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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Days of Distraction

Sticking to business isn’t always easy during the distracting holiday season. Add to the usual seasonal distractions all the political furor of 2016, and you have a recipe for scattered attention. But when loyal downstate customers turn to their Up North bookseller for holiday gifts, that bookseller has to come through, and I’ve been happy to oblige, along with filling requests and queries from closer to home. And for those looking for gift ideas, I’ve tried to come up with a few original thoughts, aesthetic, historical, and inspirational. Board books for little ones have been big sellers this year. I can hardly keep them in stock!

Once our pack turns toward home, however, my thoughts turn to welcome domestic distractions: what to fix for supper and what book to settle in with afterward. One of three different books I’m reading at home these evenings is The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, the story of a fifteenth-century hunter (“perhaps the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance”) of ancient classical manuscripts and how his rediscovery of On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius, influenced the course of Western thought from then until now. I loved the way The Swerve began with the author’s happening on and purchasing a copy of Lucretius for its cover illustration and only later, opening the pages, falling in love with the text of a work previously unknown to him. Serendipity! The thrill of used books! Oh, lovely distractions!

Our weather here Up North has turned very cold. Last night and all day today the wind has been fierce, with a forecast is for big storms tonight, possibly delivering as much as ten inches of snow to cover our still-bare (as of this afternoon) cold ground. The Christmas tree in Northport has already looked good but will look even better with snow on the branches.


Dawn said...

It all seems wonderful...even the cold....from down here under my blanket.

Jerry Dennis said...

But at least, sometimes, we can choose our distractions. Lucretius is an old favorite of mine, and THE SWERVE is one of those occasional books I've read that make me say, "DAMN, I wish had written that." Great choice, Pamela, for the eve before a storm.

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, I got out flannel-lined jeans this morning. That and a coat with big hood helped me face the morning's snowy winds.

Jerry, I misplaced THE SWERVE yesterday but found it again this morning. Phew!

The rest of you: another good winter storm distraction (and educational and thoughtful, too) would be any book by Jerry Dennis. He didn't ask me to say this -- it's just true.