This morning escaped me as I was sitting and rereading Daddy Longlegs. Seven fifty found me dashing out the front door with coat undone, throwing on my hat, scarf, and mittens as I went. Thank goodness ours is not a neighborhood where all the neighbors are out early.

Waiting in the cold and black for a bus is absolutely worth it, though, because it puts me on the bus that churns down the high point on the 60 just as the mountains are turning from blue and purple to greeny-brown (South Mountain) and brick red (Camelback, the Papagos). We were lucky to have a good week’s worth of crisp mornings with the air clear across the entire Valley, but today it was sad to see the feet of the mountains mired in their customary fug of pollution.

Between holidays and gifting, this is my reading season. This year, I am enjoying it more than others. Methinks I read too many academic pieces and not enough fun books during the semester, because I was absolutely shocked to rediscover that when an author does not kill the English language dead and then beat its remains into a meaningless pulp, it is really quite lovely. Now I am champing at the bit, trying to decide whether I should read more classic novels or revisit my stash of favorite children’s books.

Please note: no more will I link to Amazon. Reading this post from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, I was struck by the irony of her linking to Amazon but recommending readers look in the library. Why? Because Amazon is not the only website you can go to to find a record of every single book ever published. Raise your hands if you have heard of


WorldCat is quite simple: records from libraries around the world. Go there, search for a book, and instead of a list of sellers who are offering copies in unknown condition for far too high a price, you find a list of the libraries that own the book and will let you borrow it. The best thing about this list? All the libraries are listed in order from closest to you to farthest from you. So pick out the closest library, and find that out-of-print knitting book, that obscure novel you adored when you were ten. If it’s not as good as all the reviewers on WorldCat said, just put it back on the shelf and take home the one you like better.

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