Serendipity Books in Berkeley. It's one of my favorite shops. It's a maze. Books everywhere, little nooks and crannies. Not for the claustrophobic either but if you're looking for a book that's out of print or a first edition, this is your place. Some more current books but it caters to the older editions. It's also where I dragged The Peeves to on their "tour" of the San Franciso Bay Area. What, there's more than bookstores and yarnshops to see? Nah. Well, yes. We also went to Spenger's Grotto for lunch. They got the horribly abbreviated version, but then again, it's the busy season at work and they were quite, quite lovely about it. Check out the undeserving hostess gift I got. Imagine if I'd given them a real tour? Wowza.
Some quick reviews of books I've read this year that hopefully I haven't already reviewed:
The Ethical Assassin by David Liss. This is definitely in the style of Carl Hiassen, equally enjoyable and as eloquent in the cause of, in The Ethical Assassin's case, vegetarianism. I enjoyed following Lem's journey from a naive college bound student to a student of the enigmatic engaging homicidal assassin he encounters during his Encyclopedia selling summer to raise fund for college.
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. My first completed Atwood novel! Although it took me roughly a month to get through the first 80 pages, I flew through the last 400 or so. The differing threads of the novel weren't difficult to follow but the narrator was more than just unreliable, she was a tease. I found hard going at first but then got caught up in the varying storylines and the clever weaving of them at the end.
The Bookwoman's Last Fling by John Dunning. Hmm. I can't quite remember anything about the book other than it was a fun quick read.
Waiting for the Party by Ann Thwait. There are so many things I had no idea about Frances Hodgson Burnett! For one thing, I didn't realize how freaking popular Little Lord Fauntleroy was, nor did I realize that FBH was considered a serious author for much of her life - Henry James envied her, Israel Zangwill was a long time friend and correspondent.
She lived in England as a child. After her father's death, her mother moved the family to Tennessee on the urging of her uncle, who couldn't fulfill his promises of a better life due to the outbreak of Civil War. Frances was just 15 years old. I never would have imagined she was in the United States at all, much less lived there from her teens.
She moved back to England off and on as an adult, able to support a fairly lavish lifestyle on the output of her pen. She married twice, both fairly badly. One pretty much hassled her into it. In fact, they both did, although blackmail would probably be more accurate on the second marriage.
Her defense of her book Little Lord Fauntleroy being written as a play by someone else was one of the deciding cases in coypyright law. Before that, anyone could write a take off on your work and not owe you a dime for it.
All in all, pretty darn fascinating.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: Ha. I knew the grown ups didn't have that much to do in the book and the poor nurse and Dickon's Mother were entirely cut out of the play I saw. The book held up fairly well to my childhood memories of it (considering that I LOVED it as a kid, I was out of school sick for two months when I was 11, so I identified pretty strongly with Colin). Quickly, it's the story of two disagreeable cousins learning about life, limitations and the great outdoors. More or less. The silly secrets grown ups keep.
Back to Serendipity Books. Notice the book pulled out on the shelf? The Island of Captain Sparrow has been around for a long, long time. Dang it, I forgot to go back and grab it. Next trip. (I did pick up a book on Henry James and HG Wells Quarrel and the Collected Works of Branson Bronte.)
Here's the fabulous Hostess gift Peeve insisted on buying me (sweet girl!) even though said hostessing consisting of going to my favorite shops and restaurant. I think a gorgeous lacy triangle scarf, maybe?
And look (below!) I've been looking for this for ages. It's destined to be the Persian Carpet Bag in Folk Purses. It's exactly the yarn that the bag called for! Yay Janet!
And this is the prize I won from Amy of Knit Think: Oh, BAD WORD! I managed to erase it adding in the link. GRRRRR. And the pic on the other computer because this one doesn't like to upload them lately. Argh. Well, let it be said, it's a very cool prize! The Buffy Musical CD! And one of the best cards EVER (except for the babbling brook one my brother gave me once.) I'll post the pic later on. [Added: Later is here.......] All pics click bigger. The sign says "Will Knit For Yarn". Who wouldn't?