Regulars around here know how I feel about buying hard-cover books. Spending fifty, forty, even thirty dollars for a book is a galling idea to me. That there are children who won't be able to read the new Harry Potter when it comes out because it's too expensive is obscene. Owning books should not be limited to the financially comfortable. Reading should not be an elitist activity.
That being said however, I was feeling particularly self-destructive last week, and there really is such a thing as retail therapy. Unwilling to buy clothes in sizes I dislike, and not needing so much love that I was forced to buy food, I went into a bookstore to ease my fidgets. Who cares about bloody money and beliefs and JK Rowling's personal fortune, I thought, skipping into moral ruination. Ten minutes and sixty dollars later, I was the proud, though slightly light-headed owner of two brand new books. Two. God help me. If I spend that much in a book store, it's after a lot of careful deliberation and much hunting, for at least twice as many books. If I get an envelope in the mail that has an untouched stamp on it, I save the stamp! I'm that cheap! Sixty bucks on only two books is pure madness for me!
However... however... they're damn good books (thank God). Long Way Round is keeping me sufficiently amused, and of course, there's Mr. McGregor. (Hello Ewan. Call me, Ewan. Love me. Remember fondly, that night in... ah, another tale for another day.)
The real gem however, is this great find. Pearls in Vinegar, by Heather Mallick, left me inspired, and full of energy and, at the same time, slack-jawed and a little bit stupid. She's staunch about so much that I want to be staunch about. She upholds personal rules and standards much in the way I want to have the strength to, but rarely do because I let myself be outwitted, because I take the easy way out, because I always think it's not worth the price of conflict. She has tiny obsessive compulsions that make total sense to me.
She's a little bit scary, Ms. Mallick, though not as harsh as she admits she could have been. To paraphrase her a little, she writes what she sees and about what she sees. The thing that gets me is that she does it in a fashion that leaves you absolutely secure in the fact that she’s being as honest as she knows how, from the first page to the last.
So cool. I wish I had the courage to do that so consistently.
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