Changes: From 2012 to 2013
December 30, 2012

As many are wont to do, I am taking a look back at 2012. My feelings are mixed. There’s enormous relief that the year, one of if not the worst year I have ever had, has now ended. There’s gratitude that all I have gone through is not wasted as in that saying, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

My point is that I am very glad 2012 is ending. It was a terrible year. Annus horribilis is the Latin phrase, and it well suited to describe the year I lost my long-time job, ran headlong into the ultimate terrorist of a supervisor in a temporary job, spent months working a full-time job while at the same time providing full-time caregiving for my father on weekends, saw my father die, struggled with financial and family dysfunction issues, and watched my eating go from good to junky as a (misdirected) source of comfort. Through all that some friends stood staunchly by me, listened, comforted, advised. There were times I didn’t want to hear anything and even a few times when I just wanted to give up.

Yet . . . I’m not dead. I might have even gained the strength of Superman through all that adversity. And as December winds down to its last couple of days I’ve somehow come to feel that all the difficulty and all the work I did to keep going through it has been fruitful. I feel that 2013 is going to be a great year for me because I’ve been doing a lot of footwork. I have made decisions that while painful are going to provide me with more free time. I have strengthened some deep and important relationships that will grow even stronger in the coming year. And even though I don’t believe in astrology or like things I have had people who do tell me that things will be changing for the better in the next year.

Will they? I don’t know. But some of the changes I want I have already begun even though they are not yet fully integrated: positive affirmations, walking, connecting with people I have chosen to love. Other changes have been part of my life for a long time but have suffered from demands on my time and energy: reading books, joyful cooking. These will be renewed with vigor. And some things will be added: volunteering, a new job. I fully expect 2013 to be dramatically different from 2012, in fact to be a annus mirabilis (“wonderful year”) because I will make it different. One of the big changes concerns BiblioBuffet. I will talk about that next week on the anniversary of our seventh birthday.

While I don’t make New Year’s resolutions—having, like many people, made and broken them in the past—I do make a change when I want something to change. I do now. I am ready for my past to help make my future. Are you?

Upcoming Book Festivals and Fairs:
Unfortunately, there are no book festivals or fairs until January (and that’s not far off).

Currently Reading:

  • All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. It’s an oldie, it’s a classic in the annals of political literature—and it’s as good as I remember (even though Deep Throat is now known).

The Pub House:
Skyhorse Publishing, founded in 2006, is a relatively new house. It has four imprints (Arcade Publishing, Allworth Publishing, Sports Publishing, and Sky Pony Press) and has already published more than 2,000 titles in a wide variety of genres in fiction and nonfiction. Among their newest books is the twentieth anniversary edition of Spring Creek, a memoir of an angler’s passion for trout fishing but even more so of his knowledge and perceptions as he learns how to fish more wisely. The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker is a collection of this famous author’s cult classics that will specially appeal to lovers of vampire fiction. (All three of the novels—The Jewel of Seven Stairs, The Lady of the Shroud, and The Lair of the White Worm—were published after Dracula but are less well known though equally good.) Did you know that the famous Route 66 is still 90 percent drive-able? According to Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America’s Main Street the experience takes “determination, grit, and a good sense of direction,” but it is worth it. The author and his traveling companion took the highway for 2,400 miles through eight states, throwing in with their own experiences surprising and obscure stories about personalities (Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, Al Capone, the Harvey Girls) tied to it, anecdotes of happenstance travel, the route’s history, its rise and fall in popularity, and its now-affirmed place in legend.

Imaging Books & Reading:
Father Time is taking a reading break! Good thing too because he’ll need the time to rest and enjoy some peace and quiet this week.

Of Interest:
It’s well known that books can be used for things other than reading like book art or safes, a weight or flower press, a social barrier on a plane, train or bus (or even at the breakfast table), a soporific, a learning aid, mental comfort food. But in “Secret Lives of Readers,” Jennifer Howard discusses how scholars are using books to look at how people, over time, have interacted with books as well as other printed materials.

The scholars involved with RED didn’t want just lists of reading matter. “It wasn’t enough to record a reading experience. We wanted to know where it took place,” Eliot says. So they took pains to make sure the database record forms could capture other kinds of descriptive information about the reading experience. Did a reader’s encounter with a book or newspaper happen in daylight or by candlelight? Was the book read out loud or in solitude? On the move or in bed? Eliot talks about a kind of punctuated reading dictated by stagecoach travel, in which a reader jolted along rough 18th- or 19th-century roads might snatch a few minutes with a book at inns whenever the coach stopped to change horses, kind of like how travelers now might read in the airport lounge before boarding.

Today’s readers, at least in the West, tend not to fret about having something to read and light enough to read by, “because books are so cheap and light is so cheap,” Eliot says. British readers of earlier eras were not so lucky. Unless they could afford oil lamps or beeswax candles, they had to deal with messy, smelly candles made from tallow. Those imperfect sources of light required frequent trimming and were a fire hazard. Under such circumstances, “reading has to be choreographed,” Eliot says. “You have to stop and trim” the wick as well as avoid setting yourself on fire.

Quite a different experience from leaving a paperback on restaurant chair or having the battery on your e-reader run low, though maybe some day scholars will be studying that too.

Until next week, read well, read often and read on!




Contact Us || Site Map || || Article Search || © 2006 - 2012 BiblioBuffet