Saturday, November 29, 2008

The other side of Black Friday

Black Friday came and went, and for me the only purchase was a double pack of deodorant because it was on sale and I ran out yesterday. This year the lines of people waiting to rush in and buy what they think is a good deal didn't make me feel like I was missing something. Sure I would like to buy some of the things that were on sale but my needs are few this year. When the wants become needs without cause or reason you just have a house full of meaningless stuff. How I spent Black Friday may not have helped the economy but my happiness isn't measured by balance sheets.

I had plans to return some books to the library today but they were closed. I didn't expect the library to be closed but I guess they wanted to go shopping today too.

I started reading The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust without knowing what to expect. The Forward was written by Roger Shattuck a world-renowned Proust scholar and the Preface by Anatole France, a leading French poet, journalist, and novelist who later won a Nobel prize for literature. The dedication by Proust was to a friend who passed away just nine months before the book was published exuded his deepest admiration. I'm savoring this like a good meal. The style and composition of his writing is unlike what I normally read but instead of feeling foreign to me it's like listening to your favorite college professor connecting vague unrelated references into a clear message.

Do you read the preface and forward when you begin a book? Or are you one to just dive in and enjoy? In most cases I prefer just to gain a little insight on what the writer had in mind.

Here is my question to you..... Do you read multiple books at the same time? Do you have a "work" book or a "train/bus" book and also a "Home" or "quiet time" book? Do you find that you read certain genres in one environment and others when you have the alone time to relish or focus on your selection?

The clock is ticking and I'm not focusing enough time on the Christmas scarf. I'll need to spend a lot more effort on this if I plan to give it as a gift this year.

Life is good


  1. My library was closed, too. And I only picked up the barest necessities: $8.40 worth of groceries, while garnering $10.00 for my old books.

    When I was a kid, I used to dive into the stories. Now that I am older, I like to know about the writer.

    I have two books I'm reading now, or would be if I were reading. Right now I'm focusing on 2BDH's birthday scarf. I have a Robert B. Parker mystery waiting for when this is done.

  2. I didn't go shopping yesterday either.Never do. I went to the Golden Gate Bridge instead!

  3. Despite my material post yesterday, I spent exactly $2.99 on Black Friday: on a loaf of bread. :-)

    I tend to be a serial monogamist, book-wise; just one at a time. :-) As for preface and/or introduction, I usually read them.

  4. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Unless there is a glossary of words, I read the supporting bits last. The ironic part is the glossary is always in the back of the book and the boring detritus is always at the beginning. If the author needs someone else to spend 15 pages of microscopic type convincing me I should want to read the book, then there must be a serious problem with the book. Books should stand on their own.

    The funniest preface-related thing I have ever seen was a preface to a book of critique of Byron. All it needed was a pre-preface to explain who the preface writer was and why we should care about his opinion about the author who was going to explain Byron.

    I am a bad reader though. I generally assume anything that is in italics is irrelevant. Tolkien... there were several 20 page sections that could have been ripped out of the volume because, "No one reads the songs."

    ((an aside: The new testament of the Bible is really strange if you have read one where all the text that would be red is omitted or faded completely away.))

    I think someone should invent a really good italic typeface that is not smaller and fussier and harder to read. Then we should force publishers to use it. eBooks do not solve that problem because they are usually distributed in a format that does not allow user font choice.

  5. My Black Friday purchases were limited to an lovely Irish coffee in my local pub while I was writing my blog post for the day.

    I don't have one preferred method for attacking a new book. If it is an author that I've loved in the past, I just dive in. If it is nonfiction, I'll go over the table of contents to see if I want to devote the time. If the main characters have stupid names, I don't bother to read it at all. And, above all, I couldn't care less if it is on someone's best-seller list, as I rarely like what "everyone" likes.

  6. Ever since I started knitting, I have not read nearly as much as I used to.

  7. I didn't donate to Black Friday either plus I hate to shop. I do like to read the forward if there is one and read only one book at a time so I can relish in it. Presently the grandkids need hats and mittens so the needles are moving. I have a book I started so I hope to dive in after the holidays.

  8. Generally one book at a time. Unless I am reading something historical or mathematical or otherwise non-fiction, then I pair with a fiction read.

    PS - We visited one store for one item on Friday. Got what we needed and got out. Surgical extraction of item from store which is in danger of closing soon and for which Number Guy had a gift card. Use it or lose it.

    PPS - The item was about a third what it was marked last year this time but not "on sale" just lowered pricing.

  9. I bought a latte and a bagel at the Bean, and knitted with some buds. I am a multiple-book reader, usually have 3-4 going at all times. My bed usually has 3-4 books as well as 2 kinds of puzzle books--currently logic problems and double-crostics. Currently working on a knitting mystery (unintentionally hilarious), Sayers' 9 Tailors, Misquoting Jesus, and my "bathroom book" is a mystery set in a RenFaire village. I mix genres happily; in my queue are the new Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett offerings.

  10. I didn't do Black Friday shopping as I was winging my way to Dallas on a 6:40 a.m. flight.

    What I have had to buy in stores has already been purchased. Other things are being purchased online and I can safely say HERE that I was successful in scoring a WII and a WII Fit.

    I have several books around. My riding the bus to work book, my bathroom book (something that can picked up, read, put down), my by the bed book, by the chair in the family room and, there is one in the car for when I am waiting for the kids. I also have books (usually the one in the family room) that I can read and knit to (as long as it is straight mindless knitting). Makes my DH crazy . . . especially when I have the tv on at the sametime.


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