Spring Is Here! & a Library Book Sale


We love the early spring! Our winter was not bad, but we were all tired by February and are now outside enjoying the weather.

Some trees are in bloom, some have already lost their blossoms, there are dandelions and violets (not enough for dandelion wine or violet jelly),  tulips and daffodils are out, but I have seen no lilacs.

And here’s the sure sign of spring:  lawn mowers.

The men are out with their machines all weekend.   You will be sitting in your backyard, pleasantly enjoying iced tea and a book, when CH-CHUG-CHA-ZZZZZZZZZ. There are many types of machines, mowers, edges, and is that a chainsaw?  Couldn’t they find something quieter?

There are a few women who mow:  they get the job done and are gone.  I did mow half of the yard when we first moved here.  I got blisters, and  my husband insisted on taking over.  Very nice of him!

imageSpring comes on very fast.  Just a week ago, I snapped this dark photo. You can see the grass is patchy, and the woods are still brown. On this particular day, the bicyclists were out, the walkers were out, occasionally a whole team of of  RAGBRAI riders went by (preparing for the seven-day cross-state ride in July), and  track team runners from the nearby college.


The library seems to cancel books only so we can buy them. We came home with some astonishing finds:

imageNo, I can’t believe it either. I haven’t read the American writer. Suzanne Berne, but her first novel, A Crime in the Neighborhood, won the Orange Prize. Yes, the library is really getting rid of Virginia Woolf:  this isn’t in the best shape, but I did see several other titles in very slightly better shape. I can only assume they have other copies.  This beautiful Everyman’s edition of Graham Swift’s Waterland appears never to have been opened. I’ve heard of Dubravka Ugresic and was very happy to find her book.

imageI have read Susan Sellers’ Vanessa & Virginia, a novel about Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, but decided I would like to own a copy.  Two by Isabel Allende: her work is superb, but I have not read all of it. John Updike is always brilliant–we thought he’d win the Nobel, but the Swedes apparently hate Americans and haven’t given it to an Amercian writer since 1993–and this is one of his last novels. I have enjoyed both the award-winning Alvarez and Rushdie..

So what is my challenge this year?  Read my library sale books!  It should be possible, yes?

10 thoughts on “Spring Is Here! & a Library Book Sale

  1. Wow – once more some amazing finds Kat! It’s always lovely to find such treasures but vaguely worrying too – I end up wondering if the library has replaced them with modern bestsellers…


    • I know! And they’re dirt cheap. I wanted their discarded Angela Thirkells but couldn’t find them! This library discards many more books than other libraries where we’ve lived. It has gotten better in the past few years though. Still, a lot of good nbooks gone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Spring here too. Over on twitter I’ve been posting photos of my differently colored flowers and small blooming maple tree — leaves a very pretty dark red. Today and tomorrow are going to be hot already (aargh! over 80) but the weather will go back to pleasant cool yet balmy spring by Wednesday.

    How was Virginia and Vanessa? Margaret Forster would have made a wonderful book of that (she wrote on Gwen John, a biography of DuMaurier, and powerful memoirs and novels). She died this year (I had almost said, too, perhaps of cancer, never announced). I loved Waterlands — fascinating meditation on what we call history, how narrow what counts as history and how our perspectives shape what we see. All dissolving away ….


    • Yes, it’s nice to have an early spring here! It has gotten up to 80, but there’s no humidity so far. That makes so much difference.
      I loved Vanessa and Virginia! It’s a beautiful little book. There have been several about these two in the last few years.
      I loved Margaret Forster and am so sorry to hear she died. A generation of writers I love is dying.
      I read Waterlands years ago and am sure it’s worth rereading.


  3. You have read the latest entries on my blog and seen that April is my month about spring writing – with side dishes or as a side dish to books. We are in the middle of spring: it only needs some more warmth. Men in France are as awful as men in the US with lawn mowers, hedge cutters, and other machinery. But I do not have to complain as a new gardener is coming this wee to cut and mow the grass at home!

    I find your book buying entrancing. I did that in former times but English books were always new: no library sales or harity sales for them in France! I have heard of “Virginia and Vanessa”: it seems a fine book. Odd to get rid of Woolf’s work. I hope they have other copies. I have hear of “Waterland” and know it is thought a great novel. Isabel Allende has written very good things. And what a pleasure to find Rushdie. Nver read Updike: I don’t know why.

    (tongue in cheek) Yes, it must be your challenge of the year (if you need a challenge) to read your books bought in ALL sales! 🙂


    • Oh, spring must be lovely in France! We don’t usually get weather like this till May and I am so happy to see the flowers. Well, hired gardeners often get through their work quicker than the guys on the weekend. I don’t know why the machines have to be so loud. They’re louder than cars!
      Yes, we’re lucky with book sales, but we have trouble finding French (which I don’t read, by the way, but my husb does). If the postage were cheaper I’d send you books, but it is outrageous now. It used to be $30 for one book (outrageous) but now it’s double (or more). I can’t think what they’re thinking!
      Graham Swift is good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would not have you think I am begging for books! 🙂 I am lucky to live in a house where there are plenty of them. But there is pleaure in being acquisitive, and browsing and buying are compulsive and additictive.
        A friend of mine sometimes sends me books from the US through Amazon.com since he has no access to Amazon.fr. I told him to stop: postage prices were higher the prices of the books or CDs. As he is not the most patient of men, he also wanted the pakages to arrive quikly and that was even more expensive. I told him to use the US postal servie connecting with the French one it is slower, still expensive, but less than the quicker ones. Why are they making exchanges so difficult, I cannot understand.
        I have put down Swift in my TBR wish list!


  4. A P.S. Now that I garden a little, I wonder if gardening is a social performance too. I know how the garden looks is important to people because they want to be seen as making a “nice neighborhood” and make one. But maybe beyond doing something which uses up energy and is not tied to money or promotion or whatever (like petting and playing with one’s cat or dog), they are enacting a form of distanced social life.

    I say that from your insight into the different gender-inflected ways men and women mow. Yes I don’t remember seeing a woman on a mowing machine. In winter it was men who came out with snow-blowers and dug out the intersections, other people’s sidewalks. And I don’t see women mow as a regular thing: in my area it’s rare for a woman to come to your door to offer to dig out your snow for money. The one woman I’ve seen more than once come to my door looked very bedraggled, in need of money — and she was (I thought) too old to be doing it.


    • Ellen, the men here have push lawn not riding mowers, but they are out there mowing all the time (well, our block is rather long so there are a lot of people). They do like to be out there with noisy machines (perhaps don’t know what else to do, as you say, and this way they’re outside). Yes, there is pressure to have a perfect lawn, and some have landscapers and beautiful gardens. We like seeing the dandelions and feel a special bond with others who go “organic.” (We are organic by virtue of not poisoning our lawn and putting nothing on our veggies! )The poison some use or hire done goes right into the groundwater! I hope some of it is organic, but I doubt it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s