Several random book-related thoughts that have ties to the holiday season.
While Somebody Waits: A Review
I just finished reading Margaret Kaufman's Where Somebody Waits sent to me courtesy of Paul Dry Books. The novel centers around the life of Ruby Davidson who marries an older Jewish man in a small Arkansas town shortly after the end of World War II. Not only is she different from regular folk with her masses of auburn hair and wildly painted nails, Ruby has underlying passion for love and life. Many in her family find Ruby intimidating, but her adoring nieces find Ruby exhilarating. In each chapter a different character gives a perspective on Ruby's life. This is not an unusual plot technique, but Kaufman has executed her plan with skill and her rich prose gets to heart of the matter, without becoming overwrought.
Though the novel's time line spans about sixty years, it's a pocket sized, finely printed book only about 200 pages in length. (You don't see much of that fine printing anymore really). I especially appreciated the selection of cover art by Karen Horton, which captured one of the themes of Ruby's life. “Falling in love is like being suspended on top of the world in that Ferris wheel when the operator has stopped to let someone else on,” explains Ruby to her nieces, “but you're at the top so you can't tell, and you don't care whether anyone down there is getting on or off. There's just you and him.”
Bookshopper Blog sponsor Eighth Day Books in Wichita remembered that the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated was also the day C.S. Lewis died (Aldous Huxley died on November 22, 1963 too). Eighth Day posted a reminder that Cambridge University Press has just published a new collection of Lewis' writings Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews. Not a bad gift idea.
Notebooks and Journals
One of my Christmas wishes has been already been fulfilled by Josh Niesse of Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia. At last September's Georgia Antiquarian Book Association Festival, I talked to Josh about possibly making me some special notebooks since he sells journals made with covers from discarded books. I like long thin notebooks that fit easily into your back pocket. I carry them around with me as a combo To-Do List and Observational Note taking (e.g. The MARTA book club). Because of the odd size, they are much easier to keep track of than a note pad or a phone. I felt guilty bugging him about this, but then he surprised me and made me several prototypes, which I bought. There is now hope that I can organize myself and keep track of my thoughts a little better in 2014.
Underground Books sells a lot of book-related items online suitable for the bibliophile or that someone on your gift list that needs to pull it together.