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Friday, March 11, 2011

Backward with Weather, Forward with Books

Can you see the coyote? He or she is well camouflaged against the background of the bare field. That was on Sunday, cold but sunny. By Wednesday, on our way to Lake Leelanau for an appointment, the picture had changed dramatically. A blizzard had arrived! These shots were taken from the passenger seat while the car was in motion.

One last Wednesday image, a few hours later in Leland, shows the snow in a melting phase. But we still have plenty today on Friday morning!

No matter. It’s only winter’s last gasp and about what we can expect in March. Or April. Yes, it could happen in April, but I’ll call it a “last gasp” then, too, if it comes, because the days are noticeably longer, and there is no stopping the cycle of the seasons.

Weather seems to take a step back now and then, but forward movement is the essence of reading (in English!). In my current adventure with Tolstoy, surviving Anna’s tragic death at the end of Part VII, I have come to the early pages of Part VIII, where Chapter I opens with a brief anecdote about a disappointed writer. Sergey Ivanovich had worked for six years on his “Sketch of a Survey of the Principles and Forms of Government in Europe and Russia” and expected it to make “a great stir in the scientific world.” Its reception was otherwise.
After the most consciencious revision the book had last year been published, and had been distributed among the booksellers.


But a week passed, a second, a third, and in society no impression whatsoever could be detected. ...

Servey Ivanovich had clculated to a nicety the time necessary for writing a review, but a month passed, and a second, and still there was silence.

Apart from a “contemptuous allusion” in a “comic article” on another subject, no one seems to have any opinion about his book at all or even to have noticed its appearance until finally, three months after publication, a devastating review is published. Sergey Ivanovich himself cannot help admiring the wit of the reviewer, despite the fact that he has completely misunderstood the book. No matter. His six years’ work have come to naught, and he must now find something else to do.
From there Tolstoy shifts to a wider angle, taking in volunteers for the war in Serbia and the fever pitch of enthusiasm for the war in Russian society.

Northport is no St. Petersburg or Moscow, and it’s pretty quiet in the winter, when even those who live here year-round find ways to escape for a few weeks in February or March. Despite appearances, however, there’s life in the old town yet. Olivia is baking croissants at Barb’s Bakery this winter. That’s a treat! And at Dog Ears Books, I had to restock A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach for the author’s drop-in visit tomorrow morning (Saturday, @ 11 a.m.)

Loreen Niewenhuis will sign the books I have in stock (and those my customers have already bought, if they want to make a trip in Saturday morning), and we’ll talk about a summer date for her to come back for a reading at Dog Ears Books and/or the Leelanau Township Library in Northport.

Whatever the season, something is always happening in the world of books. Here's a tip: Come back to "Books in Northport" on Monday for a big surprise! Something we've never done before!


Dawn said...

Wow...I saw a coyote when I was up there last March. He ran across the road in front of the car, then sat at the edge of the woods and watched me go by. Really close to the house where I was staying...made me not want to go down to the beach at night. Was scared to do that alone

Wish I could get there for tomorrow, actually thought seriously about it for a minute or two...other than the weather I might have until I remembered I had Ann Arbor Symphony tickets for tomorrow night. Ah well. Maybe I can make the summer visit. Would love to hear her talk.

P. J. Grath said...

Coyotes all around us, but I refuse to stay indoors. Wait until you read some of Loreen's outdoor adventures! I'll definitely be publicizing her summer visit, when we get a date set. Meanwhile, enjoy the symphony, Dawn.

Dawn said...

ps: love that last photo too!

P. J. Grath said...

Snow and ice curling off the metal roof of our farmhouse, Dawn.

Snowing thickly today, Saturday afternoon. Like a paperweight scene!

P. J. Grath said...

Snow and ice curling off the metal roof of our farmhouse, Dawn.

Snowing thickly today, Saturday afternoon. Like a paperweight scene!

Gerry said...

Loreen's book is flying off the shelves in Northport! This is good news in several different directions at once, and I intend to celebrate all of them.

Nice coyote.

P. J. Grath said...

Loreen and Suzanne and I set a date. Loreen will be at the bookstore from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, and she will do a presentation at the library at 7:30. Books may be purchased for signing either at the bookstore or following the library presentation. It's on the calendar--yea!!