I’ve been snuggled up with Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch for the past week. Now that I’ve gotten into it, I don’t/can’t/won’t put it down. The best part about the book is its reminder of how much I love reading and books and stories. Books like this make me love books everywhere.
Once I finish The Goldfinch (and I’ll be sad to put it down), here are a few that I want to follow up with:
- Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan
- Night Film, Marisha Pessl
- Men We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward
- Building Stories, Chris Ware
- Keepers Cookbook, Kathry Brennan and Caroline Campion
- Treasured Recipes from the Charleston Cake Lady, Teresa Pregnall
*The last two are wild cards for me. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not much of a cook. I love to bake, I just never do it anymore. But I really love reading cookbooks. And lately, when I can’t sleep, I page through recipes or browse baking blogs. One day, when I have a little more money and lot more time and a roomy kitchen, I’ll make use of all this food data I’ve been storing up.
This house is renting for $1800 a month. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms and lots of woods and trees and a whirlpool bath solarium. That’s $650 more than I was paying for a jelly jar-sized studio in Brooklyn with a leaky ceiling. And I know this place isn’t in the city, it’s in Connecticut, which, well, maybe everyone doesn’t want to live there. But it is a little seaside town with vineyards and I bet there are parades along Main Street for July 4 and a cute little library. But it might also be one of those insulated little places that doesn’t take kindly to outsiders, especially ones that look like me, and I might get the side eye a lot as I buy groceries and magazines and beer. And I would wave and smile at my neighbors and try to become a regular at the local watering hole, but I might just get a chilly head nod back, which isn’t totally atypical for Connecticut, or New England in general, but I would be uncomfortable and start to hate leaving the house. And I would hole up that large colonial, albeit one with four bedrooms, but all that room wouldn’t be a comfort, it would give me more space to be paranoid and imagine that the sheriff and a gaggle of townsfolk will march to my door and throw a brick through the solarium window and shatter my dreams and hopes of a life with space outside of the city, far from the subway. Okay, maybe teeny, tiny, dumpy Brooklyn studios aren’t so bad. Not a ton of physical space, but maybe there’s more room for other stuff.
A few weeks ago, my friend Sam posted a beautiful picture of her bookshelves on Instagram with the caption “A house that has a library in it has a soul.” I commented on her picture three times, writing about how out of sorts I feel being so far away from my books. I’ve been out of my apartment for about ten months now, and couch surfing has its ups, it has its downs. A definite no-no, poopie bummer is not being able to have access to my books. I wish I could be someone who has little to no attachment to material things, but I’m so sentimental about some of my stuff. I can look at an item of clothing and be reminded of where and when I bought it, how drunk I got while wearing it the first time, what vacations I’ve taken it on. My books are like little time machines– they remind me of my past, call to mind old obsessions and concerns, make me remember how captured I felt while reading them. I miss poking through my stacks of books, I miss remembering a passage and finding the book and re-reading an entire chapter, I miss going through pages and seeing paragraphs I’d underlined and pages I’d dogeared. Eventually I will get an apartment again. I’ll settle down and buy sheets and dishes and bookshelves. I’ll be reunited with my boxes of books, my old buddies, and I won’t leave my house for three weeks.