The Meaning of it all -- and my bookshelf
Some people say, "How can you live without knowing?" I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing. That is easy. How you get to know is what I want to know.
Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist), The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist
A last minute day trip to El Corte Ingles in Madrid last week didn't yield the perfect outfit for the super-wedding I attended Saturday. Even so, it did prove that Madrid is an easy daytrip by train. And I returned to Salamanca with a good supply of all those things one's mother usually gives at Christmas and 3 new tenants for my overcrowded bookshelves.
I love the small independent bookstores in Salamanca, especially Victor Jara and Cervantes. But oh! there is nothing like a rainy afternoon spent browsing the bargain tables in El Corte Ingles or the Casa del Libro in Madrid.
This trip I picked up:
El Placer de Descubrir: a translated collection of Richard Feynman essays and interviews. Feynman is a lost long love from my scientist days: a bongo-playing, ant-watching (Nobel-winning) theoretical physicist who wrote and spoke from the cuff about anything and everything.
An 800 page guide to "select" Spanish pueblos. 800 pages!! Yippee, I say, although far I've only frustrated myself trying to figure out how to catch a bus to Madrigal de la Altas Torres, birthplace of Isabel I. This book will either deliver great blog posts or torture me about my lack of a car.
A mere 400 page history of Spanish monarchs from the Middles Ages to the present. I'm tired of missing monarch references and scratching my head to remember who's who. I'm hoping it will be a good companion as I wander the castles and convents of the 800 pages of pueblos.
Other than the guide to pueblos, these new acquisitions will squeeze their way onto shelves and wait their turns behind a Freya Stark (A Winter in Arabia) I picked up in Hay-on-Wye, Paul Hyland's Backwards out of the Big World, the history of jazz in Spain my coworkers gave me as a going away gift, Ian Gibson's biography of Antonio Machado and Ghosts of Spain, recommended by Alex.
Whatever you do, favorite bloggers, please don't recommend books for a while...