I rode our “city bike” to the bookstore, because my bike is in the shop. This old clunker has a creaking chain, slipping gears, and black rubber handlebar grips that mysteriously rub off on my hands. Note the green plastic pedals: the neighborhood shop had no metal replacements. When an optimistic mechanic/RAGBRAI veteran offered to rebuild the bike, I had to say no because it was too expensive.
I arrived at Barnes and Noble with blackened hands. As Lady Macbeth said, “Out, damned spot!” I scrubbed and scrubbed my hands, and though they were not pristine, I could at least handle books without smudging the pages.
I would buy almost nothing, I decided. In the fall I usually reread Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, a retelling of the Tam Lin ballad set at a college in Minnesota, but this year I have made a new list of novels with academic settings. I did find a copy of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, but not F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Devil and Daniel Webster,or Joyce Carol Oates’s The Accursed.Well, my only hope is that the recently-fired CEO–who has filled Barnes and Noble with toys and novelties and done away with new book sections–will be replaced by someone who loves books.
Do you have a back-to-school reading plan? Novels set in academe? Or perhaps that calculus text?
I am so glad I don’t have to go back to school, though!