Off Topic: Books

livingWell, the remodeling continues. The front yard people have found the retaining walls need to be replaced and have been jackhammering the old one out (If it was falling apart why is it so hard to take down?) Now I heard they want to do some more jackhammering in the garage and by the patio. I guess these guys never met a piece of cement they didn’t want to take a jackhammer to. There are also the internecine squabbles between the plumber people, the painter people and the landscapers, as well as some of the neighbors. It seems that they all at one point read a few too many “Tales of the City” books and decided that they were just as colorful and “interesting” as the people in the series, and therefore if there isn’t any drama really going on, they were darned well going to put a shoulder to the old grindstone and create some. Which is apparently far more interesting than putting said shoulder to the grindstone that would give me a front yard that didn’t look like a mud hole..

Well since I have not been able to really steal away much fro sniffle (I am going to ScentBar for the Valentine’s Day thing if it kills me) I have been just spending my time gritting my teeth and reading. (TV is impossible when you get an urgent text just as Judge Judy is about to kick some plaintiff a$$..)

I am big on books and always have been. If I don’t buy it new I am apt to buy it used; there is a place in my hood that carries “disposable reading:” Old hardcovers that have been donated that they sell for a buck. Surprisingly they don’t seem to care that some of what they sell is worth more that that one buck; I have picked up a few first editions and on one memorable occasion a first edition signed by the author and inscribed to Joan Rivers (clearly dropped off in a home clean-out after her death.)

I will also admit to doing a complete 180 on the subject of e-books. I have and use the Kindle app on my iPad and my local library will allow you to check out titles for two weeks on your device. The latter is cool, but you’d better make sure to read the thing before it’s “due” because at 12;01AM on the due date it gets sucked back into the ether. My Kindle epiphany occurred a few years ago when it was howling rain out, cold and I had the flu. I put myself under about three blankets, had a thermos of herb tea steaming on my night table and decided to read “Mapp & Lucia” in the omnibus edition I purchased in the 80’s. I love books, mind you: I love the feel of the paper, flipping the pages, even the smell of them. But parking an edition that size at that time felt like I had decided it would be a fine idea to park a Buick on my chest. Kindle for iPad is light as a feather comparatively.

Of course, Kindle can never take the place of large scale art books. I love art and architecture and have been the lucky recipient of at least a couple: one gargantuan copy of the collected works of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Case Study Houses and one on the Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills. The three of these are indeed coffee table books: add legs and you would have furniture. My most recent purchase is a new book by a friend about the Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills, which celebrates the Mid-Century wackiness of the newest part of BH and all of it’s rocket-age rat pack glory.

Not that all I have is so very high-brow; I admit to having a Kindle affair with celeb bios, which can be a great way to whittle the time away. After all, when you’re reading about Bette and Joan feuding, the plumber and the plasterer nearly coming to a slap-fest over parking rather pales doesn’t it?

Okay, what are you reading these days? Kindle: Yay nor nay? I am also assuming that I am not the only one looking forward the premiere of Feud next month with Susan Sarandon as Bette and Jessica Lange as Joan? Do tell all in the comments..

Image of my living room (and some if not nearly all of my books) from my iPhone.

  • Kindle = YAY!
    Still love my paper books too though.
    Portia xx

  • HeidiC says:

    I saw a preview for Feud and about lost my mind — I love everything about this! I’m reading a lot of different stuff right now. I owe two poetry book reviews, so I need to finish those, but they’re fantastic and a pleasure — I just need to find smart things to say about them. I got the Atlas Obscura book for Christmas, and I’m enjoying flipping through that — reminds me of my obsession with those Time/Life Mysteries of the Unexplained books when I was a kid — a wonderful compendium of the bizarre. And I’m obsessed with Helen MacDonald’s H Is For Hawk right now.

  • ElizabethC says:

    Love Mapp and Lucia!!!!! Every room in our house is full of books (the collector urge doesn’t just stop with perfumes!). One of our favorite places in Seattle is the Seattle Mystery bookshop – AMAZING place. We try to be surrounded by books, perfume, music, art and great food – makes for a good life 🙂

  • Barbara B says:

    Used to love the “Tales of the City” books. Remember watching a televised version with Olympia Dukakis and a very lovely young Laura Linney.
    Currently reading Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and Am I Alone Here? by Peter Orner, which is a book about reading books lol.
    Won a Kindle from my library’s summer reading program last summer. Still love print.

  • rickyrebarco says:

    There is a Kindle borrowing thing you can get in on where you check out Kindle books for free and return them to get more. I’ve read a bunch of books for free that way. I recommend highly “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. Amazing book!

  • Marilee says:

    Most of the time I read library books on my iPad Kindle app. One of the things we really need to do to our home is add more bookshelves! I have a small stack of actual books waiting to be read, but I find myself whipping the iPad out in waiting rooms and when catching a quick bite to eat by myself, so there is always something going on there. I just finished “When Breath Becomes Air”, and starting in on C. S. Lewis’s space trilogy.

  • MrsDalloway says:

    Just finished Good Behaviour by Molly Keane – brilliant book, very poignant and clever. It was shortlisted for the Booker in 1981ish.

    I do love my Kindle too. My husband won’t have one and hoards books, which drives me a bit mad. We have miles of shelves but they’ve long outstripped them.