Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bookself #2-- Wrap-Up

I was really pleased to see how many of you were willing to share your impressions of me based on looking at the contents of one of my bookshelves. Thank you!

One thing that I do want to make abundantly clear: this is all "pretend", so for these Bookself posts it's quite all right to be sitting here talking with me and then jump up and start taking books off shelves. Besides-- you wouldn't be acting any differently than the friends who actually come to my house!

For starters, I'll show the shelf in question again to refresh everyone's memory:

Someone wondered what those spiral bound books were at the far left. Those are all out-dated books of city maps for places like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. I haven't gotten rid of them because I make envelopes with outdated maps.

Also mentioned were the dictionaries of mythology, saints and Latin. I've done a lot of reading both non-fiction and historical fiction in the medieval period of Europe when the Catholic Church ruled the roost. Latin phrases, saints' names...I'm prepared! I've also read Homer, the Aeneid and other classics where it's a good idea to have all the myths, monsters and heroes straight. The Atlas of Human Anatomy was published in 1963, and I've had it about that long. Mom was a firm believer in "if the child is old enough to ask the question, the child is old enough for an answer." Learning that old song "The hand bone is connected to the arm bone" made me curious about how the human body was put together, and I wanted to learn the real names of the bones. This is the book Mom bought me to help answer all my questions. I've never seen the need to get rid of it.

My mother and grandmother did a lot of work on our family history, beginning when I was about ten. It's one of the main reasons why I love history so much-- many times I know where ancestors fit into the scheme of things. Unfortunately I never caught the bug to go on and do genealogical research on my own, but I have been slowly putting all their work on computer.

Several of you expressed interest in the books on words and language on that shelf. Yes, I certainly do enjoy those, and I thought I would shine a light on one that would interest any "foodies" among you: Ladyfingers and Nun's Tummies: From Spare Ribs to Humble Pie-- A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names by Martha Barnette. Nun's tummy ("barriga de freira") is a sweet egg pudding found in Portuguese cuisine. Who knew that the names of foods around the world could be such interesting reading?

Yes, I am very much interested in photography! Although Arizona is one of the most photogenic places in the world, you have to be careful. All those wonderful colors routinely look washed out in photographs due to the extremely bright Arizona sun. I've been learning about filters that will prevent this, hence the book The Photographer's Guide to Filters. A Dazzle of Dragonflies contains page after page of fantastic dragonfly photography, and since those wonderful creatures show up here regularly (and I know of some of their haunts out in the wild), this book is inspirational as I try for "that perfect shot".

Most of you pointed out that I seem to have a thing about Arizona. I do. Even if I won the Lottery and could have my house by the sea on the Isle of Skye, I'd still live part of the year here in the desert. I'm originally from a small farm town in central Illinois, lived in Utah for three years, and in 1976 I moved down here to the Sonoran Desert and began my love affair with a climate and a landscape. Denis and I both love traveling off the beaten path. That's the major reason why one of our vehicles is a Jeep that was modified for even higher ground clearance. Books like the four you see above have helped us choose areas to explore and to know what to look for once we get there. Guide to Arizona's Wilderness Areas, for example, reminds me of a Memorial Day trip that Denis and I took. We loaded up the cooler and drove to the Kofa Wilderness Refuge (named for the King of Arizona mine). We were in the refuge for over eight hours, drove almost 200 miles while we were within its boundaries, and never saw another human being the whole time. It was a wonderful day! Many such trips are on paved roads though, so if you like to have similar outings, check your favorite bookseller because the books I have are parts of series, so there may be specific books for your state.

One book that no one mentioned (probably because it's so small and difficult to see on the shelf) is A Field Guide to Desert Holes. Yes, Virginia, there is a book on hole identification!

Gertrude Stein could say, "A rose is a rose is a rose" and get away with it, but saying, "A hole is a hole is a hole" could get you killed out on the desert. Different holes for different fanged and non-fanged critters.

When I saw this book on a shelf at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, I had to get it because it reminded me of a morning spent out on the McDowell Mountain Preserve north of Scottsdale, Arizona. I had a friend along with me who was in desperate need of unwinding, so I thought a walk out in the desert would be just the ticket. Only thing is, I forgot that she was a City Girl. If I had a dollar for every time she froze at the sight of a hole in the sand, I'd be blogging from my own private island in Tahiti right now!

"Cathy, I know that's a snake hole!"

"Bev, it isn't a snake hole, but even if it were, it wouldn't make any difference. This time of day, all the snakes have gone underground so they won't fry in the sun!"

"I don't care! That's a snake hole!"

It was a very long two-mile walk out into the desert. And then the City Girl insisted that we were lost. (We weren't...because I'm not a City Girl.)

"Cathy, we're lost!"

"Bev, you're the one who thinks she's lost. We are not lost!"

"We're lost! I bet you can't find the way back to the car!"

"I'll bet you five dollars that I take us right back to the exact position of the car in the parking lot."

"You're on!"

What happened? File this one little tidbit away: if I ever bet real money on anything, do not bet against me! Now I have this book on hole identification, and when I'm walking out in the desert with another City Girl, I can say, "No, that's not a snake hole. That's the den of a burrowing owl."

You all did such a wonderful job with this Bookself! You really can learn something about people by taking a look at the books on their shelves. Come back next Saturday and try your luck with Bookself #3!


  1. I'm a city girl, too, but I don't even know enough to know there's such a thing as a snake hole.

  2. I'm a city girl now, but wasn't always. I love nature and learning about it. Thanks for sharing your shelves with us...fantastic.

  3. Cathy, I have an award for you. (And notice: it doesn´t actually say in the rules that one has to BLOG about it ;))

  4. I love the snake hole story -- I'm not much of a city girl, but what brings a smile to my face is that one of my nephews at age 3 or 4 thought every hole was a snake hole no matter where he was or the nature of the hole. He, however, wanted to see the snake and would insist on waiting around until the snake came out. IT was sometimes hard to convince him to move along.

  5. Kathy-- Snakes don't dig their own holes, but they can be very good at taking over abandoned ones.

    Serena--You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. :)

    Dorte-- Thank you so much, you Sweet Thang, you! And I don't know if you noticed...but it's there (and I didn't blog about it)! You're getting to know me all too well!

    Beth-- LOL! Thanks for sharing that story about your nephew. I did something similar at roughly the same age, and my mother and grandparents quickly learned that I could be extremely patient when I wanted to know what was in a hole!

  6. Found it! I really enjoy the way you find your own personal solutions :D


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