I have inadvertently happened upon my most favourite kind of day. A book day.
That isn't to say I'm reading. No, not at all. A book day is any kind of day that revolves around inhaling musty, dusty old pages, and being surrounded by binding.
They can include a day relaxing in the library at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a day free of appointments where you lose yourself in used book store after used bookstore, a day where the waitress politely ignores the fact that you've been glued to the booth in the back corner for the better part of the day and are now paying for refills by the pot, not the cup.
Or it can be the kind of day where you open a beer and sort through seven boxes of books from a mystery period of time, like I'm doing tonight.
Coincidently, earlier today, a co-worker and I waxed nostalgic about that cliche literary coming of age we all had--Catcher in the Rye, Hunter S., Ayn Rand, Vonnegut, et al.
And here they all are. From Lenny Bruce and Black Like Me to Aldous Huxley and Drinking, Smoking & Screwing (and I assure you, a few variations thereof), These are the books that, from the time I was 18 through 24, made me think I was brilliant. Hey, I was cool. I had the Tom Robbins, the Vonneguts, the HSTs, then the "classics" like The Chrysalids, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the not-so-classics like, A Child's Garden of Grass: The Marijuana User's Handbook, and Going Down (an anthology that's not about elevators).
This unpacking thing, though, is such a trip. I've been wondering of late where some of these books were. Why I had them one day, and never saw 'em again. Like this one, for example: Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy. It's the anthology to end anthologies on religious thoughts--from the Bhagavad Gita and Chinese mysticism through to Christianity and Islam. For some reason, it's really been on my mind, and I recall lately thinking, "Damn, I wish I'd read that!"
That's right, I haven't read it. No, I bought it when I lived in Whitehorse and I thought, "Man, I wish I was the kind of person that could devour that book." The reality, though, is that when I was in Whitehorse, I was 21. Hell, I wasn't smart enough to understand this book if you'd fed it to me with a spoon.
Honestly, I'm probably still not. Big words don't necessarily daunt me, but the fact is, I hate it when they gang up on me. All those syllables joined together, confronting me on a single page. Oh, that's just no good.
I suppose I could just try to be a little smarter. Hmm. I kind of like my "lazy intellectual" thing I've got going, though. Smart enough to know better, but too lazy to do something about it...
I do digress. I'm thrilled to have found my books. Now, though, I'll have to put my money where my mouth is and read the Huxley. Fortunately, I have that nasty habit of reading six books at once, so if I play my cards right, I can draw it out over six months.
We'll call it the no interest, pay-as-you-go intellect purchase plan. On approved credit, of course.