Yesterday was nice: a day off work with no responsibilities. Though for a ‘no responsilities’ day I was in fact pretty responsible; twoloads of laundry, a trip to the post office, and TWO 10km erg pieces, morning and evening (the second one was so I could sleep late this morning). Then I went downtown to the good bookstore, stopped at the Apple store for better headphones, and had dinner at Gordon Biersch. It would have been awfully nice to have Ted around for the dinner part, but otherwise it was a good day.

Also, there were a rather astonishing number of online birthday wishes, and not one but *two* gifts containing the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything, appropriately for my 42nd birthday. From Mechaieh, setting (in four-part harmony!) of the Pirke Avot message, rephrased as “There’s more work than we can hope to see the finish of / but while we’re alive our job is to strive to do the work of love”, set in counterpoint with “Step by step the longest march can be won, can be won / Many stones can build an arch, singly none, single none.” If that’s not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is. Then as if to underscore that message, my brother/a> made that message live by sending a gift to Kiva in my name. (My brother has three modes of gift giving: none at all, kind of strange, or absolutely perfect, often something you didn’t know you needed. He hit that third mode this time.)

The book haul from yesterday (listed mostly as a way of fondling and gloating over them):

  • Diana Wynne Jones, Chronicles of Chrestomanci Vol. 3: I have The Pinhoe Egg in hardback here, but decided I really need a copy of Conrad’s Fate (I have one but it’s in storage in the US.) Getting the combination volume seemed like a good idea; my existing copies of both booksare in hardback, so now I have a more portable version for traveling.
  • Diana Wynne Jones, Unexpected Magic: I was afraid I had this already too, but the stories described didn’t sound familiar (as is common here, the book came wrapped in pastic so I couldn’t check. Looking at Amazon, though, I think the one I have is Mixed Magics.
  • Agatha Christie, Miss Marple Collection, Vol. 1: comfort rereading, and another good portable one.
  • John Masefield, The Box of Delights: never heard of it and all I know from Masefield is “All I want is a tall ship and a star to steer her by”. But I love that poem, and I think this book is one of those children’s classics I just somehow never came across, so I’m glad to find it now.
  • Kinky Friedman, A Greenwich Killing Time: the first of Kinky’s mysteries. I think the Kinkster would be very amused to find this and another of his books shelved under Literature instead of General Fiction (they don’t seem to have a specific Mystery section).
  • Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth. Book four – and unfortunately they didn’t have book three, The Titan’s curse. What I may do is eventually order book 3 in pb from Amazon, and meanwhile buy the audiobook for erging purposes. Should be good for if I do actually do that marathon.

    Rick Riordan, The Thirty-Nine Clues, mostly because I like Percy jackson.

Also a magazine, for good measure. (In style – I like looking at the clothes.)

Disappointments: I was also hoping for The Titan’s curse, Ysabeau Wilce’s Flora Segunda, and Philip Reeve’s Mothstorm (third in the series after Larklight and Starcross). Oh, well, that’s what Amazon is for.

Books. First you get the excitement of finding and buying them, then there’s the pleasure of the initial read, the satisfaction of knowing you have them, and then the ongoing pleasure of rereading old friends. What an investment.

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