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3/20/2009

used bookstores, how I love thee



A friend of mine cannot stand to leave price tags on books or any other item. I understand the impulse, but only to a point. When I find a great deal at a used bookstore, I leave the price tag on the cover to herald my savings. Sort of prideful, I know.

Before meeting my family for dinner yesterday, Johnny and I dropped by a Half Price Books store located in close proximity to the restaurant. My goal was to find a copy of Tinkers, yet it wasn't meant to be. No Wendell Berry novels, or poetry by Kate Daniels or Naomi Shihab Nye, either. However, we did score a copy of The Christian Almanac by George Grant and Gregory Wilbur for $2.00. This tome is worth much more, but our budget approved. I wasn't surprised to see a few copies on clearance - this type of book is surely underappreciated.

For every day of the year, Grant and Wilbur compiled an eclectic assortment:

-Bible readings.
-Feast Days. On March 20th we remember St. Cuthbert, St. Wolfram, St. Herbert of Derwentwater, St. Martin of Braga, St. Photina and her Companions, and the Martyrs of Mar Saba.
-an essay about an important person or event in history.
-a fact such as today's: "This day marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun moves north across the celestial equator marking the vernal equinox." Or yesterday's: "This is the day that the swallows traditionally return to the San Juan Capistrano Mission in California."
-a quote. I love today's: "When I am dead, I hope it may be said, though his sins were scarlet, his books are read." [Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)]
-events that occurred on that day in years past. Today's list spans 43 B.C. to 1991.

I'm also impressed that the authors stated this in their acknowledgments:

"No book, of course, is merely the fruit of a single author's labor - it is rather the accumulation and collation of a thousand odd experiences, random collaborations, and peculiar inheritances."

I was just saying something similar to Johnny the other day. Though I sit alone in a room, I cannot write an acceptable sentence unless I surround myself with wise people, good books, and brilliant editors.

So now I have five books on my currently-reading list, though The Christian Almanac and ESV Bible are yearlong reading. A kind blog-friend offered to loan me her copy of Tinkers as long as I mail it back to Vermont when I'm finished. I better hurry and read Philip Levine's poetry. Five books is my limit.

As for dinner, Café Red Onion was de-lish. I did not feel deprived one bit with a chimichurri steak salad including cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, and avocado. And I saw Orion as I stood in our driveway. I had no idea the stars were ever that clear out in the 'burbs. I'll have to step outside at night more often. Speaking of constellations, did y'all see these embroidered beauties?

6 comments:

robyn a. jones said...

love the embroidered constellations! how cute! hope we both perk up. i don't think i will until i get off all this medicine and figure out what is wrong with me.... but i have hope.. maybe art therapy will help me this weekend.

Kimberly said...

The Christian Almanac sounds like a great book. I'll have to go get one as soon as I can. BTW, I love that quote!

Cafe Red Onion sounds delicious. Maybe Gregg and I can go there sometime.

jenni said...

Robyn, always have hope. :)

Kimberly, we found the book at the Half Price in Rice Village, on a sidewalk cart.

B said...

Grant's Almanac is a wonderful book and a great resource if you ever homeschool or teach. Enjoy and hope you are doing well! Blessings, B.

Lauren said...

enjoying getting caught up on your blog, jenni <3 all of your solitude and books and yummy feasts make me a little bit envious, i must admit ;) i wish life ould slow down in similar ways around here, from time to time ;) anyway, totally off-topic, but just in case you *don't* read this hilarious blog, i just had to bring this recent entry to your attention (LOL): http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2009/02/24/122-moleskine-notebooks/

jenni said...

B, we do plan to homeschool one day, and I was already thinking The Christian Almanac would come in handy. :)

Hey, Lauren! I do read that blog sometimes and the Moleskine entry IS funny! I'm glad to see that you're blogging again - I was afraid you had stopped...