Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Turning the pages
I am proud to be a bibliophile. Take me to a bookstore, let me loose, and I'm happy. Over the years I've acquired a lot of books, most of which I've kept. None of which have a suitable home. We have bookcases in the living room, hall, office, and spare room and we still have books all over the floor. There are many books that I know I will never read again and yet I cannot bring myself to sell or give them away. And then there are those old friends that I can read over and over and still enjoy myself -- whether I read the book from cover to cover to just a few pages.

In my mythical dream house I have a full English library. I don't mean a library full of English books, but a library such as you see in old movies set in English manor houses. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lining all four walls. A fireplace. Two comfy chairs and some good lighting. And, of course, one of the bookcases slides open to reveal the secret passage to my bedroom. Hey, I said it was mythical.

But how wonderful it would be to have such a room. We're currently working on turning the spare room into a music office for Husband to store his thousands of jazz CDs and give him a place to do his freelance writing. And we'll probably add another bookcase because the piles on the floor are really getting ridiculous. But it's not quite the same as, say, Henry Higgans's wonderful library in My Fair Lady.

The sad thing is that I cannot stop wanting more books. I'm being good now because we're living on one income and we need to watch expenses, but it seems that every week I read about a new book that I must have. Yes, we have a good local library, but there's something about owning your own copy that makes you feel indulgent. At least it makes me feel that way.

I don't know what I'd do without books. I spend time reading every day and it's a huge pleasure for me. Luckily Husband feels the same. He's even more hardcore than I, in some ways. The last time we were in Hawaii I read a cheesy (but very enjoyable) Nora Roberts romance and he read Don Quixote. The time before that he read Moby Dick. He loved them both. I no longer read the classics as I should (though in my defense I may say that I've read most of the classic canon of literature). But he can happily lose himself in a 400-page novel and not even realize that 5-hours has passed. That's actually one of the things I love about him.

It's been a long time since I was able to indulge in a good bookstore romp. When I start working again I think I'll take my first paycheck and treat myself. But until then I'm wading through my to-be-read pile (thankfully tall enough to get me through my unemployment), make lists of books that I want, and pick up old favorites now and then to remind myself that I am lucky enough to be surrounded by the luxury of books.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The return of At the Cafe Bohemian
It feels like months since I've been on the air. Tonight marks the return of my world music show, At the Cafe Bohemian, on KZSU, Stanford. I'm really looking forward to being back on. I've missed it. I'm torn between doing an all new music show or pulling old favorites. Either way, I invite you turn in, either on the radio, the internet, on through iTunes. It'll be a grand night for music, I guarantee it.

So I'm currently slogging through this month's book group selection, The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos. With apologies to the Lurker (who chose it), I really could not care less. It's one of those books I have to force myself to pick up. What makes it worse is that I'm also reading a book that I'm enjoying greatly (The Unburied by Charles Palliser). It's very difficult to put that down to pick up something that I find, quite frankly, dull. The book got rave reviews, and I usually enjoy mysteries, but this one just took so damned long to get to the actual crime that I just lost interest. Plus there are a lot of characters that I don't like but whom I know extremely well (perhaps better than I'd like). This is one book big on character development and small on anything actually happening.

I feel sorry for my beloved friend, The Foreigner, who will be joining our book group for the first time. Trust me, it'll get better! Honest! However I still look forward to next Monday when our book group meets -- it truly is one of the highlights of my month. Great friends, interesting conversation (often more interesting than the actual book), it's a total joy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Behold the kitten cuddler
Starting next week I am finally going to put my free time to use volunteering at the Peninsula Humane Society. I'll be working in the kitten nursery helping to care for the dozens of abandoned and unwanted kittens that the PHS takes in every breeding season. I can't wait. I'm just afraid I'm going to want to adopt all of them.

The PHS is where we got Cipher, the World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if you Don't Agree (tm), so I have a strong reason to feel grateful to them. Plus it'll make me so happy to be doing something worthwhile. Horray for kittens!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The face that launched a thousand books
Check out the Everywhere Girl. From the gloriously urbane Idee blog, it's a fascinating look at how one woman, and one photo, can appear everywhere when you're not looking...