Monday, October 11, 2010

202/206 Soccer and Books

It’s always a coin toss. 202 or 206 home from New Jersey.  Driving to clients in South Jersey is easier than my other standard options….trains and planes. I’m especially inclined to want my car and my unimpeded ride home when my meetings are over. Nothing worse than finishing a meeting and then sitting around Newark airport…drinking swill awaiting a delayed flight when the flight time is only 45 minutes—once they decide to actually fly.
So when I’m in the Bernardsville area my choices for accessing I-95 South are Routes 202 or 206. 206 takes me through Princeton and when I’ve a moment to spare, it’s fun to traipse around Nassau Street and the campus. But not as fun as it used to be…for it seems that every time I stop in Princeton, another quaint little shop or bookstore has gone the way of Starbucks or whatever. 
Route 202 takes me down to the Delaware River and either New Hope on the Pennsylvania side of the river or Lambertville on the New Jersey side. My choice the other week was 202. So with a couple of hours to kill I decided to hang out in Lambertville and reconnoiter a bit.
Look at this shop window. Do ya think they knew I was coming? It's as if they said..."Hey! ADG's gonna be blowin' through here tomorrow. Let's assemble a few of his food groups and throw 'em in the window."
There’s no shortage of art galleries and junky antique shops but I took a pass on them. But Phoenix Books is a superb way to burn an hour or two. Surprise, I stayed till the owner threw me out.
I could have stayed another hour…or three.
I can’t imagine a life without books. So for the balance of the ride home, my passengers accompanying me courtesy of Phoenix Books included Peter Duchin, JMW Turner, Sir Richard Frances Burton and that little imp,Truman.
So after a hard fought no-score soccer game three Saturdays ago, LFG and I scurried over to the National Book Festival on the Mall. But before I update you on the book festival, let me just say that it isn’t too enjoyable seeing these kids really bust it on the field and conclude with a no-score game. Even though it’s fun watching my daughter play, no-score games kind of have me feeling like I’ve watched two mules fight over a turnip.
But what a difference a year makes. The National Book Festival last year was chilly and wet. I was ill prepared for the elements so LFG got the Barbour and I got…wet. This year celebrated books and almost ninety degree heat and sun but my faith in literacy is slightly restored. 
I declared a few posts ago that “people don’t read and write anymore.” I know that the Book Festival is a small sample and I know that it attracts a precise subset of constituents but still…it’s nice to see people excited about books and authors. 
And my little LFG was willing to stand for almost an hour to meet Norton Juster and Jules Pfeiffer…author and illustrator, respectively, of The Phantom Tollbooth. Talk about staying power…Phantom Tollbooth was published in 1961. 
We were so far in the back of the queue that I had to keep pep-talking LFG and assuring her that we’d make it to the author/illustrator before the signing session ended.
I’ve never seen an author at the National Book Festival not stay until every book is signed. The Juster-Pfeiffer table limited the signing to names only—no personalization and very little small talk since each book received double scrivening. 
But Pfeiffer warmed up to LFG, and this was after he’d already signed a gazillion books. If he'd raised his Village Voice to LFG in an unkind way I'd a been on him like a rat on a ....well you know.
Grumpy old men and deservedly so. When you’ve collaborated on a book that’s been around since 1961, you’re gonna get fans of all ages, shapes and colors seeking you out. Here's Juster and LFG.
What’s more entertaining to me is to listen to children ask authors questions about books. LFG and I made it over to the Judith Viorst talk and found her amazing. 
She’s almost eighty years old and is as crisp and lucid and funny and animated and stylish as ever. I respect her for Necessary Losses which is a book I recommend for anyone in transition. But her kids stuff is great and she read from her upcoming children’s book.  Here's a line from it that LFG and I won't soon forget...“I wanna-I wanna-I wanna wanna get-a bronta-bronta-bronta-brontasaurus for a pet.” Shut up.
It doesn’t end there. Toad sent me an email about John Julius Norwich memoirs being published so of course LFG and I tracked it down. Duff Cooper was his daddy and what a daddy he was. Read the Duff Copper diaries if you wanna really get a complete definition of bon vivant.
Then I kid you not, LFG and I are in yet another book store and I get an email from Toad while we are in the store, cluing me in on an MI-6 tome. Of course we bought it on the spot. I love when Toad spends my money. And he spent about fifty bucks worth of it the other weekend.
So of course my literary man “Hilton” commented on one of my posts and reminded me of the reissued A Moveable Feast so I checked it out. 
Christopher Hitchens' review of Feast suggested it best be re-read accompanied by Hemingway’s Paris. So of course I had to track down that companion piece—now out of print. And now at my house. Anyone wanna come over, sit in my lap and read? Not you Hilton, one of the chickees.
I dropped LFG off yesterday afternoon and as usual, tried to delay my re-entry to CasaMinimus. The post LFG Sunday come-down and mostly the silence is still after all these years, a bit of a gut-punch. So why go home right? Instead, let’s go to Second Story Books on P-Street near DuPont Circle. Easy way to burn an hour or two.
Joseph Mitchell…what most amazes me about his words is that they come from a fella who spent the first nineteen years of his life in Fairmont North Carolina. Tobacco country similar to my father's upbringing. I lent my copy years ago so at ten bucks, we pounced and restocked.
So fifteen bucks gets us Mitchell and a great little illustrated-annotated flurry of fun facts Bloomsbury.
Onward, reading and writing. 
Sans LFG.

ADG, II

47 comments:

The Lost One said...

Judith Viorst is almost 80? Wow. Tempus Fugit.

ADG said...

LostOne.....yes! She's 79 and is still "with it" in a cool way. Really, I could only hope that my time flies with such lucidity and aplomb. I trust that all is ok with you.

Turling said...

Spectacular. You're doing right with LFG if she's that excited about the books. Keep up the good fight.

Mal said...

Agree with Lost One, Viorst is almost 80?! Wow-
Looks like a great weekend, beats a trash pickup event on Lake Martin with the Boy Scouts.

Be well-

LPC said...

Here's a link for you with books for LFG's age, written by a young woman thoroughly immersed in children's literature. You might know them all, I didn't. BTW, if I could think of any way, any way at all, to use the term 'mules fighting over a turnip,' I would.

CeceliaMc said...

Oh, my goodness! Rooms of books AND danish modern teak!

Where I live, there used to be an ancient man who sold books from his multi-storied home (ha!).

Walls filled with books in every room. Even the kitchen. The public could go anywhere but his bedroom, and he once tried to coax me and my daughter in there.

He wasn't as Victorian as his house.

Your pictures are wonderful, especially the one of your baby girl reading. That would be lovely painted, to hang on the wall of your grandchild's nursery, someday.

Thanks for those photos, and for the reminder of The Phantom Tollbooth.

Anonymous said...

I envy your time spent book shopping in Princeton and Lambertville. Some of the best parts of my youth (the pre-misspent part) were spent in New Jersey and Bucks County, PA. Now that my New Jersey relatives are gone, there isn’t anything to bring me that direction. Enjoy the books.
Best regards,
JRC

Main Line Sportsman said...

Big admirer of Burton...that book will be a good read...I did a post on that famous "swordsman" a while back....
When in Lambertville....Hamilton Grill!!!

Officer & Southern Gent said...

As cool as e-books on a Kindle/Nook/iPad are, they are still a shadow of the real thing. I hope there will always be a place for the brick & mortar corner bookshop - spending an hour or three in one is my idea of heaven.

An aside: one of my biggest thrills as a father has been watching my kids take joy in reading a good book.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Well done sir! Any amount of time passing on a love of books and reading is more than well spent. I'll issue you all library cards when you visit the manse.

Just got "On Paris" after waiting for nearly a year. Hemingstein writing dispatches for The Toronto Star.

Anonymous English definitely not a Chickee said...

ADG - just thoroughly enjoyed reading/re-reading the Hemingway re-issue myself. Hitchens may make a fair point but I'll pass on your offer...

yoga teacher said...

My lit-degreed heart was broken when, for a year or so, my daughter lost all interest in reading. Thank heavens for the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series. Sucked her right back in. Last week we had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Richard Dawkins. I'm not really a science girl, but my kid is, and the big brain was so charming and brilliant I will actually read my autographed-though-also-not-personalized copy of "The Greatest Show on Earth."
Does Phoenix Books have a cat? I miss cats in book stores...

ADG said...

AmonEngFem...it is a great re-read isn't it. Duly noted on passing the offer but also remain mindful that it was an offer for the chicks.

Elegantologist...You need to read Janet Flanner's Paris dispatches as well.

Officer/SouGent...indeed. However, I believe that at some point, most of the good book stores will be the secondhand ones.

MainLiner...thanks and thanks for the Lambertville recommendation. I rarely find myself there at eat/drink times though.

JRC...trust me man. If I didn't have business reasons for trekking through said parts, it would never be a destination for me.

CeceliaMc....thanks. You shoulda slapped the creepy old man.

LPC...thanks but there was no link contained in your message. Alas. And another thing Prunella, I just don't know how in the world a woman of your station could ever us the mule/turnip phrase. Maybe at your local farmer's market? But only amidst people you've never interacted with before. Otherwise, they'd check you for a fever.

Mal...Lake Martin is better for it. I got drunk there one time. Surprise I know.

Turling...thanks. I damn sure hope so.

AnonEngFox said...

ADG - well, quite. And I'm about as chicken-ish as you are - never mind, can't shatter the illusions of 2500 women across the NE corridor...

Preppy 101 said...

I know how you feel on Sundays sans LFG. It's the same feeling I get when I leave my children after a visit. The leaving is just plain hard. I am always so sad, even a bit teary for the first 200 miles of my trip. Then the tears wane, thank goodness. I just got home about 2 hours ago. I find the absence of their company overwhelming. But I adjust, and to quote you - onward. xoxo

Flo said...

You're such a gem. As a Dad, as a spinner of yarns, reader/reflector, and I bet even as an ex. Been there first hand for the apres visitation drop off gut punch. Devastating. Brilliant of you to make a stop to reload prior to re-entry. I counted 4 food groups through the window display, including the carpet. Somehow I bet there were 5. Carry on.

James said...

Her persona is such a perfect fit to yours.Soul mates to be sure.

NCJack said...

Re Joseph Mitchell: I knew his family, a long line of real gentlemen farmers. And I can say that your first nieteen years in Fairmont give you a gen-u-ine sense of gratitude for and wonder at the wide world outside. But I think a man who is at home with that "two mules fightin' over a turnip" phrase knows that.

ADG said...

NCJack...yep. I'd say Fairmont and Horry County South Carolina are similar in that rather gen-u-ine way. And regarding mules...my grandfather still used mules and "tobacco drags" when I was a little kid. I used to ride on them and drive the mules. I was scared shitless of the mules but I never let on. I also "handed" tobacco when I was a kid.

James...thanks.

Flo...you've been drinking again.

Preppy101...I was just thinking a little while ago. You don't really conquer that feeling, you just learn to "be" with it 'till it dissipates.

AnonEngFox....2501. Thanks.

CeceliaMc said...

hearing Richard Dawkins. I'm not really a science girl, but my kid is, and the big brain was so charming and brilliant I will actually read my autographed-though-also-not-personalized copy of "The Greatest Show on Earth."


Next time you see him, ask him him that if in his imaginings of earth's alien benefactors, if he might consider that one of them is God.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in learning about your and/or LFG's impression of Phantom Tollbooth.

I don't know how to underline (or anything else) in a comment box.

yoga teacher said...

Well, CeceliaMc, that's what we imagine, too. I did not mean to ruffle any feathers. Will be more careful in the future. Our little group of several (and one of no) religious affiliation(s) attended for the science. I personally believe something as elegant as evolution can only come from a Supreme Being (and, again, there are several Names). But I certainly respect those who differ, since faith, by its very nature, is a gift that can't be proven.

Tickled Pink And Green said...

You had me at Bernardsville. Use to love dinners at the Bernardsville Inn when we lived in Bedminster back in early 90's. Oh it was sooo pretty this time of year. Love old bookstores and treasure my sweet little old copy of Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class I found in one.

CeceliaMc said...

"CeceliaMc, that's what we imagine, too. I did not mean to ruffle any feathers. Will be more careful in the future. Our little group of several (and one of no) religious affiliation(s) attended for the science. I personally believe something as elegant as evolution can only come from a Supreme Being"

Well, Dawkins would differ from us, yogateacher.

That's why I'm interested in challenging him.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

I share the love of book stores (you have no idea...), but not of Hemingway. I studied his books while in my teens. Hemingway was a first-class 100% All-American pr*ck and I would have loved to have punched him out had I lived at the time. American bastard.

Richard M said...

Just ordered the Duchin book; should be a nice read. I believe he was raised by the Harrimans.

ADG said...

Richard...yes, Duchin has lived an interesting and robust life. He doesn't say too much good about Pamella Churchill. Surprise I know.

LagunaBeach...I had to read Faulkner early on in undergrad and haven't been able to do so since I loved many of Hemingway's stories though. Your hubris re "punching Hemingway out" offers me a fun chuckle this morning. I like your assumption...that if, and I don't doubt you'd get one punch off, you DID get a punch off, you would punch him out. Papa would have opened your snot locker so fast your head would spin. Blood and exudate dripping on your Cleverlys. (kidding)

Yoga and Cecelia...I don't see any feather ruffling....it's all good.

Pink/Green Tickled ...yes, the Bernards Inn remains nice dining venue. I stay there from time to time. Had friends who lived around the corner from there back in the early 1990s.

Pigtown-Design said...

wish i'd known you'd wanted the duchin book. i found it at BT a few weeks back and tore through it.

xo

Gretchen said...

oooooh, bookstores! The hardest thing for me to do when I moved around the corner was getting rid of 6 boxes worth of books. Almost as awful as the angst and loneliness I feel whenever the girls are away for longer than a few days, so I understand how miserable you must feel, not having that little cutie with you all the time. Melancholy. And on this sad day, learning that the proprietress of Politics and Prose has left this sweet earth, thanks for news of some good places for a road trip. Used to hike thru those parts visiting a friend in Basking Ridge back in the early 90s but havent driven through there in ages. Come visit a great little second-hand bookshop on Maryland Ave in Annapolis after the godawful boat shows end. You could then stop in and chat with Chance (probably one of the ONLY well dressed men in town) at Laurance at the top of Main Street. Waiting to hear how many fight for whom you select for the lap read!

Anonymous said...

You get me into so much trouble with my husband... Books are like air to me and the last thing my hubby needs is someone encouraging me to buy more! I have a large pile of Updike my mother found for me at a second hand store waiting for me because at the moment I am re-reading Fitzgerald because I thought it would be fun to read him in chronological order (to see the changes in writing you know) of course that lead me to purchasing Portrait of a Lady because I thought it would fun to compare that to House of Mirth (long story on that one) and so on and so forth as you can see my I am always off on a tangent and one book leads to another and of course now I am thinking how wonderful to finish Fitzgerald and start Hemingway! So I did order the Hemingway's Paris from Amazon because as soon as I read 'discontinued' a sense of urgency kicks in. Oy.
P.S. If you are ever in Portland, Or check out Powell's Books. It is a whole city block! They give you a map when you walk in the door. Everytime I go to Powell's I feel like I am hearing that movie /tv heavenly chorus music and seeing a light shines down over the doorway. It is awesome.

Patsy said...

I was always the kid with her nose in a book, I wish LFG a lifetime of good reads.

My most favorite book store in all the land: http://www.parnassusbooks.com/

SouthernProletariat said...

I am very jealous of the National Book Festival...

Pigtown-Design said...

Gretchen... if you're in Naptown, c'mon up to Baltimore and visit The Book Thing! ALL OF THE BOOKS ARE FREEEEEEEEE! You will go insane!

Summer is a Verb said...

Food groups lol! And, I'll take the book report on Hemingway's Paris sir! XXOO

ps...your requisite mention of the week'll be up tomorrow. I'll expect my dues along with the book report!

Elizabeth said...

LFG is adorable, and it's awesome that you're encouraging her love of books. And I too am filled with National Book Festival envy.

Gretchen said...

Meg, the Book Thing is just what I need, as stalking our lame arse library is getting incredibly old, and my Amazon expenditures are insanity personified. If I can just get ADG to loan out that MI6 book once LFG finishes it, life will be very good indeed...almost perfect, if I could ever learn to make a decent martini at home. Alas, that's what the local watering holes are for, I suspect, to keep us from hibernating like hermits, reading blogs, books, and such!

Flo said...

I know you're working on your reservations for Amelia Concours d'Elegance, March 2011. Before you lock anything in, remember to set aside a day for Chamblin Bookmine in nearby Jacksonville, 3 locations.
www.chamblinbookmine.com

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

ADG ~ Hemingway, the little curly-haired girly-boy who served as a nurse in the Great War and spent the rest of his life trying to live it down before he ended the psycho-torment with a shotgun blast to the face? Yeah, I'd have had no problem flooring such a bastard. (j/k)

ilovelimegreen said...

Don't tell LFG that the only time I played hooky from school was to read books!

CeceliaMc said...

"Don't tell LFG that the only time I played hooky from school was to read books!"

Oh, my lord... The million times I played hooky from school was to drink cheap wine while driving 90 miles an hour down dirt roads, talk on the radio via my DJ boyfriend, and poise as a substitute professional manicurist so my glamorous "older" friend could go to Vegas for a long weekend, with the blessing of her boss.

PLEASE PLEASE tell my daughter I only skipped school to read...

ADG said...

MegTown...Well stop equivocating and damnit…make me come up to Baltimore.

Gretchen...There was, years ago, a great used bookshop on West Street as well. And I think Laurance is a great shop.

AnonymousTroubleHusbandLady…I get lots of women in trouble with their husbands. I’ll be in Portland the first week of December. Powell’s here I come.

PatsyParnassus...Thanks.
SouthernProletariat...They’ll let you come next year.

AllieVonCammoTan…thanks for the mention. Where do I send the cheque these days? Is your phone number still LANdmark489? Love from your brother in the back of the station wagon. “Mama, stop slapping me…Allie started it.”

Elizabeth...thanks.

Flo...Thanks. I know Jax well. LFG’s mother and I were married in that little Episcopal Church on Ponte Vedra beach.

LagunaBeachPoolBoy…I’ll give you that Hemingway and his father and his brother and his granddaughter had the “off-yourself” gene. No doubt. But he never had curly hair and he never was a nurse. He “lived down” being an Ambulance driver who was severely wounded. Kinda smacks of being a failed mercenary no? F. Scott was the curly haired girly-boy and my money’s still on Hemingway. Settle down now.

Ilovelimegreen...liar. You played hooky to smoke cigarettes and chase boys.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Hemingway was an effin' fraud and he knew it, hence the contrived macho pose. Suffering from a host of issues, ol' Hem was. As for the 'poolboy' comment, and given what I know about the inferences of the word 'boy' in your area of the continent, I shall withold comment for the time being. Shame.

Tickled Pink And Green said...

Oops I meant Bernards Inn. Obviously my memory from the early 90s isn't so hot. ha...

Also hubby played golf sometimes with friends at one of the most beautiful country clubs around there that I've ever been to... Fidler's Elbow. Weird name but it was gorgeous. I miss those New Jersey days...

ADG said...

LagunaBeach...Ok, I'll stop...but it's fun sparring with you. that particular "boy" inference wasn't even part of my thinking. Truce.

TickledPinkie...Yes, I played Fiddlers Elbow too. Beautiful course. I'm assuming that your hubby visited Gol House...the PGA headquarters.

Flo said...

Sure, Christ Church, been there many many times over the years. I'm an old Jax relic, descend from pre-Civil War founding greatgreatgrands, with attending imperatives. My brothers remain entrenched, one in Avondale, one in Ortega, I got out alive, one town over. Chamblin remains a delight.

Hilton said...

Thanks for the compliment, ADG. I'm present with you here daily.

I was in Politics & Prose on Monday. I'm sure by now that you have heard the sad news of Mrs. Cohen's passing:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/11/AR2010101102811.html?hpid=dynamiclead

Young Fogey said...

Wuz gunna tell all y'all about Powell's but was beaten to it.

Wuz gunna say sumpin' about arch-anti-theist Dawkins but got beat to that, too.

Dag! Ain't there nuthin' I can talk about here?

ADG, you look like a pimp. No, wait. I can't even say that, cuz all we see is your sockless foot in a penny loaferette.

Well, guess what I can say is thanks for reminding me of The Phantom Tollbooth. I read that a zillion times as a kid, but couldn't dredge up the title. I'm going to have to get a copy for my children before too long, and at least now I know what to get.

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