Went to the bookstore, a used one, today, to buy some Hemingway or a book on Hemingway. Because when I had woken up it was 46 degrees, felt like fall, and fall always brings on, in me, a desire to read Hemingway’s short stories, especially “Three-Day Blow” and others.
Well, I got to the bookstore, pulled out a copy of True at First Light, the “fictional memoir” the Hemingway estate brought out, glanced inside and couldn’t stomach EH telling Mary how to make her kill on some animal, can’t even remember what it was.
Then I saw a book, an old orange Penguin paperback called A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines, about a poor abused Yorkshire boy who finds a kind of redemption in training a kestrel. I put the Hemingway book back and carried the Penguin further into the store back into the poetry and religion section where I always go. Perused the Christianity section then poetry but nothing grabbed me, went back to the front of the store to Buddhism because this morning, feeling guilty about something, I had found relief from suffering by doing some Thich Nhat Hanh mindfulness stuff. It really did feel good.
But it didn’t feel good browsing all the books on Buddhism. I started to feel overwhelmed, bewildered. It was almost as bad a Christianity, all the different kinds. (Full disclosure: I am a bad but believing Catholic.)
So then I went to literary criticism and biography section, looked at a Cyril Connolly book, a few books on Hemingway (hadn’t quite let go of the fallish thing), looked at some books on C.S. Lewis, Dr. Johnson, and D.H. Lawrence, (almost bought a Black Sparrow edition of Lawrence’s letters to a couple whose names I can’t remember and don’t want to look up), so then after my smart phone went off with the cricket chirp letting me know I had nine minutes till my parking meter ran out, I went back to fiction, thinking of Orwell whose work I have gotten back into. But did not see a novel I didn’t have. Then, aha, what about back in Lit Crit?
And there it was, a hardcover of George Orwell: Diaries, edited by Peter Davison and introduction by Christopher Hitchens (who I rarely agreed with but loved to read nevertheless because even though he couldn’t conceive of ever being wrong he cared). It was $21.10 with tax, fifteen dollars more than A Kestrel for a Knave but felt like the book I had to have now.
And that’s it. My book-buying adventure for today. Have told myself I am not going to buy another book until this one is read. We’ll see.