If A Book Read Equaled A Passport Stamp, I Would Buy Passports In Bulk

This past weekend was spent with a group of some of my favorite people, who also happen to be part bookworm. We had our first bookclub sleepover and it was so fun. Our August book was Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Most everyone had the chance to read it and it was almost unanimously loved.

It was nice to know that we had more time to just sit and talk. The weather couldn’t have been better and we sat outside for most of Saturday. The food and drinks were delicious and my dear, sweet friend hosted us all at her beautiful lake house. We fittingly watched the movie Bookclub, some of us had seen it, others had not. All the way around that movie is the best, it makes me excited to be sixty. I just love Diane Keaton! Seriously, could the weekend have been any better?

After lots of coffee, blueberry muffins, sausage balls and more conversation, we all began to pack up our bags Sunday morning to head back to our various homes.

A few of us rode together and on the way back we were talking some more. I mentioned how, as much as I like to travel (referring to my recent vacation), I have found myself hating how much work it is to plan and actually go on a trip. Then, on top of all of the work that precedes a trip, there’s so much to do afterwards, not to mention the sad feeling that it’s over. And, insult to injury: we paid a bunch of money to do all of this! I find myself thinking more and more about the whole process and just how much I just don’t like it. Saying all this led my friend to say while we were driving home, “That’s the great thing about books, you don’t have to leave your home to go somewhere. And people who don’t read just don’t understand how true this really is.” These may have not been Jennifer’s exact words, because I wasn’t recording our conversation-but it was the gist. If you read this Jennifer, please correct me in the comments if you disagree 🙂

When I look at all of the books on my shelves, each one represents somewhere to go. I’ve spoke it this before and readers know this to be true, so I know I don’t have to convince you. There are more trips waiting to be taken sitting on bookshelves than I could ever manage out globetrotting this world. Something reading and taking physical trips do have in common is time. Just like going somewhere on a plane or in car takes hours, so does reading. Us readers value our precious reading time and look forward to it in many of the same ways someone preparing for a trip does.

I’ve always been somewhat of a homebody. This fact only becomes more concrete every year. Let me reiterate, I do like going places, but I like being at home just as much, if not more. Reading broadens the mind as you all know, and my mind is huge. I’m not talking smarts necessarily, but the size in reference to my imagination. If there’s a border to another place, I cross it without thought. If going back in time, or even to the future is on the agenda, I’m game-and most likely I have my pj’s or crappy stretched out yoga pants on. I don’t need a stamp on my passport (which I don’t have, but I do really plan to get) to sit in an outdoor cafe in Paris. I’ve been there my friends, at least in my mind, which is more vivid than any trip I have or ever will take. So take that to the bank, non-readers. You just don’t understand and maybe like the quote says, ” If you don’t like reading, you just haven’t found the right book.”

Sincerely,

tmc

PS. If you need me, I’ll either be in the 1950s suburbia, Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman or out west in Texas with some cowboys, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”

– Logan Pearsall Smith

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Not Lost, But Definitely Found – Summer Book Shop Tour 2019 = Success

I found it.

My Summer 2019 Book Shop Tour consisting of one book shop is complete.

• Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC •

It’s a great shop located in the historic shopping section nestled between other unique (and some not unique- Banana Republic and Rack Room Shoes, I’m talking to you) spots on King St. There are metered spaces to park up and down the street, so I was able to park right in front.

It was smaller than I had hoped, but really unless it is the size of a Barnes & Noble or McKay’s Used Books, it will always be too small in my opinion. Upon walking in, along with new releases and bestsellers, local authors and authors who write about SC were also prominently displayed with pictures of them visiting BBB. Authors like Pat Conroy, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Margaret Bradham Thornton are favorites of mine who were front and center.

There’s just something about beautiful stacks of books. I want to buy them all. If you haven’t read these authors, here are my top recommendations from each:

Pat Conroy:

-Beach Music

-Prince of Tides

-South of Broad

Conroy is a true artist. His words paint SC vividly and allow you to feel right at home in the palmetto state. His stories will catch your heart and his characters stay with you like dear friends, especially the first two. I don’t usually reread, but Beach Music has been calling me back for sometime. Conroy passed away in 2016.

Dorothea Benton Frank:

-Sullivan’s Island

-Return to Sullivan’s Island

-Same Beach, Next Year

Her books are beach reads with the best of them. Or- pick one up in the heart of winter to warm your soul and remind you of the sunny days that lie ahead.

Margaret Bradham Thornton:

-Charleston

-The Theory of Love

Wonderful love stories. No cheesiness, but rather depth and beauty that is a little breathtaking, especially TTOL. That is not meant to be a slight on Charleston, I like them equally.

BBB has both new, used, and some rare books. There is also a small staff-selection section up front. Seeing what books the staff selects not only introduces me to great new books, it also shows me that I am not alone in my bookworm tendencies. Recommending books (when asked) is something I love to do. Clarice Lispector was among the recs- so I know there is good taste floating around amongst the staff in BBB.

Something I do when I fly (there’s usually a cool airport book shop, like in Austin, TX) or go somewhere like an independent book store is make a purchase of a new book, meaning a book at full cover price. It doesn’t happen often, so it’s always fun when I get the chance. Since I’m such a cheapo, or shall I say frugal (because it doesn’t sound as hideous), buying a book at full price feels quite indulgent. Maybe that’s what it feels like to be a Kardashian- assuming they know how to read properly.

This is the book I bought: The Schopenhauer Cure by Irvin D. Yalom. I was introduced to Yalom many years ago by my sister. He is a a master in the world of psychiatry and is a psychiatrist himself. I have read Love’s Executioner-Tales of Psychotherapy (nonfiction) and Lying on the Couch (fiction). Both are fascinating books. I had never heard of The Schopenhauer Cure, but as soon as I saw it and read the back, I knew it was my choice. If psychology interests you at all, I recommend checking in to Yalom. The Amazon synopsis is below:

Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine check up, eminent psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work — and seeks out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom he failed to help some twenty years earlier. Yet Philip claims to be cured — miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer — and is, himself, a philosophical counselor in training. 

Philip’s dour, misanthropic stance compels Julius to invite Philip to join his intensive therapy group in exchange for tutoring on Schopenhauer. But with mere months left, life may be far too short to help Philip or to compete with him for the hearts and minds of the group members. And then again, it might be just long enough.

Photo Disclaimer: Jam Jar wine is a favorite, if you haven’t noticed. Books + wine = the best equation.

Cheers!

Sincerely,

tmc

“Wear the old coat and buy the new book.”

-Austin Phelps

Theory

The title of this book by Margaret Bradham Thornton got me thinking about love, relationships, and especially marriage. The word theory has several meanings in the dictionary, two of which stood out to me.

1. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgement.

and

2. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge.

Many people marry in their twenties, by age alone, that is not a whole lot of living under the belt. According to #1, what beliefs or principles are you basing your idea of marriage at this point in life? It might be the marriage of your parents. Was it marvelous and you want to replicate it or was it a massive disaster and anything different would be a huge step in a positive direction. Those are both fair and realistic thought processes, but can they hold up when they are meant to stand the test of time in another relationship? I don’t know and honestly it seems too simplistic to place anything of substance upon that train of thought. Yet vows are taken and lives are promised with the utmost hope attached.

The second definition makes me think of someone marrying for the first time at any age. Your information of/on marriage is a limited knowledge of assumptions. Again-sort of a crap shoot. And really- on the flip side, how can marriage be anything short of a gamble? I’m not saying any of this light-heartedly. We are all so different. Our backgrounds, the way we think and process information, and how we view the world we live in varies on extraordinary levels. Do you want to marry someone exactly like you or do you prefer someone opposite? There are solid rationals for both, how do you choose? Is it better to jump in, eyes closed and fingers crossed at twenty years old? Or do you wait, sift through a bazillion creepers with baggage and hope to meet and ultimately marry in your late thirties, forties, or even later? By then, have you missed the boat on having children (if that is your desire), maybe not, considering all the options available now.

Like anything, overthinking can get you in a world of trouble, yet getting married (in my opinion) should require a lot of thought and honest self-evaluation. Where is that elusive fine line? That happy middle between thinking and overthinking? If you know, by all means please leave specific directions and instructions in the comments.

This book is Thornton’s follow up novel to Charleston, which is a wonderful book. A Theory of Love follows Christopher, a half-American, half-French lawyer turned financier and Helen, a British journalist. They happen to meet on the west coast of Mexico. The various locations alone are enough to satiate any traveler’s (or wanna-be travelers, like me) heart. The two marry and begin their life together. Their story and subsequent lives together is one where they will face how much they need from each other versus how much they still remain true to themselves. Any successful marriage requires the perfect amount of both. You cannot lose your sense of self to another simply because you say I do.

A large part of the draw of this book is the way Thornton writes. It’s simultaneously intense and calming. It’s not a quality that I come across often. In fact the only other authors that (I have read) accomplish this are Lea Carpenter and Billy O’Callaghan. If you are familiar with these two and like them, I can about guarantee you will also like and maybe love this book. Otherwise, I don’t know- maybe jump in, eyes closed, fingers crossed or just think about reading it for a few years, let the idea marinate for a bit. Either way you choose, unlike the fifty percent marriage survival odds, I think your odds of liking this book will be substantially higher.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”

-Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Travel

Clinging to the coattails of my last post I started thinking more about reading versus real life. I think it would be presumptuous to assume that myself or anyone chooses reading over real life experiences. So let me clarify a little. First, and most obvious, to enjoy reading you have to be alive. Real life trumps in the most important sense in this case. The thing is, readers can truly be anywhere. Our imaginations are incredible. We gain knowledge, and travel the world without moving an inch. I enjoy physically traveling, but life and it’s accompanying responsibilities don’t readily allow it. Another thing, physical travel can be taxing in itself. Hours by car, train, or plane, getting sick in a foreign place, or other events that make it all seem like an expensive headache. To me, along with the positives of traveling there are just as many negatives. I know many won’t agree with me and that’s ok. I do love the memories made in special or fun places, but I also hold memories associated with the books I have read at specific times in my life. There are many countries I will never set foot in or see with my own eyes, but I guarantee my mind has been more places than any non-reader can ever hope to visit.

“The world was hers for the reading.”

– Betty Smith