In the Silence After

The Quiet Rabbit

The Quiet Rabbit

15 January 2013
11:50 pm
Edinburgh

T. —

For some reason, wordpress isn’t letting me upload photos, so I’ll have to come back and do it later. [fixed it!]

Today has been a good day: I have graduated from about 20% productivity to about 65% productivity, which means there were only a few things on my to-do list that I moved to tomorrow. What have I done? Well, decided to engage more with my life, for one. Also, computer-screen post it notes. They are amazing. I am so impressed. It’s helping me to direct my focus for my day. Although, I’m also still with you: I wish I could just read and watch films all day. I’m still in that place.

I’m moving on to book 4 of Harry Potter, which means I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban a few days ago. I’m dragging my heels before starting book 4 though for a few reasons:

1) I renewed it from the library, so I have at least until February to read it.
2) The first time I read book 4, it was my favorite. After a few re-reads though, I think it’s almost the saddest book.
3) I’ve decided that the second half of book 3, added to the first half of book 5 would be my ideal Harry Potter book. Those are my favorites. I just want to savor the end of book 3.
4) I am picking up 7 new books from the library today. Eeek!

I found a post about 16 books that are being made into movies in 2014 (Wild is on the list!), and I’ve decided to try to read a few of them. I’m also working on some recommendations, some curiosities, and some Jane Hirshfield poetry because it’s been a while since I’ve really had some.

Before bed I worked through The North End of the Possible by Andrew Philip.

Actually, before bed, I gained three new books!

We had a blind date book swap tonight at our house. What is a blind date book swap, you ask?

A new way to swap books:

Bring a few books from home you are willing to part with (if not a few, at least one), but wrap them up (with anything) before leaving home! Come over, hang out with other literary folk, and present your book as a blind date for someone!

(e.g.), “If this book were a person, it would be George Clooney in ‘Gravity’. It’s more contemplative than action-packed, but it will make you laugh. Lots of mystery, for someone who isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Pulitzer Prize winner. Looks good on your bookshelf, but will do even better in your hand with a cup of tea.”

If more than one person is interested in the book you are offering, you can ask questions to determine which person might be a good match for your book (swapping books you have already read and loved makes this part a lot easier! Otherwise, you can just guess and point!).

One part dating show, (‘Contestant Number 1, how much time do you have to dedicate to a new book right now?’) one part book swap, one part literary hang-out. Come over in January and get set up with new books!

The order of the night is that one person presents their book and describes it like a person. Some good prompts were “If this book were a drink, it would be ….” and also “This books celebrity best friend would be ….” After a few introductions like this, the group was allowed to ask questions. Some great questions that came up:

  • What kind of weather would it be?
  • Where would it most like to go on holiday?
  • What is this book’s biggest life goal?
  • Would this book be friends with James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or Jason Bourne?
  • What was written in its high school yearbook?

At this point in the round, the bookkeeper could ask for all interested parties to raise their hands and show their interest in the book. Then, the game switches over: the bookkeeper asks questions to those people in order to determine who might best enjoy the book that they have brought to swap.

It’s interesting: in order to determine who might like “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern best, I tried to ask “If you joined the circus, what talent would you learn?” But the answers didn’t give me any insight into who would enjoy the book the most, because, as Rory says: it’s not really about a circus at all. I mean, the circus is a character in the book. But the heart of the book doesn’t necessarily live there. I got far more insight from then asking: “If you had to survive on the streets of Victorian London, what would you resort to doing?”

The books I brought to swap:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  • Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Simple Pleasures: Little Things That Make Life Worth Living by the National Trust

The books I gained:

  • The Globetrotter Travel Guide to Prague
  • How to Pick Pockets for Fun and Profit: A Magician’s Guide to Pickpocket Magic
  • Ella Minnow Pea: A novel in letters by Mark Dunn (which I think you would love)!

*

What was almost more fun than gathering people together to laugh and swap books was the sense of joy while they were here, and how the joy lingered in the silence after they left. This is something I’d really like to do more often. You should try it with your friends, maybe? The trick is to bring books that you’re really passionate about and really want to share with other people, as well as to try to bring more than one book. It doesn’t matter if people leave with the same amount they brought. The fun is making sure the book goes to the right person. Quite a few people wrote down titles of books that didn’t ultimately go to them, just taking note of what they might like to read next. And one friend brought one book to share, then left elatedly with four!

*

Silence
Billy Collins

There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

*

Goodnight,
M

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