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Pickle Me This

July 4, 2011

The books keep coming.

In theory, I am making excellent progress at moving through my books-to-be-read shelf. I’m just about finished the Ds, having completing Joan Didion’s Salvatore this afternoon (and it’s so good. I don’t suppose anyone who ever invaded Iraq ever read it). But the problem is that the books keep coming faster than I can read them. And I’m not even talking about the new books I buy (which, according to my unstraightforward filing system, reside on another shelf altogether). It’s the books that keep finding their way into my life, and because they can be had for a quarter, or a loonie, or because they’re even free, I can’t help but bring them home with me.

Like tonight, when we walked past BMV and I found these two gems in the bargain bin. (I would also go on to find five bummis wraps outside someone’s house, which is very good, because the velcro is all shot in ours.) The one on the bottom is The Penguin Classic Baby Name Book. I am not pregnant, as ever, but the book is irresistible– conventional baby name book structure, except it lists which characters in literature have had these names, which include Bradamante and Britomart. The entry for Harriet begins, “Used by authors almost exclusively for secondary characters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries…” Will make for some fascinating thumbing, I think. And if I ever have another daughter, I can name her Cunegonde.

The other book is Can Any Mother Help Me? about a group of English women who set up a writing co-op in the 1930s through which to take stock of their domestic lives. I got it for a dollar, and it’s a gorgeous hardback, pristine, with the loveliest endpapers, and I think I’m really going to enjoy it. As much as I’m going to enjoy Barbara Gowdy’s Fallen Angels, which I found on a curb last week, Lorna Jackson’s A Game to Play on the Tracks, which I bought as a library discard for a quarter, The Eatons by Rod McQueen, which was also found curbside, and Olive Kittridge, by Elizabeth Stout, which I bought at a yard sale for a quarter.

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