My Bookman and I have been suffering from the winter blahs so he and I made it a point to do a few things this weekend to lift our blues. Friday night we thought we had a ballroom dance lesson and appeared promptly for it, wondering why there didn’t seem to be as many people at the studio as there usually are, in fact, the place was practically empty. When we got inside we were asked if we had come for salsa. Uh, no, we came for our usual lesson. At which point apologies began flying. Our teacher is currently in Cancun on the studio’s annual dance cruise. They had told us about it back in early January but we had completely forgotten. What creatures of habit we are.

Conveniently, our favorite Half Price Books store is nearby and we had put a bag of books to sell in the car on the off chance we felt like stopping after our dance lesson. There being no dance lesson at all, it was a no brainer that the evening was to be spent at HPB. They gave us a good price for our books this time and a 10% off our next purchase coupon. Bookman and I went off in different directions to begin the browsing. Inevitably we meet up downstairs in the fiction where we yell across the shelves at each other, “Hey did you see this one?” or “Do we have this already?”

After we are browsed out we spread our books out to see what we have. Sometimes we’ll grab a book that looks interesting and that we want if nothing else better is found. So we look the books over and decide which ones we want to take home. Then we add up the total. We always try to stay within the amount that we got as a credit for selling books we didn’t want so depending on the total we may decide a book or two doesn’t make the cut after all. Finally, we head to the cash register and depending on our success we either complain as we walk out to the car or chatter excitedly. This time we got to chatter excitedly. Here’s what I brought home:

  • Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis. The back cover describes the book as “Fifty-seven rule-breaking short stories, in which Lydia Davis proposes a clear account of the sexual act, rides the bus, gets lost in a foreign city, and addresses common anxieties regarding etiquette, work, taste, the fourth grade, death, and conversation.” When I opened the book up, this is the story I read called “Tropical Storm” : “Like a tropical storm,/ I, too, may one day become ‘better organized.’ ” How could I resist this book?
  • The Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt. I’ve never read her but she appears with general good reviews on blogs and Verbivore recently read and loved this book so when I saw a like-new copy I couldn’t resist.
  • After Dark by Haruki Murakami. The back of the book says it is “a gripping novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the hours between midnight and dawn.” I prefer to be asleep during those hours and can’t imagine why anyone would be awake if they didn’t have to be. And because it is Murakami it will probably be delightfully surreal too.
  • The Wise Virgins by Leonard Wolf. I always forget that Leonard was a writer too. I’ve never read anything of his. This is his second novel and it was published two years after he married Virginia. There are some rather autobiographical elements in it that distressed the Woolf family. Virginia also had her worst breakdown two weeks after reading it (there is probably no connection making that just a bit of salacious gossip). Hopefully my curiosity will keep this one from disappearing into the unread books piles.
  • My Bookman scored some books too but one he and I will both enjoy is a QPB 3-in-one Angela Carter containing The Magic Toyshop, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman and Wise Children. I think I have read Wise Children before but I know I haven’t read the other two so this should be fun.

That was our book shopping. Saturday night we watched the newest movie incarnation of Hairspray. It is so relentlessly chipper that you can’t help but feel better afterwards.

Today, ah today, we treated ourselves to a delicious breakfast at our favorite veg restaurant. Afterwards we went to Como Park Conservatory for some green therapy. The temperature outside was about 23 degrees F and inside a humid 72. It was heavenly. We’d walk a little, look a little, and sit down on a bench and sigh in happiness. At one point we were sitting on a bench by a little fountain and both of us wished we could curl up and take a nap. We satisfied ourselves by leaning against each other and drowsily watching the amateur photographers take pictures of the fountain. It was just the thing to help our winter blues.

For the rest of the day we have both felt really good and happy. And even when it started snowing we weren’t bothered. Now if we can only hold onto that until about the middle of April!