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September 25, 2015

A Veritable Marathon

CPwvy-eUAAExzgjThis morning I had the pleasure of dropping my children off at their respective schools, and then heading over to Victoria College to pre-drink for the book sale which started at 10am. By which I mean that I ordered a chocolate croissant and a cup of tea at Ned’s Cafe, and indulged in all of it—the food, the time, the solitude, the book sale anticipation. Thinking also about the extraordinary kindness with which people have responded to my previous blog post, and how it has caused all kinds of people special to me but far flung to get in touch after ages, and the whole thing has all been wonderfully buoying. I wasn’t expecting that. I just needed to get the words out, all 2000 of them, which took and hour and a half the other night, but it was time well spent, I can now say. As was this morning, the pleasure of my own company. I have adjusted extraordinarily well to having my mornings free (of the children, I mean; my mornings are generally full of work—I worked extra hard this week so that today I wouldn’t have to). The whole arrangement is so good, I feel like it should be illegal.

And the book sale? (BTW, this year they have a blog!) It was fantastic, and this is the first time I’ve not had to browse while toting a screaming baby. (Last year, whenever I turned a corner, someone would look up and say, “Oh, that was your baby crying.”) I’d intended to buy very few books, but it turns out that’s far simpler to accomplish when one is doing the toting a screaming baby thing. This year, alone, I managed to put down far more books that I picked up, but still came away with a sizeable pile, although nothing on years past. Complete Chronicles of Narnia—we’re halfway through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe now, and we’re loving it. (Stuart and I, growing up on different continents, were both traumatized by the cartoon film version of this book as children, so have never really read the books.) So we look forward to reading the other books in the series. And also The Borrowers, and Margaret Laurence’s The Olden Days Coat to add to our Christmas Book library.

I picked up Carol Shields: The Art of a Writing Life, which I read about ten years ago but would like to read again. Marilynne Robinson’s When I Was a Child I Read Books, because Kate Sutherland handed it to me, and I generally follow her advice on most things. The Unreluctant Years: A Critical Approach to Children’s Literature, by Lillian H. Smith, famous Toronto children’s librarian who now has a library in her name. Published in the 1950s, I’m interested to see how this reads now—particularly now since I am an official children’s literature expert myself.

And finally, the novels. I walked around in the fiction section upstairs and was at one point holding a stack of ten books, which is lunacy because I have so many books to read already, I do not need to be gathering more. So I whittled my pile down to The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald, and God On the Rocks, by Jane Gardam, both is excellent condition, and I feel very good about my choices.

Even with the tea and croissant, however, I find myself exhausted by the whole experience. One who has never lived it could not imagine how tiring it is to browse for books for two hours, pressure on the back, the shoulders, all that standing. Not to mention fighting for space with other browsers, elbow weaponry. Carrying the books around in the meantime. It’s a veritable marathon.

Thankfully I am an athlete in my prime.

One thought on “A Veritable Marathon”

  1. Joyce Campbell says:

    Kerry — I read Lillian Smith’s book when I was doing a series of Kiddies Lit. Courses at the Library School at UWO (when Colin was inLaw School). I can’t remember much about it. I’ll be waiting for your report.

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