A really random question, but how do you keep books in such pristine condition in your bag? Mine tend to get bumped around and badly scuffed up!
I think I’m just careful and I don’t care too much. I always carry at least one book around with me, so I long ago made peace with the fact that I’ll crease a couple of corners, or dent some pages, etc. I don’t mind if it happens by accident. I do try and put my book in a separate compartment to the rest of my stuff, but I also have a lot of bags where I don’t have compartments. I’m also not really one who “throws” stuff in her bag, I always put my bag down before I put my book in or out, ditto with my purse, keys, and knick-knacks. So… yep. No secret to it, just being a wee bit careful.
I was really ill with a bad case of migraine and viral infection, a double whammy that put me in total bed rest for the last four-five days, sleeping about 16 hours a day and unable to sick up for longer than a few minutes at a time. I won’t go into more detail ‘cause it’d be TMI, but this is the result of being ill this weekend:
I missed a literary festival that I’ve been on committee for planning for the past year, and actually was in charge of stuff for and had a staff, etc.
I missed seeing a couple of my favourite contemporary poets who were doing a reading and signing and I was going to meet and greet personally.
I missed a university-event that happens once every three years at our uni, and I was really, really looking forward to taking part.
I’m missing a concert I’ve had tickets for for six months (Noah and the Whale) which I was really excited to go see.
I couldn’t hand in an assignment that was worth 100% of the module mark.
I missed a friend’s play that she’d been working on for the last few months.
I’ve missed lectures I can’t afford to miss.
And it’s all going to have a knock-on effect on the following days, of course, which I couldn’t afford either since this time next week I’m going to be in Doha doing a conference. It sucks so much and I know I couldn’t help being sick, but it couldn’t have happened at a worse time (I don’t think) and I’m still too weak to actually turn things around. I’ve been working for the past hour trying to make headway on my essay, but now the glare from the screen is making me fall ill again so I have to stop. I wish I could get work done some other way!
Something that hasn’t happening in a long time: I have a crush on two people at the same time. They couldn’t possibly be more different than each other, and it feels kind of bizarre. I don’t actually want anything to happen, I’m happy in the little crush phase, but I think it’s funny.
“You can possess a book without really owning it, though. Beyond ownership in a commercial or legal sense, there’s ownership of an emotional or metaphysical kind — when a book speaks so powerfully to us that we feel it’s ours exclusively: that it exists just tor us. People we meet sometimes have this effect too; they look into our eyes, and speak in a hushed, intimate voice, and make us feel we’re uniquely important to them — before going on to do the same to someone else. In life, we call these people flirts. The best books are flirtatious, too, since they seem to be ours alone when in reality they’re anyone’s.”—Blake Morrison, Twelve Thoughts About Reading
“What I didn’t yet understand was the importance of taste and timing. Books are like people. Some look deceptively attractive from a distance, some deceptively unappealing; some are easy company, some demand hard work that isn’t guaranteed to pay off. Some become friends and say friends for life. Some change in our absence — or perhaps it is we who change in theirs — and we meet up again only to find that we don’t get along any more.”—Mark Haddon, The Right Words in the Right Order
“We all read differently. You may think you know Maggie Tulliver or Esther Summerson, better than some members of your own family, and I may feel the same, but you and I know very different versions of those characters. Because reading is never simply reading. Reading always involves writing too. A novel is an invitation to complete an imaginary world. If the novel is good we do it without hatting an eyelid.”—Mark Haddon, The Right Words in the Right Order
Song of the Day: Coat Check Dream Song by Bright Eyes
One brick on top of another such is the measure of man planets are inset like diamonds on a gravity halo, eternity’s wedding band
I quite love hearing this song on slow days, when I’m just reading or staring into space, or walking by the beach. I’m not going to lie, though, one of my favourite things about it is that there’s an Arabic bit. To those of you who don’t speak it, it translates to:
“Books are the true daemons: not the imaginary animals of Pullman’s brilliant imagination, but solid blocks of paper and print pottering along with you every moment of the day. There for you. Books are shields against a terror of boredom, that curse of most childhoods. What they offer does not change, and if the human race was separated from words and thoughts and stories, it would die. I took that legacy from my childhood, but more: a habit of comfort and enquiry. If something happened to me, if I felt something, I would go to books to read about others’ experiences, others’ thoughts, to find out what to do and what to think. Books tell you jokes, make you laugh, laugh with you.”—Carmen Callil, True Daemons
“A hope of something beyond our place and time. This is what books — the best books — give us: a lifeline, a reason to believe, a way to breathe more freely.”—Blake Morrison, Twelve Thoughts About Reading