Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Sometimes you plan a trip to the public library after work, but when you come home you find that the window blinds that you ordered for your house have arrived and your husband gets his power drill out and you get excited about blinds going up and before you know it, it's too late for the library. The good news is that we now have blinds in our bedroom and bathroom so we can take showers without the unsettling feeling that someone is probably watching. The sadder news is that my constant efforts to get to the library don't see much success. It may have something to do with the antsiness, but I'm in the mood for a good long book that will hold my mind captive for a time. I've been craving that feeling of being in the middle of a great book - that feeling where even though you break away for a moment, you belong to another world, and you feel feverish to get back to it. I read Steinbeck's East of Eden when I was in highschool and I remember it being that type of a story that moved and pulled the reader so much that you felt grateful to be privy to it, but other than that, the memory of why I liked it was faint, so I decided I should re-read it. Surprised to find that I didn't own a copy, I marched over to Chop Suey - a small bookstore with new and used books in Carytown - and found a used copy for $2.85. I also picked up Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, because it was thick, and it was about time I read Franzen.

I am so easily charmed by small bookstores, enough that I feel justified in wanting to stay there for hours and compelled to ask strangers about their favorite books. Also, I wanted to take photos of its nooks and crannies because it was raining and grey outside and I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a small and quirky bookstore on a rainy know, for posterity. Bookstores with used books in particular - they steal my heart.  If my feet weren't feeling like they would blow up to the size of boats from the swelling, I would have meandered through, reading every single title. On their second floor, they also had a small room in the back that was empty of books but had small black and white photos hanging on its walls, photographed by Johnny Barton. Something about the stillness of the room, the gray outdoors and the simple stark prints, made the room feel like a chapel. The low, almost non-existent lighting, purposed or not, was perfect.  The photos were almost creepy, but deliciously so. It always gets my attention when black and white photos are done in this way - the photographer is relentless about what they want you to see, and you find yourself staring at the photo for longer than you want to. I would make another visit just to look at those photos again.


Note: I WILL make a trip to the library at some point and will check out some of these books that have been recommended to me recently: Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, books by Philipa Gregory, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, and Marilynne Robison’s Gilead.  Do let me know if you have any more book recommendations.


  1. i used to spend so much time they still have the cat?

  2. I love the book store, especially wood floor of it with bookshelf. I wish we could read those books after the baby gets sleep in a rocking chair.