Friday, February 08, 2013

Valentine's Day for Bibliophiles

I just ordered 6 books from Barnes and, courtesy of my lovely husband, Jim.
He knows that the way to my heart isn't through dying flowers or chocolates that upset my Crohn's Disease. He is well aware of my passion for books and reading. So he hugged me and said "You're worth it!" Ahh, now that's true love!

So I bought The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister, whose charming personality and luscious prose remind me of a female version of John Updike
SECRET by Marie Adeline
Firebird by Susana Kearsley
Lets Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip
Bablyon Confidential by Claudia Christian, which I will note is a replacement volume to the one that was stolen by some postal employee after it had been signed by Ms Christian and was being mailed back to me.
There are, of course, 11 more books on my wish list queue that are going to have to wait for another holiday or windfall to be bought, but I don't care, as of now, I have a big box of books on the way, and there is nothing that lifts my heart higher than the anticipation of opening a box of new books.
Sigh. How romantic!

This is from Shelf Awareness, which tells me that I am not the only bibliophile who finds books, and booksellers, ever so sexy!

Robert Gray: 'Dancing in the Bookstore' on Valentine's Day

People fall in love with books. People fall in love with bookstores.
People fall in love with other people in bookstores. People even fall in
love with booksellers.

"With Valentine's Day around the corner, this is the question that is
naturally on every book lover's mind: When I go into my local bookstore,
am I allowed to start flirting with the staff?" Sarah Rettger wrote on
her blog Archimedes Forgets
Her entertaining reply included this pointed summary: "Short version: Of
course!... Longer version: As long as you're not stupid about it."

When I consider Valentine's Day, which is even now circling to land with
its stubby Cupid wings, I can't help but think of books. It's just my
nature. I love books. I love bookstores. I even fell in love with my
wife in a bookstore. For the record, she was also a bookseller at the

Forget greeting cards and roses and candy (Well, don't forget them.
Booksellers love sideline sales, too). Giving the right books as gifts
may be the real key to long-term commitment between readers. And
Valentine's Day can turn even the most cynical bookseller into a
relationship counselor, especially for those last minute "oh no I almost
forgot" shoppers.

During the past week, I've been monitoring bookstore love notes in the
form of e-newsletters. Here's just a tiny sampling of the indie love
happening out there as the big day approaches:

Brookline Booksmith, Brookline,
Mass.: "Folks, let's talk about something serious for a minute. I'm
going to get right to it. In order for you to give flowers to your
sweetie on Valentine's Day.... you first have to kill the flowers. Sever
them in the prime of their brief, radiant life. Or worse, hire some
mercenary floral assassin to do the dirty work for you. What sort of
monster have you become? You'll never be able to wash their chlorophyll
off your hands. Need an alternative to veg-icide? Why not save the roses
and give your loved one the gift of reading?"

Common Good Books , St. Paul, Minn.:

Dear Reader,
How do we love thee? Let us count the ways:
1. Inspired Events!
2. Celebrated Books!
3. Chocolate!
Alright, look, so I can't promise you chocolate. But the coffee shop's
next door.

Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.:
"We're not doing any official Valentine's Day events at Greenlight this
year--but in a way, every event is our way of saying we love you. This
month we've got electrifying poetry, moving and original fiction, vegan
cookery (with tasty samples!), top drawer comedy and a celebration of
Black History Month. What's not to love?"

Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich,
Mass.: "Do you remember the first book you read that made you fall in
love with reading? The one that whisked you away to a foreign land or
time, made you swoon, had you laughing or crying out loud, or changed
your opinion.... The instant someone recommends a book that falls
outside your comfort zone, and you accept the challenge to read it, that
is when you know you have fallen in love with books. We invite you to
share your love story with books on our Facebook page
How did your story begin? Maybe you can inspire others to fall in love
with a book!"

I'd already decided to write about Valentine's Day when a package
arrived from BooksActually, an
indie bookstore I love (though, regrettably, have never visited) in
Singapore. I wrote about this wonderful bookshop
some time
ago and have remained in contact.

Occasionally, BooksActually sends me recent titles published by their
Math Paper Press These
books, currently not distributed in the U.S., are beautifully designed
and have opened up a new literary world to me as a reader. The latest
gift box included Transparent Strangers by Loh Guan Liang, whose poem
"Dancing in the Bookstore" ends with the following lines, which seem to
perfectly complement a holiday celebrating love and--for all of us--the
irresistible, seductive power of words:

How this gathering has become
a communal feasting of glances, books
changing hands, magazines flipping,
jumping, exchanging partners
as they twirl us round the shelves.
Take this waltz, this everyday waltz
with its narrow waist in your hand.

Happy Valentine's Day, book people.--Robert Gray

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