramble at great length and with little purpose. My condition is currently exacerbated by several nights insomnia and a rather alarming event involving cars going round a track for hours on end, which is currently taking place some ten miles away and which I am still able to hear, despite the headphones which are feeding me Indigo Girls. Miles. Hm. I truly have gone native, which brings me slowly around to my original point. There was, in Adams book, a short and very straightforward essay on the proper making of tea. He explained the process quite simply with a teabag, which is in and of itself something of a blasphemy, which he admitted. There was a very honest admission that very few British know how to make a proper cup of tea in the modern age, either. The admission does not console me while I sip two-minute Irish Breakfast tea out from the microwave. For many long years I did not make tea at all, and thought little of it. I am not British, I am Irish by birth and proud of it, however much my history and accent might lead one to make an erroneous conclusion. Being Irish is hardly an excuse for not making proper tea, and I am fairly well-versed in the art, but what I meant by that is that for some years I subsisted on an admittedly somewhat toxic diet of coffee and scotch. I felt no guilt about this, save for the guilt involved in my descent into alcoholism, which is another story entirely. Some years later I am consistently sober, and to assuage the damage done by a few years of coffee, scotch, and constant stress I have found myself a frequent tea drinker. This only serves to underscore my accent in some people's eyes, and I find myself longing for that rich and dangerous cup of coffee, if not for the additional caffiene then simply to abolish the faulty image I seem to project of a mild-mannered aging British man. I have a tattoo, a temper, the kidneys of someone else. I do not wish to be seen as some raging drunken Irishman with a sordid past, either, but even that is in some ways preferable to the other mistake. I am an expatriot, and a legal American, and I came from an area where British politics were always viewed with the kind of wary suspicion that waits for it to come knocking on your own door in the night so you can bash it's head in. I am not British.
I have spent more time in England than anywhere else in the world, and confronted with an attack on Britain from anywhere in the world save my own homeland I will take up the cry of defense with great loyalty and even a strength of predjudice against 'the enemy' that I always find alarming in retrospect. It is in this fashion that I can feel myself a traitor to an art that originated in a country that is not even, in many of my thoughts, my own. I am well aware of my status as an emmigrant, and it is not for nothing that I have my origins in the land of the Catholics.
I shall sit here, and drink my microwaved, teabagged Irish Breakfast tea, and fret.
shadowtricker: (storm)
Christmas was lovely, recieved several puzzles and books, as well as the word that I am difficult to shop for; I don't see why, because I adore puzzles and books, and nearly anything I am given. I suppose it's just that I don't have much attachment to material possessions. I have moved around and lived too long to cling to items, and if there are any items I do cling to, it's books. At any rate, I now have 'the Once and Future King', which completes the trilogy for me. I started reading 'the sword in the stone' to Bridgielove last night. She's come down with something, and her fever managed to spike at 100.6 so it feels as though it was a long night, and yet here I am up earlier than usual. I suppose I'm waiting for her to wake properly and let me know what I need to go out and fetch for her, because that's all I really can do. She does seem to be rid of the fever this morning. Her mother said that of course it can't be the flu, because she got a flu shot, which means someone clearly needs to inform the woman of exactly how a flu shot functions. I am dearly hoping I don't catch it myself, because then I can't take care of her properly, but if I do, I do... it's rather past the point of contagion now.
Mmm. Christmas again. There was little money this year, but Bridgielove did make a donation to the heifer project; a share of a goat in my name, a share of rabbits in Rey's name, and some bees in Morri's. That is by far the best gift, and is becoming an excellent tradition. The first year she got a goat in my name, I was at a loss for words, and it remains one of the best gifts I have ever recieved.
Also this year I am the recipient of much Thorn fan art. I hear Bridgielove stirring, so I am off...
shadowtricker: (words)
I realize it has been simply ages since I've posted here, and I do feel a bit guilty. Roleplay has such a wondrous ability to suck one in, particularly when you are already an escapist.
But as that time of year comes 'round again, I feel compelled to say a few words.
I dislike birthdays. One grows older every day, why must there be a special occasion to be reminded of this fact? At any rate, I mustn't complain, because there are all manner of gifts for it. Today we are going to the Highland Games. It is good to go somewhere not fifteen minutes from the house and, for once a year, feel as if I am very nearly back home. Also I have put on the shirt Bridgielove bought me there last year, and the effect upon her is... hrm. Rather desirable? I must confess my bewilderment. It is a simple linen shirt with long sleeves and some lacing at the front. Very standard. Far be it for me to complain, however, when she is looking at me as though I were sprawled nude on the bed.
I am going to drink. Just one, an irish coffee, and I am eating before we leave. I drank last year as well, and was dismayed to discover my tolerance is no longer what it was. I'm quite sure that's a good thing, considering my tolerance was, at one time, very dangerous. Five years' sobriety has put it at a more normal level.
It is not about the scotch, however. It is about everyone sounding... normal. None of these jarring southern accents. No one looks at me oddly when I speak there. It is about being at home here, where my heart is.

In other news, we walked down to the local row of antique shops yesterday, where the first book I touched was a copy of 'the Sword in the Stone'. I have ben looking for a copy as I no longer seem to have it, and I would like to hunt down 'the Once and Future King' as well. I had an urge to read them a month or two back and could only find 'the Book of Merlyn' on our shelves.
But here comes the good part. I opened it and there on the frontispiece is simply the publishing date. G. P. Putnam's Sons; New York; 1939.
It is a First Edition.
We paid $5.50
The binding is in excellent edition, one of the frontispiece pages is coming loose and there is faint water-spotting on the front cover, and the word 'pregnant' is written on the frontispiece in pencil, but aside from that it very nearly looks as though it has never even been read. Bridgielove had to convince me to set the thing on the counter so it could be paid for, and I was of course terrified that the shopkeeper would notice, but the book section is apparently through another person who has an agreement with her, so she does not change his prices. Now that I have brought it home and inspected it, it does indeed have '1st' written faintly under the price. It has the author's original illustrations, and is an unassuming blue hardcover with his simple line drawing of the sword through anvil and stone on the cover. I am far too pleased with my find. |-> I shall consider it to overshadow the reminder that I am older everyday.
Now off to a little piece of Eire for the day...

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