Follow-up on my Kalevala post a few weeks ago: Last weekend I visited John K. King Books North in Ferndale, and came away with, among other things, an Everyman’s Library edition of the Kalevala, as translated by William Forsell Kirby. The edition I bought, two cute little volumes (smaller than a mass market paperback), was printed in 1936 and originally published in 1907. Hey, it’s an old text, and I didn’t need a 2009 printing… especially since the price was nice.
Old bookstores can be special places. They’re like mini-temples to all the books that have been published since Gutenberg made it all possible with his invention. Granted, few of them hold books that date back five centuries, but some, like John King’s, have a nice selection of books from the 1800s and early 1900s, along with a ton of contemporary used books. Plus, they frequently have cats. I made the acquaintance of a gray beastie when it meowed at me from near the back room. It readily let me skritch it and give attention due. Picture a cat in a Borders or Barnes & Noble; I bet you can’t do it.
Among the other books I picked up, pretty much by accident, was a used copy of No Plot? No Problem!, the book by the founder of National Novel Writing Month. I’ve read the first half of it, but can’t read the second half until I either decide to do NaNoWriMo, in which case I would read one chapter per week as November goes (each chapter is a pep talk keyed to the likely mental state of the writers that week), or I decide to not do it at all, in which case I can read what I want. I’ve been tempted by it for years now, but haven’t really tried it, and I can’t say I will this year, either, but it’s still intriguing.