When the year began I made the resolution of not buying any more books for a while. The foundation for that decision was the amount of books I already have that I have not yet started to read, and a desire to keep a bit more money in my wallet.
I have failed.
There’s always the “last book I will get”, usually a fiction temptation, or delicious reference material, or a biography about Prokofiev (I have nine of those), and yesterday the postman dropped off a box that contained the last six books I will get this year. My heart pounds with a slight sense of guilt that sits in the back of the bus, all the way back while the selfish pleasure I take in my purchases bullies it and calls it names.
The box came from Daedalus, a company that sells very cheap books, from which I will probably continue to order books even if I were to find out the owner puts puppies in his mouth or takes candy from babies.
List of guilty pleasures:
This is a book about a dog, and it’s a Christmas present for someone who has two of those creatures. Me? I’m more of a cat person, multiplied by three. I started wrapping this coming Christmas’ presents in July, so as to avoid the stress and rush of the end of the year. So far it’s working very well.
I only hope the recipient of this book doesn’t notice I’m wrapping it in paper she’s used to give me presents in the past. Another thing I am is cheap. As long as being cheap doesn’t involve books.
I got this book for someone who will invariably give it back to me come Christmas Day, so I suppose I’m cheating… but my conscience will rest in peace as soon as I remind it that I’m so dedicated to giving loved ones the right present that I would never dream of gifting them with something I would not love to receive myself.
I know I’m including the Amazon.com link with every book, but they are all available at Daedalus for far less money, in all cases for less than half the price. What I like best is finding used copies, even library rejects that turn out to be in fairly decent shape. There’s something tree-saving about purchasing a book that would have perhaps ended at a landfill.
Because I love music of all periods, especially the Modern and Romantic ones, and I love to learn all I can about instruments and sheet music, so I can eventually play the former and read the latter.
So this one’s for me. My mom plays the piano a bit, and she often played Classical music records as my brothers and I were growing up, but she seldom mentioned composers or names of the pieces, so it’s taken me years to retrace my steps and learn who wrote what, so as to add it to my own music collection. Listening to NPR helped with that.
I own a book about insults found in all of Shakespeare works, and it’s in a flap format that allows you to combine words to form multiple affronts. It’s fabulous fun, so when I saw this little number, I knew I had to have it.
When I ordered it I convinced myself it’s another Christmas present for someone in my family as bored with the f word as I am, but now that I’ve received it, I think I’ll keep it.
Oh, you know you’d do the same, you inconversable kites!
I love books about languages, from dictionaries to grammar and writing books, any kind will do. I probably have an etymology “fetish”, since searching for the origin of words—phrases, idioms, all that good stuff—is compulsive, the fun kind of compelling imperative that helps me understand a language more and more each day.
The accent is something else. You Americans and your funny ways of pronouncing words.
If Kansas is ‘kan-zəs, then how come Arkansas is ‘ är-kən- sȯ? What the heck is that about? It’s fascinating to find out, and amusing to learn how different ethnic groups happen to carry pronunciation responsibility.
I repeat the above for this one. I read a very interesting article a few months ago about the importance of learning different languages. It’s impossible to dedicate oneself to truly understand the structure of a new language and at the same time avoid learning about the culture that speaks it, and the ties that form with the culture to which one belongs.
That’s what I found when I learned English, and it’s the same thrill I hope to find when I learn to speak German. There are people that have been hearing me say that for years, but hey, it will happen. The day I’m able to call myself a polyglot I’m gonna get such a big head!
Who knows, maybe my body will grow too, to match its enormous size. :)