Bookman and I were out last night learning how to fix a flat tire on our bikes. The weather was nice enough and it is light late enough that we were able to ride over to the bike shop. We were the only two people there for the class which was kind of nice actually. Since it was such a lovely evening we had the class outside behind the shop. The instructor and I both turned out to be seasonal allergy sufferers so we had a bonding moment over that. If you don’t have seasonal allergies, you have no idea what a mixed blessing spring is especially after the long cold winters we have in Minnesota.

The class was conducted as if we were roadside, out riding and, oh no! flat tire! The hardest part about the whole thing for me was opening the quick release lever on my back wheel. Quick release my ass. The second hardest thing was getting enough air in my tire. My road bike tire is supposed to be up to 120psi and at 90 I had to start leaning my weight into the pump handle to force the air in. At 100 I was practically doing a handstand on the pump. At 110, the handle would not budge. But apparently close enough is good enough, which is a relief. After the class we got a discount on patch kits and a little pump that attaches to the bike. I feel so prepared for long distance rides now!

But you don’t care about that, you want to know about books. Well, another book arrived for me at the library because even when I keep my hold request queue at five or less, when it rains it pours. Add to my reading pile When books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win WWII by Molly Guptill Manning. It recounts the campaign (begun by librarians!) to send free books to American troops. Over a million paperback books were sent to troops. Should be an interesting piece of history.

Also unexpectedly arriving was Missing Person by Patrick Modiano. It’s a slim book, but something tells me it is not going to be a fast read.

Since this left only one book in my hold queue, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, and that one is on order and not at the library for lending yet, I figured it was okay to add two more books to my hold queue.

So I added The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits. The library has this one on order too so it might be a little while before I get it. After reading old diaries from when she was younger and realizing she was not how she remembered herself and her diaries were all about worries over grades and boys and being popular, Julavits decides to try again and see if she can write a diary of her current life that is what she wished her old diaries were like.

The other book I added is Ongoingness: The End of a Diary by Sarah Manguso. Two new books about diaries. Is this going to be the start of a trend? This one has been published and I am 15th in the queue. The odds are good that it and the Julavits will both be mine at the same time because that’s the way these things work. Ongoingness is a book-length essay about the diary Manguso has kept for 25 years and continues to keep. It is about why she started and how it has become a kind of spiritual practice.

As someone who has been keeping a diary since the age of eleven, I always find books about diaries fascinating. It is such a personal, private thing that having a glimpse into the diary-keeping of other people is a special kind of thrill.

Lunch time reading spot

Lunch time reading spot

Today was a beautiful, warm day in spite of the gusty wind. It is early enough in spring that high winds on an otherwise pleasant day are not enough to keep me indoors so I went outside and sat on a bench in the law school courtyard. There are a couple of these benches in the courtyard and when the weather is fine from now until it is too cold in the fall, I spend my lunch breaks during the week sitting on one of them and reading while I eat. Sometimes I share bits of bread from my sandwich with the birds. One year there were baby rabbits I would share carrot sticks with. It’s a generally quiet place with the hum of downtown Minneapolis serving as white noise in the background. And sometimes there are other people out enjoying the weather and a quiet read too. Today I was the only one. Bliss.