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Celebrating Books

November 3, 2014

You might be happy to know that we gave away many books and things left over from the recent successful book sale. Still, I took two pickup loads to the dump. Can we celebrate books in light of such news?

Yes. Here’s what I saved while boxing up remainders: “The Timeless Way of Building,” a companion volume to “A Pattern Language,” my favorite book.

It may describe a timeless way, and a sensible way, but today’s rules prohibit many timeless methods of construction, including those used to build our beloved downtown.

Also, I saved an unopened copy of “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. We discussed this book almost two years ago, and when checking the date online I was dismayed to see I’d called it “Antifragility.” Disorder creeps in, but perhaps my title is better.

I saved a collection of Diane Arbus photographs, a picture book on the missions of California, and a pristine copy of “The Flexible Shaft Machine,” c1983, by Harold O’Connor, one of Salida’s famous goldsmiths.

In Harold’s book, I spotted a photograph of a ring made by Hannelore Gabriel, also a Salida artist. This was an overlap I hadn’t expected, since I think the date of the book predates the settling of either of them in Salida.

You might be happy to know—or not—that I saved a book by Christo and Jean-Claude, spotted on top of a box heading to the truck. Also, at the dump, I saved a nice paperback of Joan Didion’s “Slouching toward Bethlehem.”

I found this while waiting for a gentleman (who was appalled at what I was doing) to finish looking through the remaining boxes. He saved a small box from burial.

He was appalled, but still he tossed the books into the air one by one (“I had that one in college”—toss).

And I saved a paperback of “Hopscotch” by Julio Cortazar, which caught my eye because I recognized the cover from a book on our New Book Shelf: “Cover” by Peter Mendelsund.

It’s a beautiful and intriguing book showing the development of many book covers Mendelsund designed, ranging from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (which had a different, and terrible, proposed title), to an edition of “Lolita” and selected haiku by Basho.

Among newer DVDs, you might want to try “In Darkness.” I came home from work just as L was coming out to sit on the porch in that slightly stunned state of mind that can remain after a good movie.

While not a fan of Holocaust films, she said it was remarkable, all the more so for not being black-and-white about good-and-evil. There are Nazis; there are Jews; there are people in between. The Jews hide in a sewer for a year. All come across as real people in an otherwise surreal existence. Horrifying can be fascinating.

For surreal, try Jonathan Carroll’s new novel, “Bathing the Lion.” It caught my eye on the New Book Shelf, and so I made note. I loved his early books: “Land of Laughs,” “Voice of Our Shadow,” “Bones of the Moon.”

Or instead of reading, listen: Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Book Haven, poets Pam Uschuk (American Book Award winner) and William Pitt Root (the first Poet Laureate of Tucson) will pause to read on their way back to Durango from performances in Denver.

Both are much published and translated, with many awards, and they practice the ultimate expression of love—editing a literary journal. (“Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts,” from Durango.)

Perfect for a Sunday evening on Mountain Standard Time.

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