Today is Paul's last day of summer vacation: tomorrow we return to our beastly get-out-of-bed-at-5:30-a.m. routine. To me, who's been driving him back and forth for soccer all summer, it feels as if he's never stopped going to school. He feels differently, however. And watching him cram his summer reading assignment into the last week of summer vacation reminds me that I never told you about my fabulous haul at the Blue Hill Library's book sale, which Tom and I bounced into as we made our way home from Stonington last Saturday.
* Two giant volumes of V. S. Pritchett: Complete Stories and Complete Essays. (You may know Pritchett as a master of the short-story form, but he also wrote excellent literary essays on practically every famous pre-1950 writer you can think of. [By the way, unlike some editorial pedants, I'm not against ending an informal sentence with a preposition.])
* A sweet, teeny-tiny edition of Thomas Love Peacock's novels Nightmare Abbey and Crotchet Castle. (Tom R., you told me to read these and now I can! [I'm torn about whether or not to insert a comma after these. Technically, it belongs there. Chatterbox-wise, it does not.])
* A crappy old paperback of Coleridge's Writings on Shakespeare. (I've been needing this book for years, and now I own a copy that will shed all of its pages in a single dramatic molting. [When dealing with the metaphysics of literary-linguistic self-destruction, I believe that no grammatical commentary is necessary.])
* A slim, hardbacked, second edition of Robert Francis's 1943 collection The Sound I Listened For. (When I opened the book, I immediately stumbled into the poem "Juniper," which describes the exact place on earth where my in-laws' house now sits. It's crazy how books are always leaping off shelves and biting me.)
From where I live, from windows on four sides
I see four common kinds of evergreen:
White pine, pitch pine, cedar, and juniper.
The last is less than any tree. It hugs the ground.
It would be the last for any wind to break
If wind could break the others. Pines would go first
As some of them have gone, and cedars next,
Though where is wind to blow a cedar down?
To overthrow a juniper a wind
Would have to blow the ground away beneath it.