Friday, March 12, 2010

Feeling better, thanks to book bargains!

Today at work, I was feeling kind of blue. Parts of my day were somewhat productive, but I also had a difficult request, took quite a while to find a library that owned the right volume of the journal, one that also would hopefully not charge us an arm and leg for a 10- or 12-page article. I did get the request done with half an hour left in the day, and was able to pack two boxes of books that had been sitting in the back room way longer than I care to recall, and that felt pretty good. I'm having an important visitor in the library this coming Wednesday, and want to get some more things straighened up before then. Today wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, but it was an okay start, and I still have Monday and Tuesday to keep at it.

So anyway, Hastings is having a Friday-and-Saturday-only sale that includes "Buy two used items -- mix and match books, CDs, DVDs, and video games -- and get the third one for $1.00." During supper, Jeff and I watched a movie that he'd gotten from the library (The Boys and Girl from County Clare, I really liked it!), and then I went to Hastings on my own since the boys didn't want to go. It seemed like there were bunches of books I was interested in. After I had four in my hands, I went and browsed the DVDs for maybe 15 minutes, had one particular title in mind but didn't see it, so then went back to the books. I stopped to call Jeff and let him know I had four books in front of me and had to decide which ones I was actually getting. He was nice about it and it sounded like the boys were getting along for the most part.

After I talked to Jeff, I started looking at the section of Used Book Recent Arrivals, and found three or four more in that section that I took from the shelf and added to my arms. (I forgot to mention, I also got my Heath Mocha drink, so I was sometimes juggling the books and the cup, sometimes putting the cup on the shelf or the pile of books on the floor, to browse more easily. I did not drop or spill anything, that's always good!) I was most tempted by the poetry, finding several by authors I was familiar with. So there I was, back in the cafe, at a table with what remained of my drink plus seven or eight books scattered in front of me, flipping through and reading poems, trying to narrow the field to the final three.

The only book I knew I was getting when I went into the store was Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. That's our book group choice for April, and I'd called Hastings this morning to ask if they had a used copy. That book was the first in my "I have to buy this one" pile. What else did I end up purchasing? A small book of essays about poetry by Mark Strand, entitled The Weather of Words: Poetic Invention. Flipping through that one, I became enamoured of the end of one piece that includes this statement about a poem can do: "It allows us to have the life we are denied because we are too busy living." This book was already drawing me in, I bought it.

The third one is a more unusual and potentially embarrassing selection. It was in the philosophy/Zen/meditation section, but is also sort of "self-help." I am intermittently drawn to self-help-type books, usually related to moods and/or depression, or related to one's relationship with food/one's body size/one's weight, and how to change from the twisted and scary and dysfunctional relationship one has, to a more normal/less obsessive/less food-addicted relationship with that aspect of oneself. The thing about a lot of these books is, I either start reading them and don't finish, or I regret buying them before I even start. (This is more true with the eating/body image books than the moods/depression books -- but I've had it happen with books in both categories.) But this one was really calling to me, so yes, I put away John Ashbery, Sharon Olds, and N. Scott Momaday, and purchased Genuine Happiness: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment.

If I could ever make a committed effort to learn about and practice meditation, it would likely have a positive impact on both my moods and struggles with depression, and my less-than-healthy eating habits. So instead of getting another "You're Fat," or "You're Miserable," or even "Hey, You're Fat AND Miserable!" book, I got a "You Can Be Happier" book. It just felt like the right one to choose. (And it's a hardcover that only cost $4.99!) Hopefully I'll be able to work it into my near-term reading plans. Recent and near-term reading will actually be another post, hopefully this weekend, because right now I need to close up and get myself to bed -- it's almost 1130pm. But I had such a great time browsing and buying at Hastings, and got three books for less than $14.00, and watched a good movie with Jeff, and had my oh-so-good Heath Mocha Frost... it was just a good evening, after a not-too-super day, and I really needed to share and celebrate it. :-)


Marie said...

You would have loved the Montague Bookmill in Montague, Mass., which I visited last weekend and featured in my blog photos. They had fairly sizable sections of used lit crit and poetry books, and the prices weren't bad! It's also a lovely spot to sit and read, and their cafe had some good food! I also found some nice books, including Sylvia Plath's Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (which I surprisingly did not own) for only $1.50!

You read my mind... Mediation may just be the thing for us types (whatever that means)! ;-) I have been considering learning and practicing meditation since the year began. My depression was very bad this winter and I hit a wall where I felt I needed to do something soon or else... There is a meditation center just down the street from us and they have a free open house every month for those who are interested in finding out what they are all about. I may try check it out, but I also know that their classes are pretty expensive for my budget right now. I'll probably just read about meditation first before I jump into it.

Did you see the 3-part documentary, "This Emotional Life" on PBS a few months ago? If not, that is also worth checking out! I really want to read Dan Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness now... Have you read it?

OK, I have proven to be the world's longest comment writer! Have a nice weekend!

Marie said...

P.S. Oops! I meant, "MEDITATION may just be the thing for us types (whatever that means)!" ;-)

HeathMochaFrost said...

Hi Marie - I really like when you leave me long comments, since your new blog is all photos! The photos are great, a lot of really interesting views and scenes, and way better than the pictures I take, but I miss reading your words. I can't help it, I'm just a texty kind of girl. ;-)

The Montague Bookmill sounds wonderful, I wish I could go!! And I'm glad you found Johnny Panic at such a great price. Book bargains are one of my favorite things!

Funny that our minds are both leaning toward meditation lately (and/or mediation, medication, wish I could afford a vacation, etc.). I'm sorry to hear it's been a dark winter for you. My moods were decent considering all the snow and frigid days we had -- I could have been a lot worse off than I was. But yes, if we've been thinking about meditation, it's worth some investigation.

I heard about that PBS series but unfortunately I didn't watch it. Thank you for the link; I just jumped over and watched the overview, and it does look really good. I'll try to track it down! I'm sure I'll want to read Gilbert's book too, after watching the series. ;-)

Hope you have a good weekend too, in spite of that huge rain storm over the Eastern part of the country. On the plus side, at least it's not snow again. Thanks for stopping by and "chatting"!