I went to Barnes and Noble this morning, intent on replacing books I had lost in the New Year’s Eve flood. Note that these were books I had read and reread, worn paperbacks that I had loved fiercely, with the passion one reserves for books that come along at the right time and place in your life or which for some reason echo in your soul. Two of them were by Terry Pratchett (I am planning a long post about Sir Terry, but I was sick during the few days around when he died, and so I figure that there is no rush on it), Thud! and my second favorite Pratchett, Thief of Time. (My favorite Pratchett, Night Watch, was safely placed on my bedstead.) The other was Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which was not lost to the flood but had bent lent to someone and not returned.
Does anyone else find this weird?
Books are meant to be held in the hand, cried over, have ketchup spilled on (but not dog-eared — that ruins the pages) and loved like the Velveteen Rabbit until they become real. And, as the story goes, once a thing is real is can never be not real.
I did buy new books, as well, because to go into a bookstore and come out with only books you’ve read before constitutes an embarrassing lack of initiative. True, one of the books was another Pratchett, Mort, about one of the best Discworld characters, DEATH, and his apprentice. Reading a Discworld book that I had never read before (there are over thirty in series, and I have read about half of them, mostly the later ones and the books involving the City Watch) seemed fitting, considering I spent last weekend rereading Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, and Night Watch. (I had read Jingo last month, so had felt no real call to reread it again so soon.) I would have reread Thud! and Thief of Time as well, had I had the books at hand.
I also bought an Elmore Leonard novel, Riding the Rap. I have heard interviews with Leonard, who always seemed like a gruff and slightly crazy guy. The book takes place in Florida, and while I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the criminals Raylan Givens deals with, Leonard has got the atmosphere of South Florida down pat. I am looking forward not just to finishing this one, but going on and reading other in his Raylan Givens series.
Oddly enough, I have not read any nonfiction since I finished The Good Nurse in February. I am remedying that by starting to reread The Disappearing Spoon: Tales of Love, Madness, and the History of the World told through the Periodic Table. I am embracing my inner nerd. (The other night, a colleague asked “Stereotypically, I have to ask, have you caught up on Game of Thrones?” After answering that I didn’t watch the series, I thought…stereotypically? What? He explained “I don’t want to say you’re a nerd but…” “…I’m a nerd.” “Yeah.”)
I am still waiting, along with the rest of the world, for Hilary Mantel to finish up the third volume in the Wolf Hall trilogy. The television show will be wonderful, I am sure, but nothing compares to reading her work. (Speaking of television, specifically British television, BBCAmerica will soon be showing the third season of Ripper Street. Yes, I like grisly crime dramas, even when they are set in 19th century London.)
What are you reading?