Monday, May 20, 2013

Road trip reading

View in The Strand
Okay, so my husband (we'll call him Chef, because that's what he is) and I just got home from a 7 week road trip around the country. We hit New York City, Philly, Asheville, Nashville, New Orleans, Houston, Tucson, San Francisco, Portland...others...It was kind of epic. It was a lot awesome. It's been an adjustment getting used to being home again. It's nice to have a bed. And privacy. And cats.

But it's hard not to miss it. How often as adults do we get to have that kind of freedom? It was great not to think about jobs or bills or, for the most part, grocery shopping, for almost two months.

What does any of this have to do with books? Welp, here's a thing about my book habits: I'm a library person. My mother was a librarian for 35 years, I've always had a library card, always used it. Who has the money to go around buying books all the time?

Okay, so you know how, when you're on vacation, the normal money-spending rules kind of cease to apply?

Yeah. We bought 35 books on this trip. (Just because we had sooo much extra room in our car. Not.) We couldn't help it! I don't know if you know this, but there are some damn fine book stores in this country. And we only made it to a few. The stand-outs, for those of you keeping track, were:

The Strand, NYC. Obviously. 18 miles of bookshelves? I believe it. I've never been to such a crowded book store before. It made browsing a little more challenging, but that barely slowed me down.
Photo taken from
Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe, Asheville, NC. This was a tiny one, comparatively speaking, but the selection was amazing. It was pretty much the collection I would put together if I was opening my own book store. Well, plus Twilight, but these places probably have to have Twilight. We won't hold it against them. Excellent selection of children's books. We picked out Neil Gaiman's Crazy Hair for our niece. She loved it. Obviously.

The Captain's Bookshelf, also Asheville: This store had a collection of rare and old books--not really stuff we read the most, but it was a lot of fun to poke around. This store didn't worry a bit about ambience, there was no attached coffee shop. It was all about the books. I like that. And I did find a book I've never seen before, about Frank O'Hara, my favorite poet. Win.

Aaaaand, Powell's Books, Portland, OR. This one was my favorite. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time we were there. Which was twice, in two days. So great, guys. This is a store I would actually shop in even if I lived in Portland and had access to a library. There are some hella affordable books in this place, and it's HUGE. You could find anything there. The only downside was I missed the release of Joe Hill's NOS4A2 by two days. TWO DAYS. Curses.

And our stash? Well, Chef got a bunch of cook books, so I won't include those.
If you don't feel like squinting, the list is as follows:

The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
Fire and Hemlock, 
Castle in the Air,
A Tale of Time City,
Reflections on the Magic of Writing, Diana Wynne Jones (Post on DWJ coming soon!) 
Adverbs, Daniel Handler
Little Brother,
Homeland, Cory Doctorow
The Regulators, Stephen King
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
The Killing Moon, N. K. Jemisin
Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio
Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst
Railsea, China Mieville
Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara, Joe LeSueur

So far I've read nine of them, and I'm partway through the book of short stories and Diana Wynne Jones's book of essays. I'll post mini reviews soon. And now, to make room on our bookshelves...

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