This morning I ordered another book I had just read about in the New York Times, “When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains,” a true story, and I am hoping it’s as good as the excerpt I read online.
Time will soon tell as it will be arriving on Saturday, giving me just enough time to finish “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” a really nice book I had read a long time ago. I remembered I had liked it but couldn’t remember much else about it, so I bought a used copy from Thriftbooks to have another go at it. It arrived yesterday. I am almost a third of the way through it and still enjoying it as much as the first time around.
What had brought it to mind again was another new book, “The Girl From the Channel Islands,” set in the same general locale and time period, which I am also currently reading, but not loving as much as I had thought I might.
The immediate cause of my book-buying problem is that I have been going through a period of withdrawal since blowing through my final Louise Penny “Inspector Gamache” novel a few weeks ago. When you get really into a series, in this case 16 books worth, trying to transition into something else can be hard. I hadn’t actually recognized that as the cause of my recent literary rootlessness until my friend Cogi mentioned she was having the same problem herself. With the next Gamache book not due out until Aug. 24, we have a long dry spell ahead of us and a lot of froggy books to kiss before finding a real prince to love again.
But to be brutally honest, that’s probably only the most obvious of the book related problems I seem to have been grappling with of late. The others may be more a matter of too much time, too much opportunity, and a lot more money to spend now that I’m not bowling, golfing, playing cards, and eating out, coupled with a complete lack of will to change until my circumstances change.
Not to be harping on the whole pandemic thing again, but the fact that it has effectively choked the living snot out of the busy, involved, happy life I have so enjoyed post-retirement and tossed me onto the trash heap of solitary existence and boredom has not been at all pleasant.
Cursed with a genetic intolerance to alcohol, I have instead drowned my sorrows in books and puzzles. The problem with that, though, is that I have gone on a months-long bender.
The puzzle thing seems to have finally stabilized since I started buying bigger, longer-lasting ones and farming the used ones out to anyone willing to take them once I’m done.
The book thing? Not so much. Mostly because of my almost daily perusing of the Book Section of the N.Y. Times and weekly browsing around the local bookstore. Reading blurbs, sampling, buying, and then stacking them up, all with good intentions. With very few exceptions, I don’t even keep the ones I’ve already read. I’m like the Johnny Appleseed of the book world, passing them along to all and sundry and then putting them out in my Little Free Library once they come home to stay.
And still they pile up.
The “read next” stack on the table by my reading chair now has 11 books in it with four more scheduled to be delivered before the end of the month.
Directly across the room from where I am now sitting are three more piles of books I would someday like to read should I live so long, with 10 in one stack, nine in another, and seven more on the right with three baseball caps stacked on top (two of the hats, like the books, bought on a whim, the other is my Patriots golf hat, eagerly hoping to be dusted off and put back to good use again later this spring).
In short, I am surrounded by books everywhere I look, and although I am reading as fast as I can, they are steadily gaining on me ... but I’m not ready to change my ways just yet.
Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.