All you need is a good book, and a functioning coffee maker

I woke up this morning, as I do every morning, with coffee the first thing on my mind. God bless the inventor of the coffee maker, and also the inventor of the automatic timer, so I can get up to a hot pot of coffee every morning, without having to sit there and stare at it.

Except for this morning, when my beloved percolator didn’t percolate. I poured out a cup of brownish water, in dismay thought maybe I forgot to put grounds in, but upon further review saw that I had, indeed, done it all right, but the percolator was Not Doing It’s Thing.
Frantically, I dug around in the utility room for the drip maker, but all I could find was an inadequate 4 cup device, and had to Make Do. I must have, in a fit of hyper efficiency, given the big drip maker to Goodwill. Can you relate, Jerseychick, to giving away something you don’t think you need then turns out 6 months later that you *do* need it? most egregiously you need it? Well, anyway, I made a paltry 4 cups, made 4 cups more, then 4 cups more, because we all own generous mugs. I also remade a pot full in the percolator, so as to determine the nature of it’s ailment. Terry thinks perhaps it’s not heating properly, because it wasn’t chugging like it’s supposed to, and that is a symptom of said disorder. “Wiring issue” says he. And he, being Who He Is, He Who Can Fix Everything But a Broken Heart and the Crack of Dawn(tm) will take it apart tonight and see what he can do. In the mean time, we’ll make do with the little bitty inadequate drip thing.

It's exactly that size

It's exactly that size

I was reading a USAToday article about the latest Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, etc) book, and how it’s supposed to be the Next Great Thing. Now, I’ve never read Dan Brown books, so I can’t speak to that. But it did make me think about books in general. David suggested I get a Kindle, one of those automatic screen book reading things that you can download books from Amazon and all. I am not intrigued. I mean, it seems like a terrific idea. I’m thinking my grandmother would like one because you can adjust the font size to HUGE and she needs that, and she loves to read. For me, however, not so much. I love the tactile aspect of reading. Turning a page is satisfying. Holding it on my knees, putting in the bookmark, and laying on my bedside table has a traditional sort of appeal. I’ve done it all my life, ever since reading Dr. Seuss as a wee one, ever since throwing Nancy Drew across the room because she was such a pansy, and underlining concepts I didn’t understand in Godel, Escher and Bach (pretty much the whole book is underlined at this point). I love to aquire books, to put them on the shelves, and watch those shelves fill up. I’m a sucker at Books a Million. They lay out those books and make them look like delicious candies. I have to avoid it like an addict avoids South College and West Jones. And, when someone recommends something, do I go to the library? No. I go to Amazon and order it, because I am a sucker that way.

Recently I ordered a couple of Ted Dekker novels: Showdown and Saint. I was looking for books where a terribly reprehensible character finds redemption. I am frustrated with current Christian lit because the characters are victims of circumstance, rather than created by their own weak character. I was looking for a character who, because of his own psychological shortcomings, committed heinous acts, then found redemption. What I got was a character who committed heinous acts, because he’d been brainwashed. Ergo, not good enough, in my estimation. Oh, there was a nasty guy in the book, I kept waiting for him (The Englishman) to find redemption somehow. He was a Bad Guy because he was Bad Guy, not because he’d been kidnapped and brainwashed, like The Saint, who did bad things but couldn’t help it. Disappointing, to me. The Showdown was like reading something written by someone who wished he was Stephen King, but lacked that spark, that way with words that Mr King has. Oh well. Now I have 2 Ted Dekker books on my shelf.

Right now I am (re)reading my Flannery O’Connor collection. I like short stories, because I can read one and be ready for sleep. I don’t feel compelled to stay up and keep reading, because I get caught up in the story and want to find out what happens next. A bit ago, I bought a book about a Hmong family who had an epileptic child. Apparently in Hmong culture, epileptics are closer to God, and the medical treatment for them is vastly different than what we in America do. Consequently, there was quite the culture clash between the family, the doctors, and the social services. True story, and very interesting. I’d tell you the name of the book but I can’t call it to mind and I’d have to get out of my chair, climb the stairs and find it….oh ok…hold on.************** ok back...”The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman Fascinating stuff, especially if psychological, medical and cultural things interest you. Another interesting book is “My Lobotomy” by Howard Dully. This guy had the step mother from hell, who, when he was 12, had him lobotomized by an unscrupulous doctor, because he was a handful. What normal 12 year old isn’t a handful? Anyway, he wrote the book when he was 56, and looking for answers. It’s both heartbreaking, that a kid was treated so heinously, and heartwarming, because he made the best of his life in spite of it.

One of the cost-saving issues I have with books is my terribly short memory. Seriously, put that with the way I speed read (and therefore miss about 1/2 of what I’m supposedly “reading”), I can read a book 3 or 4 times before I realize I’ve read it before. And, if I go for more than a year before re-reading it, it’s as if I’ve never read it at all, except for a nebulous feeling I have that I might know this character or that one. I’ve read “Gone With The Wind” probably 20 times, and am always surprised when Scarlett mistreats her husband du jour. It frustrates Terry sometimes, he with the photographic memory (go ahead, ask him what’s on page 459 of his Quantum Mechanics textbook from 25 years ago.), but I find it comforting to go to a book that seems familiar, but introduces something new every time I read it. I always forget about the crazy woman in Jane Eyre (well, except for now, obviously), and the personal shortcomings of the jockey dude in Dick Francis novels. It made for difficulties when I was in school, because I’d read the textbooks the same way I read the novels, but my philosophy was to remember *where* I found the information, rather than the information itself. I’m the same way with the Bible. I can find most anything I need, but don’t ask me to quote it off the cuff. The Baptist in Terry grumbles about that too, but it’s easy for him, with his photographic memory, to memorize things. All I remember is that Leviticus bores me to tears, and Acts tells me I don’t have to worry about eating lobsters anymore. Anything else, I’ll have to look up. That’s why they make those teeny purse sized New Testaments that Gideon’s gave away in the 5th grade.

So, right now I’m in fall-back mode, to my collection of short stories. It’s where I go when I’m not visiting the library (because I’m feeling anti-social and don’t wish to be seen in public), and short on cash for spending on books at Amazon. I have a collection of O.Henry stories, and James Thurber, and a book of essays called “Help! Help! Help!” that’s all about the difficulties one has “these days” finding a decent live-in maid or nanny. It was written in the 1950’s and is extraordinarily outdated, thus very funny. I may even send it to Jerseychick, as she can appreciate the frustrations of getting good help along with me. Maids! They expect so much from their employer! Like an air conditioner in their suite! And a day off! honestly!

So how do you feel about books? Care to recommend something?

stack of books

About rootietoot

I do what I can.
This entry was posted in oh you self indulgent hussy!, product endorsement, what? um...what?. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to All you need is a good book, and a functioning coffee maker

  1. Bella Rum says:

    A lobotomy!?! Unbelievable.

    I’ve been thinking about the Kindle. Like your grandmother, I have vision challenges, but like you, I love books and all the inherent sensual pleasures: turning the page, the book cover, seeing the book on the shelf, going back to scan a page. Still, I may get a Kindle or the new Plastic Logic’s e-Reader that’s coming out in January. I haven’t decided yet.

  2. jerseechik says:

    Well, I would recommend Hunchback of Notre Dame if you wanted a tearjerker, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance if you wanted philosophy, but our tastes seem to not jibe well. I liked Look Me In the Eye (My Life with Asperger’s), but you may like Running With Scissors (by his brother) better…
    Please don’t send the Thurber. Someone gave me a collection of his short stories and I didn’t find them funny at all.
    On the other hand, Melville’s “I and My Chimney” (in my American Lit book) has me LMAO….

    • rootietoot says:

      I’ve heard of Look Me In The Eye and Runs With Scissors…I’ll see if the library has them. A first person account of Aspergers fascinates me, ever since reading Temple Grandin’s autobiography (the name escapes me at the moment)

  3. jerseechik says:

    As for giving things away, I don’t remember ever giving anything away except that old round table to the newlyweds here in Mayberry 2 years ago. Did I give away something I needed later, once upon a time?

  4. I love my Kindle, and honestly, it is much like reading a real book. Mine is in a leather cover, so you still have the ‘hinge’ thing goin’ on.

    There are so many books I can recommend. Haven Kimmel’s “A Girl Named Zippy” is laugh out loud funny. Phillip Gulley’s “Harmony” series is funny and very heart warming. If you want wacky, yes “Running with Scissors” is very good as are the “Spellman’s” series of books by Lisa Lutz.

    If you want action, I love Lee Child’s books about a cool dude named Jack Reacher. Very well written.

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is also very, very good.

    I could go on and on……but I’ll stop there.

  5. Bro. Scott says:

    Try anything by Walker Percy. Love in the Ruins for a start.

  6. Kim says:

    LOVES coffee, LOVES O’ Connor, LOVES books and weird, weird weird: I read “The Spirit …” some years back and was just at the library yesterday and saw the spine and recalled this book again and you write about it ON THE SAME DAY!!!
    Oh and … LOVES Meatloaf (go see today’s post!)

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