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The Games We Play

Friday, 17 June 2011
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A shiver of anticipation runs up my spine when I catch glimpse of the cover, peeking out over the mail basket. The actions are always the same; slip it under the mail pile until I can safely spirit it away to another room. I go about my afternoon and evening activities, all the while impatient to get to my private reading. Later, much later, I eagerly flip through the pages. A cursory survey, meant only to satisfy my impatience as well as whet my appetite. Reaching the end, I go back to the beginning. Slowly fingering my way through each page, lingering only on the pictures that capture my attention.

The Bas Bleu catalogue has arrived. Or, as I like to think of it, pornography for the bibliophile.

Several times a year, a catalogue appears in the post. Not once have its contents failed to delight, intrigue, and amuse me. And I don’t peruse its pages for just the pictures, of course. I love the witty, insightful book reviews about each carefully selected book. I play the following game each time: if I was forced to choose only twenty-five books from this issue, which ones would I pick? (Books only; no other items permitted, please. Also, it’s the first twenty-five that catch my attention.).

Though the Summer 2011 Catalogue recently arrived, I am still very much enthralled with its predecessor. Without further ado, and in order of appearance, my list of must-haves from Spring 2011:

  1. Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms
  2. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Book Matter In a Distracted Time
  3. Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong
  4. The Wives of Henry Oades
  5. Smarter By Sunday: Fifty-two Weekends of Essential Knowledge for the Curious Mind
  6. Pictures at an Exhibition
  7. Endless Night
  8. The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes
  9. Flying by the Seat of Your Pants: Surprising Origins of Everyday Expressions
  10. La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language
  11. Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books
  12. Nightingale Wood
  13. The Happy Hollisters
  14. 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement
  15. Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy’s Story of Survival, 1941-1946
  16. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  17. Dancing with Mr. Darcy
  18. My Life in Graphs: A Guided Journal
  19. The Truth About Unicorns
  20. The Imperfectionists
  21. Two Old Women
  22. Names on the Land
  23. The Thinker’s Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words
  24. The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter
  25. Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children

A reminder that these are merely the twenty-five books that first caught my eye in this one catalogue. Not much effort would be needed to select other titles. Not to mention the website…the wonderful website…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 17 June 2011 9:23 am

    The Thinker’s Thesaurus? Sounds like you!

  2. Friday, 17 June 2011 12:07 pm

    Can I leave my job and just read all day?!

    I’ve heard wonderful things about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks…and know several people who couldn’t put it down.

    Happy reading!

  3. Friday, 17 June 2011 2:32 pm

    that’s quite a list! can’t wait to get started. thanks 🙂

    p.s. to you and to jane – my book group did henrietta lacks and i didn’t manage to get a copy (library was out of them) and someone in the group said that i should just read the wikipedia entry about her – it had all the relevant information and they felt that the book wasn’t well-written and felt like it had an odd agenda. so…if you’re looking to cut any from your list. not that you would 🙂

  4. Friday, 17 June 2011 2:33 pm

    p.s. the thinker’s thesaurus sounds like it would belong in a fancy nancy book 🙂

  5. Saturday, 18 June 2011 7:15 am

    Did you really have to add more to my reading list? Did you really have to remind me of my reading addiction…the way books invade my pores and fill my nostrils with longing?

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