Saturday, September 04, 2010

In the Footsteps of Erasmus

Getting laid off from a job you've had for 26 years has a tendency to alter your perspective a bit. I know it's altered mine, but that's nothing new. Life is usually filled with perspective-altering events; it's all about how you react to them. At least that's my philosophy.

My mother and I lived in this house until her death in 1995. This went from a two-income house to a one-income... and the smaller of the two to boot. Everything I had was focused on paying bills and keeping this house. I subsisted on carrot sticks and apple juice that first Christmas season. I still eat carrots, but apple juice is a rare commodity in Casa Kittling.

At that point in time, my huge TBR pile was a wonderful thing. I had proved to myself that cataclysms do occur, and it's wise to hoard books against them.

Now that I've got less disposable income, I find myself very reluctant to turn loose of it. Lately I began to feel that I'd been very, very good, and I deserved to spend... just a little bit. I had my day planned: a stop at Michael's to take a look at the latest yarn, then Barnes & Noble, which was very close by. Just across the street from Barnes & Noble is Burger King, and one of their fish sandwiches certainly would taste good. After lunch, I would stop at the grocery store and pick up a few things.

Well... the only thing I did was stop at Barnes & Noble. Erasmus, writer of one of my favorite quotes, got hold of me and wouldn't let go. I had thirty-year-old yarn I had yet to use; I didn't need to see the new stuff. That fried fish would only sprint to my hips, and if I stopped at the grocery store, I wouldn't be able to resist putting a bag or two of chips or cookies into the cart along with everything else. No, no, no. I only had a little money, and I was going to spend it all on books!

Here's what I walked out of Barnes & Noble with:

 Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich. Had to have this one, since Paperback Swap had already sent me Sizzling Sixteen. Can't read 'em out of order, oh no!

I'm reading this one right now, and although I've laughed a few times, the thrill is gone with this series, I'm afraid. Evanovich needs to create a new cash cow.

Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart. I've been drooling over this one for months, and I did a happy dance right there in the bookstore when I saw a copy of it on the shelf. (Good thing no one else tried to reach for it at the same time!)

The cover of this book reminds me of the gates to the Poison Garden in the gardens of Alnwick Castle in England. The docent and I had such a nice chat about hallucinogenics....

 The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill. I've learned the hard way that these Dr. Siri mysteries set in 1970s Laos just don't show up on Paperback Swap. Once people get their hands on them, they tend to keep them. Shows you how good they are, doesn't it?

Now I will share mine but not until I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Case of the Missing Servant: From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator by Tarquin Hall. This book has proved to be another one of those that just weren't showing up on Paperback Swap, and I got tired of waiting.

I've seen several favorable reviews of this book, so I can't wait to read my first contemporary mystery set in India.

I may have had plans for needlepoint, cooking and a meal out, but everything condensed into four books. I'm just as happy as if I'd done everything on my list. Books have always been able to satisfy a place within me that nothing else can. Are any of you the same way?

And speaking of all of you reading this, have you already read any of these four books? Any recommendations you'd care to share? Do tell!


  1. I too have had good times and bad times when it comes to finances but I've always had books - even if sometimes it's second hand cheapies or multiple trips to the library each week. Part of the reason I do tend to buy more than I need for immediate reading when my finances are good is that my personal experiences tell me that there might come a time when I won't be able to do so and I'll be glad of the books in reserve. The other reason is that I like to support the authors who make my life better when I am able to do so (then I won't feel so guilty if I have to resort to library only periods of life). I can definitely understand how buying some books you really wanted would satisfy your need to treat yourself just as much as doing all those other things, actually going to a bookstore and coming home with something is the one thing I miss these days (books are so expensive here that I have virtually given up buying them from anywhere other than book depository where I can get 3-4 books for the price of 1 book bought in a store here).

    Enjoy your new acquisitions

  2. We both have our jobs, thankfully (despite my poor health), but we have had some unexpected expenses this summer. So no holidays abroad, just some wonderful weeks in our own cottage. And the other day I could not help it any longer; I ordered six books and told my husband. "That´s great," the dear man said. So as you can see, I´d better keep him!

    I have The Merry Misogynist on my shelf, and after having enjoyed the first so much in August, I am really looking forward to it. I saw a very positive review of The Case of the Missing Servant recently, and if your review is also positive, I´ll probably put it on my list.

  3. I never could get into the Janet Evanovich books, although I know that they are beloved by many.

    I did love the Vish Puri book. Especially if you like Indian food (many luscious descriptions), it is wonderful. My mystery group read it several months ago and we were all impressed.

    Enjoy your books, Cathy.

  4. I've been a subscriber to your blog for a couple of months - I can't recollect where I found you but I enjoy reading your blog for recommendations. This is my first time commenting. I have to agree with you about the Stephanie Plum series. I loved the first ten or so but the series has grown old for me as well. I have had Sizzling Sixteen on Nook to read since it came out in June - I read the first few pages and never got back to it. I think I'm done with this series as well. She needs to take it in a different direction or find a new heroine. Trish - Omaha, NE, USA

  5. You are my kind of gal!! I love your priorities and agree with you on the Stephanie Plum book. I've read through 15 and haven't really been tempted by 16.

  6. I've always loved that Erasmus quote too. States my philosophy to a tee. Since I'm also a natural born Scrooge, I fight with myself a lot! I feel entitled to buy as much as I like at book sales but haven't bought any new books for ages. I feel a splurge coming on.

  7. I gave up on Stephanie Plum several books back. The early ones were really funny

    I just found the Colin Cotterill books. I plan to read all of them.

    The Wicked Plants book sounds fascinating.

    I continue to appreciate your blog.

  8. Bernadette-- Supporting authors is always a good reason to buy books. I am so thankful that I live in a country where books are still affordable.

    Dorte-- You and I are both married to keepers. :)

    Kay-- Thanks for the thumbs up on Tarquin Hall's book!

    Trish-- Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! The series has been limping along for quite some time as far as I'm concerned, but as long as it made me laugh, I didn't mind; it was a guilty pleasure. Now the laughs are much fewer and farther between. Unless something happens that actually makes me hate the books, I will probably continue to read them-- but only as they become available on Paperback Swap. I won't spend money on them.

    Kathy-- How's that old song go? "The thrill is gone...?"

    Barbara-- A little splurge now and then is good for the soul. It's rather claustrophobic being a Scrooge all the time. (Voice of Experience here!)

    Joe-- And I appreciate you. Thank you!

  9. I love book shopping! It's so hard not to go over budget in a book store. :)

    I read and enjoyed both Wicked Plants and the Vish Puri mystery. Hope you like them too!

  10. I read Wicked Plants and it was very informative. I hope you enjoy that and my husband was out of work for a year and then got another job this April and may be laid off from this one. Don't despair it'll get better, but at least you have lots to read.

  11. Alyce-- Thanks for the thumbs up on two of my books!

    Page-- Thanks so much for the encouragement. I'm not really in despair, but it is very difficult to keep worry from taking root in the back of my mind. Things will work out!

  12. I think I would have done the same thing..stop at the bookstore and spend all the cash I had that day.

    I personally ran out of steam for the Stephanie Plum series a couple of years ago. Then I decided I should go ahead and finish the series last year and decided to try them on audio. I have to tell you, I prefer the audio. I find them funny. The reads are light enough for the drive to/from work. If I had to read the printed book..I doubt I would, but if I can get my hands on the audio version..I'll gladly listen to it.

  13. Kris-- I can see where Stephanie would work better as audio. :)

  14. Cathy - you are a woman after my own heart. In my book you definitely get your priorities right lol.


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