slipping into anywhere

It's no secret that I love bookstores. I grew up literally surrounded by books. Books in piles and stacks made created the feeling of possibility and in many ways--home. Every room in my parents' house has a bookcase, including the kitchen which has two. I feel happy, light, at peace when I'm around a lot of books. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't have a full bookcase. I recently discovered a cool used bookstore in downtown Urbana. I spent hours browsing for books among the shelves and stacks on the floor. I found some really cool books for my research, actually. The selection was small but focused and I was impressed that they had a copy of a book I'd been needing. I loved walking among the aisles. I could have been anywhere. That's one of the things I love about bookstores, especially small, used or local bookstores--amid rows and rows of books I feel safe and home, though I could be far away. Every time I visit somewhere new I want to find a bookstore, if just for a moment to slip in and feel completely at ease.

Last night was the book exchange party and it was fun to see which books people were "fighting" over. The prized book seemed to be Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. It does look like an interesting story about a man in Depression-era America who drops out of vet school and begins working at a second-rate circus. Because we had taken three books, Michelle and I ended up with the following books: Suite Franciase by Irene Nemirovsky, who was arrested and detained at Auschwitz, where she died of typhus. The notebook containing her writing was preserved by her daughters and published in 2004. Blindness by Jose Saramago I've wanted to read for some time. It's about an epidemic of white blindness that begins affecting everyone in the city. To get this I had to play the game a bit dirty and "steal" it from one of the party-goers. I also got The Bookseller of Kabul which I'm really excited about, too. It is a non-fiction book written by journalist Asne Seierstad about a bookseller and his family in Afghanistan. None of the books I got are written by Americans, which I think is very cool.

I made cheese straws, well more like cheese squares and despite the fact I did not have a rolling pin and had to make do with a biscuit can, they turned out really well and very yummy. I asked M's mom and grandmother to test them for me. M's grandmother asked for the recipe, which I thought was a very good sign. So yay for me trying something new. I'm making chili tonight since it's supposed to be in the teens and has started to snow again. To be honest, I actually like the snow. Not necessarily driving in it or dealing with the craziness of other people's driving. Also, I hate the gross sludge of dirt and salt when the snow begins to melt. But staying inside and watching the snow fall, that's wonderful.