July 03, 2009

The Romance of Print

I stole a little gem to start the weekend off: Thursday I spent ninety blissful minutes (which felt like ten) in a tight little bookshop in wonderous Clintonville. The shop smelled of old paper and I felt properly repentant for my purchase of the amazon Kindle.

I handled about sixty books before settling on four. It was the very bliss of youth and escape to be on the cusp of the small vacation and in the presence of such worthies. It felt like travel without the travel part.

I found a pristine copy of Michael Chabon's marvelous Mysteries of Pittsburgh and I thought perhaps I should re-read my copy, these twenty years later, and see what my current reaction to the book might say or not say about my progress in the interval.

Everything in the shop conferred a sense of wonder. The smell, the selection of books, even the old postcards from the ‘30s and ‘40s and ’50s depicting works of art. (You know I’m intoxicated by a bookshop if I’m buying art postcards.) “Temple of Peace” – the description of William Gladstone (devout Christian and Victorian prime minister of England) of his library – applied to this one too and I realized how little I’ve spent in my own temple of peace. (Of course the true Temple of Peace is Christ.)

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