I like to barter. Over the years we've traded books for movie tickets, coffee, picture framing, artwork, restaurant gift certificates, admission to plays, and bread. Pistil has a baker friend who arrives at our door each week on his bike and delivers his handmade whole-grain nutty bread to us in return for book credit which he uses to purchase advanced chess books. I've never played chess, but I know from his description to look for books with a lot of notation. This bread-for-books scheme is a natural one, since "bread" and "dough" are slang terms for money.
Speaking of dough, a recent acquisition which may end up in The Museum of Weird Books is a bright orange scholarly volume by Steve Penfold called, The Donut: A Canadian History. Although I've visited British Columbia, our close neighbor, regularly, I had never realized that the donut is Canada's national food. The epigraph of this book states, "For the historian, there are no banal things."--Sigfried Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History.
I've been pretty busy reading since my last post, finishing four books. Today I read The Bear's Embrace: A True Story of Surviving a Grizzly Bear Attack by Patricia Van Tighem, from start to finish. It is one of those books with suspense built right in, since you know from the very title what terrible thing is going to happen, and the first page describes the narrator heading out to a hike on a beautiful autumn day with her husband. The ordinariness of their trip contrasted with the dreadfulness of what follows creates an engrossing tension from page one. The book is not only about the bear attack itself, but about the lifelong consequences: living with facial disfigurement, constant infections and surgeries, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and depression. It's a powerful, well-written, story, and a good reminder of how much chance, luck, and randomness drastically shape our lives, for better and for worse.
I've also read a novel, a book of short stories, and a non-fiction book about one of my favorite activities, walking: Nothing is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn by Alice Mattison; Dimanche and Other Stories by Irene Nemirovsky, and The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson.