As do most book lovers, I love used book stores. The narrower the walkways, the more precarious the stacks, the better.
This afternoon, I went into the city (Washington, D.C.) with my love, Marky. One of the things we enjoy is strolling through Eastern Market, a historic farmers’ market/flea market not far from Capitol Hill. At one end of Eastern Market, there is a bookshop: Capitol Hill Books. We wandered through the stacks for some time, looking for treasures, trying to keep a reasonable limit on our purchases. Marky could not escape with fewer then five books. I managed to limit my take to three:
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Bend Sinister by Vladamir Nabokov
Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories by Italo Calvino.
I have not read this particular novel by Greene, though I have quite enjoyed others. Bend Sinister is a great name for a novel and an early Nabokov. Hard for me to go wrong with that.
However, I am most excited about the Calvino. I have not read him, though I have heard great things about him. The back of the hardcover I bought has gushing blurbs from two authors: Updike and Rushdie. Marky wanted to go in a clothing shop, so I sat on the curb and started reading the Calvino stories. My god.
When I finish the book, I will post a full review. But, judging by his first few stories, Calvino is sprinting toward my favorites list. I ordinarily would not say such things about an author, particularly after reading only a few very short stories. Sitting on that curb, though, I was both awed and struck giddy. I am in the middle of something else and this is a collection of short stories, so I will not drop everything to devour it. But the mere thought of reading another of his stories makes me smile.