On the Grey Panther’s first trip, I brought lots of books along, but we read little. On this trip, I only brought a couple for Jim and me. However, we are both finding lots of time to read and we were running out. As we got into bed at night, we brought our books down from “the library”, turned on our reading lights and read until sleepy. Luckily, Jim borrowed a book in Sheridan, but I had finished mine by the time we neared Moab. I had bought Jim “Last of the Breed” a Louis Lamour classic which several of us had read in Dillingham, AK and would then ask each other “What would Joe Mack do?” when faced with and outdoor dilemma (Robin Stratton, Linda Hurley). I had just finished the first book in the “Neapolitan Series” by Elena Ferrante and figured I’d have to order from Amazon Prime if all else failed to get the next book.
We pulled into our primo economy hotel in Moab for a 4 day rest. I knew there was an independent book store in town and Jim dropped me off on his way to do guy stuff. No need to do Amazon, I emerged from the store after 30 minutes with a weighty bag—given to me because, um, of the large amount of $$ I spent. I wandered in and looked at the front display and was surprised to see Ferrante’s 1st book. I asked the seller if he had #2, full of doubt. Not only that they had 3 and 4! I added “The Book of Ove” to the pile at Joyce W. suggestion and turned to books for Jim. He rarely reads fiction (though he is deep into Joe Mack) and likes history and true adventure. Luckily the book seller (about our age) quickly grabbled two books. Also WWII I said. He went to history and pulled out a book, one of his favorites. I so, so love independent book stores for their understanding of books. The pile continued to rise as I added an Edward Abbey book and Craig Childs.
“Finished?” he asked. “Uh, not quite,” I said and added a couple of pens and cards to the pile. Meantime I watched the door that opened constantly letting in other buyers.
I surreptitously took a photo of the long grey haired, tattooed motorcycle rider perusing the stacks. Finally I was reluctantly done. We chatted as we rang up the purchases. “Funny,” he said. “People come in here all the time, take a deep breath and say, it smells so good.” I told him the that the highest compliment you can pay a Chinese scholar is to say “Your house smells like old books.” I left and climbed in the Sprinter.
Back at the motel, I shared the stories behind the choices of books for Jim and began the fun part—-rearranging them different ways to enjoy before we start reading. They smell so good.