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Summer reading

May 17, 2013

It’s been the most long and luxurious spring. I don’t know if it’s the luck of the draw or the variation in climate from Chicago, but for many years, it’s seemed to go straight from winter to summer, with barely a moment to catch your breath. But this year, it’s a slow unfurling of fragrant blossoms and gentle heat. Perfect.

But the activity is starting to feel like summer. Last night, AJ and I heard some strange booming. At first I thought it was coming from the cruise ship docks on the east river, but it kept going, so we headed up to the roof, where we were treated to an unexpected display of fireworks from one of the Manhattan piers. And this weekend we’ll be attending AJ’s school carnival, which is conveniently located in front of Cranky’s house.

We’ll also be trying to avoid some crazy festival that has pretty much shut down all our favorite areas of the park, to the extent that I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to get to AJ’s Saturday baseball game from here. Last year when this festival happened, it was chaos and there were complaints for weeks afterwards. This year it’s even bigger and the complaining has already begun (and not just by me). Among the bands playing, is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. AJ had never heard of the band, so in a moment of questionable parenting, I showed him this video starring Lass’ nephew. I’d forgotten about the assorted moments of sex and nudity. Oops. But at the end of the video, the question I got was, “Is sacrilege a real word?” So I think I dodged that bullet. Let us not speak of it again.

In other news of my neighborhood, I’ve mentioned before that there are four bookstores within walking distance of my house. Naturally, my favorite one is the one furthest away and the least useful one is the one around the corner (although I have relented a bit on my opinion of them since they provided me with a signed copy of Alice Munro’s Dear Life on Mother’s Day). The second closest one — just a couple of blocks away — is a used bookstore that I don’t get to very often, mainly because I don’t head by it on my way to other things. It’s owned by an woman who is ready to retire. The good news today is that my favorite bookstore is taking over the used bookstore. They’ll still sell used books, but some new ones two. And best of all, if there’s something you want, you can go to the used bookstore (close!) and ask for it and someone will cycle it over to you from my favorite bookstore. I’m not sure what I like better — having access to my favorite bookstore even closer to home or the whole concept of a bicycling book delivery service.

A few years ago I read a book by Alberto Manguel called The Library at Night, which is basically about what some people do to gain or grant access to books. The best part is that devoted to the Biblioburro:

I think a donkey-bearing books is too much to ask for in Brooklyn (chickens are another story), but I’ll settle for books on bikes. It’s the civilized thing to do.

Now if only they’d deliver them to the park.

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