Book scouting is one of my favorite activities. Not only does it keep my business going, but it soothes my troubled soul. So, starting about 10:00 am, I set out to do some scouting. And the first thing I saw when I came out the front door was a little baby bunny caught in a cage, waiting to be taken away and released. I thought it was cute and small (and I like how its foot is hanging out the bottom of the cage). I, however, was not about to be the one responsible for taking it away. The last time I released a rabbit into the wild, things did not go well for the rabbit. To be sure, that previous rabbit was stupid, but I still don't want the weight of such consequences hanging over my head.
When I'm out among the books, I always bring gum along to help keep my mouth from drying out, because most bookstores won't let you bring water bottles in. The best gum, in my opinion, is Orbit Wintermint. I keep a pack in the car.
I think my piece of gum (after being chewed for a moment) looks like a little baby cloud caught on my fingertip. I released it back into my mouth.
It was very cold here earlier this week. The snow got down to 1100 feet. I meant to take a photo of Mt Palomar to the east (or rather that whole range of mountains) a few days ago, but I forgot. By the time I took the picture, much of the snow had melted. But it still made a nice view as I headed out of town toward the freeway.
My first stop was the Friends of the Temecula Library bookstore, located behind the Temecula Library. They don't usually have much I want--kind of the same thing over and over again, but you find that at just about any bookstore. Still, I check it out every month just on the chance something new may have come in. This time, I did find some pretty nice things. I also spent way too much ($3) on a copy of Gilead, which is the selection for this month's Book Group. We're meeting this Wednesday and I haven't read the book yet, so I figured I ought to get started. More about the Book Group later, like after it happens. They also had some stuff I would have bought (a few Terry Goodkind novels among them) if it had been in better condition. But I learned (from reading a book!) that you shouldn't spend money on bad copies of good books. So I gave them a pass, even though they were only a dollar or two. (You can tell that the people who price the books don't appreciate scifi/fantasy because they price most books in that category at a dollar, even when they're fairly new. But the NY Times bestseller tripe is priced at $3 and $4.) There were also a number of paperbacks I would have got, but they're too expensive. I can't see paying more than 50¢ for a paperback. Naturally I mean that from the point of view of buying them to resell. Anyway, I spent about an hour and a half in this bookstore and thoroughly enjoyed every minute (except for the minutes when I was distressed over the high prices, but they were minimal minutes).
The next stop was the Corner Bookstore in Murrieta, which is one of two bookstores operated by the Friends of the Murrieta Library. The library, by the way, is just across the parking lot diagonally from the bookstore. This bookstore has a bigger stock and more selections than Temecula, but a lot of it does seem to stay on the shelf month after month. Every once in a while new stuff does come in, though, and they put stuff on special (the Blue Dot special, which is books for 50¢ each) now and then. This time, I got two Blue Dot books. They also had a few new science fiction books, but it seems that prices are going up at the store. I'd never seen them charging $4.50 for books before, at least not ones not on the New Releases shelf. I was rather disappointed because a couple of the sci-fi books I really wanted. Oh, well. I did get another book for $1.50: This House of Sky by Ivan Doig. I thought it was a second printing because the copyright page said "First Edition" with the letters B C D E below it, but when I got home and checked it out, it turns out that, at that point in time, the publisher was starting the series of letters with B instead of A. Don't ask me why. So anyway, it is a first printing. That made me pretty happy.
Third stop: the other Friends' bookstore in Murrieta. This one is adjoined to the new library that opened a while back. This is the third time I've gone from the Corner Bookstore to the new bookstore and I finally managed to do it without getting lost. This bookstore is much smaller than the Corner Bookstore; it's about the same size as the Temecula one. Not a lot of stock, and it sits there week after week. I did find one new fantasy book, though, a small Terry Goodkind book called Debt of Bones in near fine condition. And I bought one of their $1 paperbacks because I'm trying to complete a set that I have.
I went into the main part of the library to use the restroom before leaving and saw something rather disturbing:
There is so much that is wrong with this baby. First, it is too fat, unhealthily so. Second, it looks like its torso is on backward, which is just creepy. And third, it has no mouth, which is also creepy and yet, under certain limited circumstances, I could see advantages to a mouthless baby. Anyway, the overall effect is one of mild horror. It makes me wonder if the kind of changing that occurs to the baby at this station is altogether safe. I think disturbing images like this should be banned from public places, or at least be accompanied by a warning.
Well, now that I had exhausted the bookstore possibilities in the area, I decided it was time for lunch. When I looked at my watch I saw that it was after 2:00 pm. So I drove back toward the freeway, looking for a likely place to eat, and I found one: the Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant. I checked to make sure there was an "A" in the window. As with the case of the unfortunate rabbit, I had learned from past mistakes. Yes, there was an "A", so I went in. It was a real, actual restaurant, too, not one of those buffet, Panda Express kind of places. I ordered orange chicken, fried rice and chow mein (but the noodles were soft), and I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of the food, which was very prettily arranged on the plate and the sauce gleamed quite attractively under the ceiling lights. Instead, I substitute a photo of the take-out menu. By the way, even though it was pretty, the orange chicken didn't taste all that great. It was merely adequate. I would try something else if I ever go back there again.
On the way home, I appreciated the greenth of the world after our recent rains, and then I saw a patch of flowers of a vibrant purple hue, which is one of my favorite colors in nature. It made a very nice end to the trip.