Bookish Vacation

Sorry about the gap in posting, but I’ve been working a grueling 2-days-a-week schedule for nearly a month now; I’m sure you can imagine how fast that catches up to a person.

Hee hee! Okay, first I was on vacation, then I went back to work for three days, then I went out on jury duty. I haven’t worked five days in a row since the week of September 11th. (Talk to me around Thursday this week–I ought to be good and cranky.)

Vacation was excellent, a week with family and friends in Minneapolis. As you would expect, books were front and center much of the time. The first day, I met up with my good friend Nancy for a knit-n-coffee afternoon in the Hamline University area. We spent a good long time petting all the luscious wares at Borealis Yarn, then settled in with Mexican mochas (yum!) in the attached coffee shop and knitted half the cool, drizzly afternoon away. (Hi Nancy, it was great to see you! We must do it again sometime!)

The next day was book-intensive: first we stopped in at Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s, our absolute favorite bookstore anywhere. All due respect to our local impressive bookpile, Powell’s City of Books, but the Uncles just have a special something we love. No trip to the Cities is complete without a stocking-up run at their place; per usual, we came out of there with a respectable stack of used paperbacks.

We left the Uncles, took a right on Lake Street, and drove straight to DreamHaven Books, a sci-fi bookstore with a massive comics section. They do a great job promoting local authors, including giving Neil Gaiman a well-stocked section all his own, so there’s always interesting new books to discover. A little time, and a lot of money, later, we walked out with a box of new reading material and headed home.

The evening before all this book-acquisition happened, I had finished the first Mary Russell novel, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. This is the mystery series featuring a post-retirement Sherlock Holmes and his feisty feminist sidekick that I mentioned a while back; I was a little apprehensive about the premise, but willing to give them a try. How are they? Well, let me say just this: Friday morning, I bought the second Mary Russell book, and Friday afternoon and evening, I read the entire thing. Laurie King is a wonderful writer, and these books are absolutely absorbing. Luckily, I already had a copy of the third book awaiting me in Portland, so I was forced to take a break from reading and get on with the vacating. Otherwise, I might not have left that sofa until I’d finished the next six books in the series.

Saturday and Sunday, we visited the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, the easiest way to see the majority of our friends in the fall. (Yes, we’re RenFaire geeks. Like you couldn’t have guessed that.) Ramona the Flirt made the long drive up from Ioway to join us, Modhran’s old band put on some wildly nostalgia-inducing shows, and a merry olde time was had by all. We dragged our exhausted selves home Sunday evening, where I came to some conclusions about modern plumbing:

1. Hot water is a brilliant invention;
2. Whoever first poured hot water into a tub and climbed in was a genius;
3. The guy who first thought to put bubbling jets into the hot water tub deserves a Nobel Prize.

I lay in churning, steaming water, feeling dust and aches alike sliding off me, and was subsumed by a peculiar kind of exhausted joy; I’m sure the Germans have a word for it, when you completely wear yourself out doing something that makes you ridiculously happy? When you’re wiped out by pleasure? When you could just plain die happy, right this minute? That was me, in that tub, after a weekend of playing knights-n-ladies.

Monday brought more books, this time at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. No purchases, but lots of browsing through their shop and looking at the collection of priceless books and artifacts on display. It was a very cool place””a book shop and museum, with attached coffee house and art gallery. I most liked all the supplies for bookmaking and repair; I worked in the school library all through college, and my favorite tasks were repairing damaged books and binding periodicals for storage. I would love to give papermaking and bookbinding a try someday.

The book theme continued into Monday evening, when we went out to dinner with our good friend Jody; you may call her Book Mistress. In addition to being a librarian extraordinaire and a lovely person, Jody was instrumental in me meeting my beloved Modhran. So yeah, we love her lots. (Hi Jody!)

Tuesday, we whiled away the day at the Science Museum of Minnesota which is hosting the Bodyworlds exhibition. It was cool and creepy and really fascinating; I highly recommend it, if you get a chance to go and aren’t too squeamish. I had a few moments early on where I got a little woozy, but it wasn’t too hard to distance myself from the fact that these were actual corpses and get into the mind-bending wonder of human anatomy. (Aside to Bearby: you would have been proud of me””I even managed to hold the lung and liver they had available for close inspection. Of course, it helped that they felt like Nerf toys.)

Wednesday morning I flew home, treasuring my bottle of newly decriminalized water and non-contraband lip balm. Yay, in-flight hydration! I was home before noon local time, so I had most of the day to unpack, do laundry, and savor the afterglow of a vacation done well.

So, how was your September?

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4 Responses to Bookish Vacation

  1. CAS says:

    What??? Bearby, you actually finally managed to “do that thing they did on ER that one time?” am so proud of this woman! *Beams with Pride*

  2. kaizerin says:

    Hee hee! Exactly! I did the super-gross, you’re- forbidden-to-discuss-it-during-dinner thing! Oh, and there was a gall bladder attached to the liver, so I got a good look at the li’l bugger that caused you so much trouble recently.

    Honestly, the whole experience was completely amazing. I find I’m paying more attention to the ‘gross’ parts of CSI and the like, because now I know what things really look like, I want to evaluate how good their effects are.

  3. CAS says:

    Well, all I can say is that you have come a long way, Bearby!!!

    Yes, I am so happy that my little gallbladder-thingy (thats a technical term, ya know!) is gone! I honestly have never felt such sharp pain in my life!

    So do you like CSI:NYC? That is Aviva’s favourite. I think she has a thing for Gary Sinise, actually. I still like the Vegas ones, and will watch the odd Miami one just so that I can see that nice Cubana lady with the long beautiful hair! (Hey, it is not often that I am just a guy that way…so you will just have to deal with my objectification of hot Latinas!)

    My new favourite is Boston Legal. What a quirky little show.

    So on to books, I have been on an alternate history kick ever since I read “Man in a High Castle” so now I have moved on to Harry Turtledove novels. I did get a nice trade copy of Gaiman’s “Anasi Boys” a few weeks ago. You know how I love the feel of a trade!

    Speaking of which, for airport commuters here in London a number of bookshops at LHR have started carrying hardback and trade at the initial release. Very handy when you don’t want to lug a big hardback on the tube two hours each way!

  4. kaizerin says:

    I like CSI:NY, I love CSI:TOS (The Original Series, to borrow from the Trek nomenclature.) I like Sinise a lot, but find him mostly wasted in CSI. He just doesn’t do much. CSI:Miami? I have no CSI:Miami. I hate that Horatio guy with a passion, it annoyed me when they brought in Fake Greg (I don’t know his name, he’s just a rip off of Greg from Las Vegas), and when they killed Speedle, they killed the last hope I had for them. They’re dead to me.

    Boston Legal is great, if completely insane and unrealistic. The chemistry between Shatner and Spader is magnificent, and absolutely carries the show; there have been times when the stories have bored me completely, but I kept watching for the balcony scene at the end. Add Candy Bergen to the mix, and hotcha! You’ve gotta spicy meataboll. I love how the elders on the show are just as hot and randy as the juniors. (BTW, the prosecuting counsel in the trial on which I just served reminded me strongly of Denise.)

    You will love Anansi Boys; it was a great story. Love the notion of having trade available side by side with HC; I found, once I started flying all the darned time, I got over my HC snobbery real fast! Trade PB is my favorite, too, though I’m now totally reconciled to mass market/pocket books–great, good, bring ’em on!

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