Friday, August 27, 2010


So, I have something of a vacation tradition.

I get sick. For at least one day during any vacation my body goes into revolt to remind me who's boss. I thought I had beat the system this time, thanks to sound advice from The Roller Derby Queen, but I was mistaken.

I was finally forced to take a good old fashion sick day, drinking ginger ale and camping out on the sofa watching television (1).

This is why I have nothing funny or entertaining to report from yesterday. Because nothing particularly funny or exciting happened to me yesterday.

Well, except for I Love Lucy reruns.

Those are pretty funny.

1. Which is, truthfully, not entirely different than most of the other days of my vacation. Big points to Leopold for indulging my relative sloth.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Scene from a Bookstore: Part 2

Crouched on the floor in Sherman's Books, making a go at the bottom shelf of a great stack of great clearance books, I found myself in the middle of an exchange by one of the store's employees and a eleven or so year-old boy. She was placing some books behind the counter for him to pick up later as he struck up a conversation with her.

Kid: I have to say that this is the best bookstore in Bar Harbor that I have found.

Fantastic Bookstore Person: Well, thank you.

Kid: I've been in other stores. I was in the Waldenbooks in...Portland....yes, I believe it was Portland. I could not find the kind of book that I was looking for there.

FBP: Those big stores sometimes make it hard for independent bookstores like us to stay open.

Kid: When I was a kid...a really young kid...I read all the time. Those books for younger kids. But then I stopped for a while. Now I find that I'm really getting back into the habit again. It was great to find these books.

The conversation went on as FBP stopped in the middle of an afternoon tourist-filled bustle to have a conversation with this kid about books and reading and to make suggestions about other books he might like. 

Please mark another point for the independents.

Scene from a Bookstore: Part 1

Yesterday, while Leopold was hobnobbing with one of his fellow wizards (1) I checked out the shelves of Sherman's Bookstore.

Which is, actually, Sherman's Maine Books & Stationary...a long stretch of store on Bar Harbor's busy commercial stretch that boasts a strange and eclectic collection of books.

"Strange" only in the sense that, in addition to the books focusing on local topics and written by local authors (2) it was as though the folks at Sherman's sat around and imagined every possible vacationer and what it is they might read. Best sellers that you would expect to find in any bookshop (3) sitting alongside collections of essays and some really excellent graphic novels and books that are destined to make the "greatest book ever" list for one...maybe two people anywhere.

It was a bookstore about customers. A bookstore where a woman was excitedly pulling through the stacks while turning to an exceptionally bored looking teenager and calling out book titles in an attempt to spark some kind of interest.

Woman: Have you read Twilight?

Teenager: No (4).

Woman: Have you read Jane Austen?

Teenager: No. (Pause to allow voice to drop to that level of bored only experienced by individuals ages 13 to 16...) I haven't read anything.

The story ends well. Or, I hope it does, as Excited Book Woman purchased Pride & Prejudice and Emma for the Girl Who Has Never Read Anything, promising her that she would love it. That she would never put it down.

1. Yes. That's right. A Wizard of Oz reference. In the first line. How's that for vacation?
2. Which is what you do when you run bookstores in popular tourist locations.
3. Lots of "Girls" kicking things and playing with fire.
4. Yes. That's right. I found her. The one teenage girl not yet enthralled by another teenage girl's struggle to decide between the undead and a the dog faced boy of her dreams.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The world comes a knockin'

The hardest thing about vacation is that impulse that tells you you should be doing something.

That this is time that you should be putting to use. That this is time you don't have when the day job is calling your name...and e-mailing your name...and texting your name...and leaving voicemails for your name...and...

You get the idea.

I brought one project that needs my attention along with me on this holiday but a new one has already e-dropped itself on my doorway.

On the bright side it actually requires a bit of bookstore time during our trip, or at least a trip to the library downtown.

On the downside, the delivery of said message has made me a little bit nervous. Like I'm seeing a pattern start to repeat.

It's also started to make me feel like time is starting to accelerate. That this time away that I think I am placing way too much pressure on is going to go much faster than I want.

Which, as is always the case, makes me think there has to be a way to break out of this "waiting for vacation" mindset without Leopold and I having to kit ourselves out in a large refrigerator box or borrow a stack of cash from a guy whose name includes the phrase "no thumbs".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vacationland: Part II

It's official. We're on vacation.

I have already eaten pizza from my favorite place in the world.

I have made a dinner date with The Attorney.

I have found out that my other best friend from high school is now off the continent and back in town. Cocktail plans are currently in the works.

And I have read the Boston Globe.

A newspaper that still dedicates big, wonderful chunks of column inches to books and the kind of snobby lit writing one would expect from a newspaper from Boston.

Including this one, on the new trend of Hulk-themed Twittering.


Because, really, that's what the science was invented for.