Friday, August 31, 2007


Moving tales

I've only had a few people notice that the bookshop was closed for, oh, ten days or so. At least, only a few people have mentioned it to me. By staying away so long I seem to have successfully alienated everyone else. So it's been a slowish few days, and now I'm about to take off again, for the long weekend. Tra-la-la, the free and easy life of the self-employed.

House update: the closing was quick and easy and as expected everyone made lots of money from it except us. The good news is we had some money left over, and even - get this - got a check back from the lawyers because they told us the wrong amount needed for closing. As soon as we had the house keys in hand we lumped the spare futon in the backseat of the car and started camping out in the house. And cleaning it. The previous owner has a Great Dane, and there was dog hair everywhere. In the closets. In the toilets. In the fridge. I told my uber-dog-loving friend Bee this, and she said, "What's the problem? Dog hair is a condiment!" Sure, if it's your dog. Anyway. Cleaned the house for two days. Absolutely LOVE the house. Then spent a few days packing everything back at the apartment. Packing the book room took up most of last Friday. At the end of it I was too discouraged to take pictures. Frankly, I don't want any evidence to remember it by. It really did come to a hundred and twenty cartons, give or take a tote bag or two of oversized items.

Moving day came, finally, and... no movers. They stood us up. Twice. Early morning and late afternoon. I despaired. I had visions of having to rent a U-Haul and move everything ourselves at the last minute, because it was too late to find anyone else. The agony! Luckily, the movers didn't stand us up a third time. They came a day late and really I could have kissed them. But they were all sweaty from moving my books, so I didn't. I tipped them instead. Now the books are in boxes in our hallway, outside the new bookroom. The bookshelves are in place but need a few shims here and there before I start unpacking (one of this weekend's wee projects). I'm looking at these boxes, these many many many boxes, and I'm thinking that I love my books, but my god, I am a total nut. So as I unpack them I am again going to prune and cut and sort. I am resolute on this issue. No more unpacked boxes of books lurking in closets and attics ever again. I mean it.

One of the best moments in the house thus far: with the house we inherited a small vegetable garden that is just beginning to bear and one evening last weekend I went out and cut some fresh basil and picked the first of the tiny ripe tomatoes, made a simple sauce, and put it over pasta for supper. After years of downtown apartment living, trying to grow edibles in flowerpots in not enough sunlight, I can eat food from the backyard again. I grew up on a small farm, so this means the world to me. Delicious.

A few notes from the universe of books:

Ian's ad in the Sept/Oct issue of Fine Books & Collections has that great photo of his son sitting up a tree lost in a book, and it sure looks good. Page eight. Way to go, Ian! Raising that boy right!

A member sent this great article about scurrilous online booksellers (so-called mega-listers) to our Maine booksellers' group. It sure makes me want to read for-sale listings much more carefully when I'm ordering books online.

Hervé has just launched a new site about the antiquarian book world: Antiquarian Book News. Check it out. I'll be watching it and reading to find out what's what in the world of rare books.

I'm reading, browsing in, whatever, Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (Macmillan 1961 reprint) - Ryan found it for a dollar at the last library sale we went to, two weekends ago now. 1362 pages. Lots of bookish stuff in there, such as ink-slinging (authorship, journalism - p.424), and non-bookish but darn good anway, like fleas, jumpy as a bag of (extremely nervous, 'windy' - p.285). What can I say, it's very funny and interesting, and this is what there is to read. And all my books are still packed up. Except for the thousands in the shop, I should say. Which, if I suspected I wanted to read any of them, would be at home too.

Welcome Back!! I'm so glad you finished your move. I missed you at your store and I don't even live in Maine. Just a quick note because I'm going out with Steve tonight to eat appetizers and drink cocktails, just like grown-ups. Two things, just finished the Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (now I'm going to have to read some of his other books that one was so much fun AND I'm going to have to order "The Believer Magazine"!) but he quotes Gabriel Zaid from HIS book 'So Many Books' saying "the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more" Right On!! So, you're ok, just shelve those books, who knows when you'll need to read one of them.
Jodi - Nick Hornby has a second collection of articles from "The Believer" - just as good, if you loved the first one, like I did too!

I have not lost my composure YET. Or my desire. It's close, though. I do have the desire to not build any more bookcases. Does that count?

Have a great night out - have a shirley temple for me!
Congrats on the move going relatively smoothly. Im glad to see you back as well. But I am confused. I am assuming you still have your original shop, yes? So how far from the shop did you move? Are you still in Bangor?

If you have sold the shop (which seems to sound like it - as in giving away the keys), Will you open another shop? And is that why you have so many books in your house?

Sorry, but your posts haven't made this clear and I wanted clarification. I miss reading your blog.
Having moved shop twice in the past decade, I'm
enjoying immensely your recent posts--vicarious is

Sarah, I am delighted to hear that you are snug in a new home that you love!
Hi historia - sorry about the confusion - I get so wrapped up in things and I don't mean to be unclear. We moved from an apartment to our first house, twenty-five miles away from Bangor. All those books at home: I have a large book collection of my own (apart from what's at the shop), and so does Ryan.

Sarah's Books is (are?) still Sarah's Books - it's all still mine and the shop remains in Bangor, hence all the books at the shop also remain in Bangor. We're commuting for now, though I am considering moving the shop in the spring, closer to home, closer to the coastal main road. But right now I refuse to think about packing and unpacking any more boxes. It's been a long week.

About those keys - our friend Brian moved into our old apartment as soon as we moved out, and someone else was waiting for *his* apartment, so we wanted to get him the keys as soon as we could. Besides wanting to be in our new place. The keys to the shop remain firmly on my keychain!

Thanks for your comment, Marci - wow, moving shop twice... bookshops need ninety-nine year leases, that's all there is to it!

Hey Vicky - mostly unpacked (except for the books), and it's really feeling like home! We absolutely love it. Come visit when we get more settled.
Thank you so much for clearing things up. I do appreciate it.

No problem. We strive for clarity, here at Sarah's Books.
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