Chapter 566 Topsy Turvy Summertime


Tom doing a front-flip into the swimming pool.


Huck doing a back-flip into the swimming pool.

Tom and Huck have been learning to do backflips this summer. I’ve been learning to try to catch them in action, as you can see above. I always seem to snap the photo at the exact moment when they’re upside down. That’s how this summer has seemed to me, too — upside down and a bit topsy turvy.

First, Tom is slowly inching his way towards being as tall as (and soon enough taller than) me. As his mother, the seemingly sudden reversal of who’s the taller person feels upside-down to me.

Secondly, Tom and Huck have had a whirlwind of fun activities this summer and been on lots of fun outings with friends and family — we’ve been to Giants games, the beach, participated in our local 4th of July parade, and went to the County Fair. However, both Thoughtful Husband and I caught whooping cough (also called Pertussis) in June, and, while we are not contagious to others at this point, we’re still recuperating and not operating at 100% of our full energy. It feels upside-down to me to be the sick person. I rarely get sick, and when I do, it certainly isn’t with things like whooping cough (which is at epidemic levels in the state of California at the moment). I was vaccinated against whooping cough as a kid, but — unbeknownst to me — adults also need that vaccine about every 5-10 years to extend their immunity. How I wish I had known that!

I keep hoping that having whooping cough will mean that I have a “free ticket” to loaf about and read in the name of recovering, but, when a household of four still needs to eat three meals a day and kids (who have been vaccinated and will not catch whooping cough) still need to show up at practices and playdates, I find I just plug along the best I can. What gets left out? Blogging and bookselling. I can’t believe I’ve only posted a handful of times in the past month! It’s not for lack of things to say, more just from lack of energy.

Remember this reading list? Well, it’s been turned upside-down, too, as others (including readers of this blog) have recommended more books to me. I’ve since added: Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic, by David Howard and The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker, which has been in my to-be-read stack for a long while. It’s quite possible I will not finish all of these books by the time my kids return to school — in a month! I’m going to try my best, though, because so far I like them all too much to remove any from the list.

I’ve accomplished almost nothing with regard to my plan to improve the look of my blog and my website. I’m disappointed about that. I haven’t spent much time actively quoting and selling books this summer, either.

I have, however, recently spent a good deal of time researching and buying some very good books and ephemera — the kind that are so good that they made me revise plans for Catalogue #2 and completely change my concept. These recent finds will require some research and biblio-sleuthing in order to catalogue them properly, and that’s one of my favorite parts of the job. I get to learn new things every day. I would also argue that, while both selling and buying are imperative to a successful antiquarian book business, buying good items when you come across them is more important than selling. Good items tend to sell themselves without too much work from booksellers other than to determine how to accurately describe them and how to reach those who might buy them. The hard part is locating, verifying, and buying the items that are good enough to sell themselves.

I know. I know. Experienced antiquarian booksellers and collectors everywhere are shaking their heads ruefully: “You’re changing catalogue plans mid-stream? Will Catalogue #2 take another three years, like the Dante Catalogue, to see print?”

I really hope not, but learned from Catalogue #1 to be non-committal when it comes to deadlines for catalogues.

So, things are a bit topsy-turvy around here, as per usual, really. I’ll be back again just as soon as I can.

See you in the stacks!

4 Comments

Filed under A Family Business, Book Finds, Catalogues, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Chapter 566 Topsy Turvy Summertime

  1. I haven’t been swimming in awhile. I’m kinda missing it now.

  2. Bill

    Chris Can’t believe you guys got Whooping Cough, my sympathies. Who knew that was still around. Hope you are better.

    I came on today to write about how I much I liked the Barbara Kaye books, which I picked up after learning about them on here. She is a good writer and really gave a compelling picture of life in Britain during and after WWII. Thanks. Have you read Seeing Shelly Plain about the Phoenix Bookstore in NYC? I am readin it now and find it interesting.

    • Good to hear from you, and thanks for the get-well wishes. I am slowly getting better, with a little improvement each week. I should be all better by the end of August, just in time for the September book fairs in Santa Monica and Sacramento. Whooping cough won’t kill an average, healthy adult, but it is nothing to mess around with, either. Mostly, I’ve just coughed a lot and felt very tired and lethargic. I’ve had no other symptoms — not a sore throat, nor a fever, nor a stuffy nose. Just lots of uncontrollable coughing fits. I can still go out and do most normal activities as long as they don’t make me get out of breath and start coughing. I am thankful for that, as my kids are out of school for the summer and they keep me on the run most days. We still don’t know how we caught whooping cough, as no one else we know has had it. Apparently, whooping cough is on the rise in California and is epidemic where we live, in the Bay Area, at the moment. In any event, I will recover, and that’s the important part. I really do look forward to getting back to more actively selling books, which I have had to put on hold since late June. In the meantime, I’ve been doing a lot of book buying online, since I’ve tried to stay home and rest most days. That’s led me to a few good finds, so all is not lost. Still, it will be better when I can balance the buying with some selling. 🙂

      Glad you liked the Barbara Kaye books. We are going out of town for a little vacation soon, and I hope to read them then. I hadn’t heard of Seeing Shelly Plain, and I intend to get a copy just as soon as I can. I love reading about books and bookstores.

  3. I got pertussis in India about 10 years ago (as an otherwise ridiculously healthy 19-year-old) and coughed for six months (3 of which were in India, and let me tell you — ayurvedic medicine may be all well and good for some things, but it does nothing for pertussis!… and the other three were them testing me for TB and trying to figure out what in the world I could have), until they finally figured me out and got me medications. Tessalon Pearls (sounds like a sci-fi series) is an excellent anti-tussive that basically tells your cough reflex to calm down, if you haven’t come across it yet.

    One of the bad sides to having whooping cough is that you often end up cough-prone. (Not everyone does; I hope you won’t!) That means, every time I get a cold, it settles in my chest and I cough for two months. Tessalon Pearls often helps, but occasionally I have to do something stronger (that’s a very mild medication) — right now I’m on prednisone for a cough that wasn’t leaving. And I got pneumonia last year, when I didn’t do anything about a cough that wasn’t leaving and it ended up weakening me! So, in other words, if, in the future, you find yourself coughing a lot, don’t just wait it out!

    (And, on the pertussis front, you have my sympathies….)

    (Now back to cataloging these guides to non-sexist children’s books… ah, the joys of librarianship!)

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