A Bookman’s Tale: A Novel Of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is one of the first books in a long time that compelled me to stay up late and read at every free, and some not free, moment I had. I was totally enthralled by the combination of books, history, romance, and dysfunctional personalities. I must say that I nodded my head knowingly a few too many times at the personality quirks of the main character, the bookman, Peter Byerly.
Is this something peculiar to those drawn to books? Is it such a standard trait that we are loners, prone to anxiety, and attracted to not only the lore but the physical characteristics of old books? The worst problem with this novel, if it can be seen as a problem, is that it has reinvigorated my interest in book collecting and has already been the catalyst to a good number of new purchase. I even started measuring my study this evening to ascertain whether or not I have enough room to add another book case. And for those keeping count, that would be a fifth case within that room.
If you are interested in books, in English history, in a good mystery, or a bittersweet love story, I would highly recommend A Bookman’s Tale. Along the way you may just learn something about Shakespeare and the exciting, yes really, world of rare books. I eagerly await Charlie Lovett’s next book. Luckily I don’t have long to wait; First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen is due out in just a few weeks. Yes, I have already ordered my copy.
I have been wanting to do this for a few years, and have been, it seems, annoying a few people with that desire. I was finally challenged to put up or shut up via a gift certificate for my birthday. Yesterday I took the bit in my teeth, or the needle in my arm, and headed downtown to do the deed.
I actually ended up with Chuck at Pepper Shade Tattoo which is the sister shop to Blu Gorilla and is right across the street (and some railroad tracks). Chuck is a friend of my long time buddy Ingrid Tugwell, and so came highly recommended. The shop was cool in that funky tattoo parlor kind of way, though I still cannot get over listening to Milli Vanilli in the place. I am hoping it was just a poor choice by the radio station.
Yesterday I spent a good part of the day hanging out with what one person described as my “tribe”. The tribe being that group of people who is interested in some of the same things I am. In this case it might have been a fairly eclectic tribe; those folks who are both in to British cars and trains. You see, yesterday members of The British Car Club of Charleston visited the home of member and model train collector Mike West.
Now I have known Mike for about thirty years, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I discovered that he, like me, has a things for trains. He started on this hobby when he was just a kid back in the forties and still has some of his original model trains from back then.
I was reading some short passages this weekend in Charleston Magazine from back in February of this year. Yes, I am often way behind in my reading. But these short works in a featured titled “In Love with the Lowcountry” reminded my of how much I love the cemeteries and churchyard of my home town.
When I was in college many years ago I used to steal away with my books, often poetry, and sit in these ‘fine and private’ places. I could read, recharge my spirit, and be at one with the history of the old city. I still do this from time to time. It helps that I am member of one of the churches that has a churchyard that offers such solace. But, also I seek others out. Magnolia Cemetery is a wonderful haven.
So indulge me, if you will, for a few pictures and a few favorite lines of poetry.
“…we’ll close our eyes,
To the decaying world,
till angels bid us rise.”
— from The Christian Year
by Rev John Keble Read more
I am very happy to say that a model train store has finally opened in the Charleston area. While we have had a couple of chain craft and hobby stores available, they do not have staff who are really tuned in to the model railroader and neither do they seem very interested in developing the market. So this has been a veritable desert for model railroaders for about the last 8 to 10 years. But now that has changed. Train Town Toy & Hobby, the shop of Jim and Nancy Donlon, has moved to downtown Summerville. They used to be located in the Richmond, Virginia area, but thankfully for us they moved south about a month ago. David Geddings, my friend and co-worker, and I visited the store for the first time today, and we found it friendly and welcoming.
I talked for a short while with Jim Donlon, and he said one of the things he was surprised about when he moved here is that most folks seem to be into HO and N scale. It seems that he said in Richmond most of the folks he knew were into O. This is quite evidenced by the fact that the store is stocked primarily with Lionel. There are sections of HO, N, and G, but most of the space is dedicated to O. And I will tell you, he has some great items.