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Monday, 19 July 2021

Summer Session, Week 9: The Bookstore

 I’m still mostly staying at home post-vaccine, which means all of my book browsing is digital. I follow a handful of bookstores on social media and attend virtuale events, including my favorite, BookPeople in Austin, where I went to college and lived for many years after. This prompt works whether you’ve recently been in bookstores or are pining for them. Questions from which to choose, should you wish: What’s the first section you go to when you walk into the bookstore? In what section are you likely to spend the most time? If your favorite bookstore has a cafe, do you have a favorite thing to order there?

I hope July is treating you well and you are finding peace in the day. Last week’s goals follow.


1) URGENT! Take photographs for local project, arrange analytical work, write up everything that is done already

2) Do image sorting and write-up on those for paper rewrite

3) Sort and label field photos for student

4) Continue manuscript revisions

5) Data processing for somebody else’s problem paper

6) Start doing creative thing for sabbatical

Dame Eleanor Hull

Enjoy conference.

Keep up with Tour.

Exercise daily, eat carefully, go to bed by 11.

Some Life Stuff, like sending birthday card to great-nephew.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Do time study for three days.

Finish clearing off the home desk.

Write at least 300 words x 4.

Read and take notes for three articles.

Pack for the road trip.

heu mihi

1. Finish revising and submit "Death"

2. Yoga x2, run x5 if possible; one run over 3 miles

3. Finish academic book I'm reading (about 130 pages)

4. Read two dissertation chapters (I doubt I'll get to this)

5. Finish drafting tenure letter

6. Sit some amount, Latin some amount

7. Make pesto, havarti spread, tapenade, granola for trip; bottle beer (for after trip--it needs another month to age)

8. Write 20 letters encouraging voters in Virginia to apply for absentee ballots

9. Meet with new Undergrad Studies Director and begin transition OUT of that role!


1 Catch up on summer grading

2 Submit latest version of book chapter abstract

3 Two creative submissions

4 Make time for online course revision


1. Really get into chapter 3

2. Do something fun at the weekend

3. Something re course

4. Something on self-study (enough to ask the person who can get data to get it)

5. Get to bed at regular time, since going to bed late is what wrecks my sleep.


  1. Hello everyone! I'm back at work so thought I'd insert myself as a late addition to the summer session.

    My most recent bookshop visit was in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, to Red Kangaroo Books, where the selection on books from local writers and about place were just amazing - though. I did keep getting pulled into the field guides and childrens sections to inspect other peoples finds. When travelling, I do love to find books that speak from a deep familiarity with place. to get insights that I would otherwise miss. At home, I love to browse in. the garden and kitchen. sections, and this weekend had time with the garden version of a bookshop by looking through seed catalogues.

    This. week I need to rather urgently get on top of my teaching, and provide feedback on a draft thesis. But for TLQ activities I'll say:
    - put together publication entry
    - check call for papers
    - draft a one pager on SoTL research, and make a preliminary reading list
    - weed the medieval garden and improve the soil
    - order seeds and set up seed starting equipment

    1. Welcome back! I hail a fellow gardener! What's in your medieval garden?

    2. The. successful items in the medieval garden have been a pair of heirloom apple trees (Five Crown Pippin aka Louden Pippin and Catshead), rosemary, iris florentina, madonna lillies and a thug of a rosa gallica. I need to do a pit of a rip out and replant of things that have self-seeded and gone feral (borage) and things that just don;t look good in the space (campanula).

      I'm rather jealously looking at northen hemisphere garden pictures at the moment as mine descends into frost and mud.

  2. Bookstores. . . I drool in them. The last one I walked into, I looked at the display books, and quickly saw a bunch that looked interesting. They were non-fiction, and at least 3 were journal/diary type things. Since I'm traveling, I took pictures of the covers and then bought them for my Kindle. The first one I read, Shaun Bythell's Confessions of a Bookseller, proceeded to have a rant against e-readers! But I almost always end up in the cooking section, drooling over cookbooks with pretty pictures, imagining dinners I will never cook...

    How did I do:
    1. Really get into chapter 3 YES, I have made a start and see where it's going

    2. Do something fun at the weekend YES

    3. Something re course YES, 2 more weeks

    4. Something on self-study (enough to ask the person who can get data to get it) YES,

    5. Get to bed at regular time, since going to bed late is what wrecks my sleep. YES

    What I love about my time here is that I can really focus, because I'm not interrupted as much by other stuff. So I'm toodling around with the chapter, and its moving, and I'm reading the stuff I need to read. Because pandemic rules have all been relaxed, I now have 5 hour stints in the library instead of 4 hours. . . and that's really enough, mostly. I did a couple of more weeks on my class, which makes me feel a bit under control. And I've started looking at the self-study stuff, getting another section underway. I will probably ask the person who has the data I need for what I need later today. . .
    On Saturday, I visited a friend in a small town about an hour away, and we walked and talked and walked... it was lovely. I also had lunch with my god-daughter, so nice and sociable.

    Goals for the week ahead are very limited, because on Friday I go up to a friend's house, and then am on vacation. So it's 4 days.

    1. Get to at least 2500 words on this chapter (which is no longer chapter 3 but I don't know what it is)
    2. Outline next two sections of self-study, and figure out what we need, maybe talk to colleague to figure out focus
    3. Watch training session to prepare for grievance hearing when I get home. (It started at 11 PM my time, so I didn't go in person)
    3. Go on vacation!!!

    1. I love that "no interruptions, limited distractions" feeling of being in a far-away library where I am definitely and for sure only a scholar, not a cat parent or householder or all those other roles that compete for attention. 4-5 hours is a good amount for focused attention/work.

  3. Hoo-boy, that was an intense week. The conference was in many ways great, I liked "seeing" people, I learned things, I think I even found the social aspects easier than in-person (though this could just be that I've hit the point where I've attended often enough that regulars recognize me) . . . and I still would prefer to be in the same room with people. Online sure makes session-hopping easier and more discreet, though! Maybe my ideal, going forward, would be to alternate real-world with online meetings. Travel every 2 years, or 4 years if your society meets alternate years anyhow, would be more affordable, and online conferences at the same interval might seem like an easy, pleasant alternative instead of "oh, gods, not more Zoom time."

    The Tour . . . wound up rather dull, compared to some years, but still, it's cycling in France, it happened in July, so works as a prompt for me to face the rest of the summer---as opposed to last year, when the Tour was delayed and at the conclusion I thought, "Right, summer's ending, time to think about teaching, oh, sh!t, it's the fifth week of classes."

    Bookstores: generally I head first to fantasy/sci-fi, unless there's something specific I'm looking for, or book(s) on display tables jump into my arms. You probably guessed that from previous sessions here! There's a bookstore not far from my new house that I used to love going to---it has a most excellent speculative fiction range---but, sadly, it acquired mold of a type to which I am hideously allergic, and I cannot set foot in the store. I believe there's another branch, so I should go see if that one is safe for me.

    How I did:
    Enjoy conference. YES.
    Keep up with Tour. YES.
    Exercise daily, eat carefully, go to bed by 11. YES.
    Some Life Stuff, like sending birthday card to great-nephew. YES.

    A great week, but those were easy goals! And now I've already reverted to the midnight-8 sleeping schedule, which would be okay except for needing to exercise before it gets too hot.

    New goals:
    Latin, Greek, Domestic/write, T-reading, Other Reading, all x4.
    Work on daily plans for fall class.
    File papers, tidy study.
    Exercise early, eat carefully, go to bed by 11.
    Do one thing that will Stay Done.

    I made a long list of Stuff to Do and realized it could be divided into ongoing, important work (like writing, studying languages, class planning) and one-offs that may be important, even urgent, may be anxiety-provoking, may have multiple steps, but don't need regular attention. So I'm trying to make sure that I work on the regular things before tackling the one-offs, and also encouraging myself to deal with the anxiety-provoking ones by noting that when I do them, they'll be over with.

    1. Also, do laundry---the new washer and dryer are being delivered and installed right now! A delicate cycle! A working dryer! Yay!

    2. I would really like a new washer/dryer, partly because I want to be able to time the washer to start when I want it. My current one allows you to delay 4, 8 or 14 hours, and it's not really helpful. (But no, won't buy until something crashes...)

  4. Oooh…. Bookstore??? Only been to two in recent memory… I start at the YA section because buying books for kid is just as much fun as buying books for me  She has excellent recommendations and taste, so I indulge her! Our shop here is not big enough to have separate destination section, I usually look at everything (except for self-help, biography, and sports, don’t have patience for those). We also have a tiny new second-hand shop that I regularly examine from top to bottom and usually leave with a bag full of stuff. They have lots of odd local interest and random old things…

    It was a weird week, lots of reluctant working (mostly on other people’s stuff, but for a good student cause). Most things ended up being “Other”… Did lots of association stuff, and by Thursday was burnt out. The many hours of trying to buy microscope parts did not help. So I organized a pool afternoon with two excellent friends and we had a wonderful time. I also did a ton of gardening on the weekend, not the happy fun kind where you plant new things, the hard labour kind where you dig (aka pick-axe) up large sections of ground, dig in mulch and soil and then take painkillers! But, eventually those areas will be nice beds for hostas and echinaceas that desperately need dividing. And I planned and booked a lovely 2 week holiday camping and kayaking and horses adventure for me and the kid and got all the necessary permissions and permits. (Dad hates camping and kayaking and horses, we invited him and he said not a chance in hell so everyone gets to do their thing – he’s looking forward to doing house things with no audience.)

    Last week’s goals
    1) URGENT! Take photographs for local project, arrange analytical work, write up everything that is done already MOSTLY DONE
    2) Do image sorting and write-up on those for paper rewrite MOSTLY DONE
    3) Sort and label field photos for student DONE
    4) Continue manuscript revisions NOT THIS WEEK
    5) Data processing for somebody else’s problem paper DONE (TOOK FOREVER!!!)
    6) Start doing creative thing for sabbatical (ONCE… I SAID START I GUESS…)

    This week I get to do a road trip to go see my lovely co-authors and visit some field sites. That will be wonderful and restorative, and have good food too!

    This week’s goals
    1) Road trip for work to go see co-authors and some field sites, yay!!!
    2) Finish last bits of photography and send away samples for next step
    3) Read a bunch of papers to model local project write-up on and make plan for structure of paper
    4) Meetings with lab people at co-author university
    5) Conference planning meetings at co-author university

    1. I often read YA for fun, so would welcome recommendations from your kid!

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  7. My favorite bookstore is the Strand in SoHo ( My first stop is the third floor, which is the rare books. I can’t afford any of the books, even if I didn’t have mixed feelings about private collectors, but it is fun to see what they have. Then I work my way down through the second and first floors. I tend to look for sci-fi and history, but I’ve found some great EETS and SATF (Early English Text Society and Societe Des Anciens Textes Francais for the non-literature specialists among us).
    The Strand does not have a coffee shop, but that’s okay because they have given all their space to books (they proudly advertise eighteen miles of books) and there are tons of coffee shops nearby. I could happily spend hours and hundreds of dollars in the Strand.

    Last week’s goals:
    Do time study for three days. No. I’ll try again this week.
    Finish clearing off the home desk. Yes.
    Write at least 300 words x 4. No. Only two times.
    Read and take notes for three articles. No.
    Pack for the road trip.Yes.

    It was a crazy week last week—we lost air conditioning at work, thankfully not in the stacks or vault, but our researchers decided not to work in sauna conditions. This week while I have been gone, we have had four roof leaks—luckily only one affected any books, and our colleagues in the main library pitched in to help move and dry materials. Some of our masters’ theses were affected, but our Preservation librarian says they’re okay now.

    This week has been really nice. It’s the first time in seven years all four kids and all seven grandkids have been together, so it’s been great to see their interactions.

    No goals since it’s Thursday and we’re travelling tomorrow and Saturday. Have a good weekend everyone. Float like mist!

    1. Oh! The multiple floors reminded me: Moe's, in Berkeley! Mainly used and remaindered books, with some new ones, and lots of lovely scholarly stuff. Cody's, down the street, used to be great, but they closed. :-(

    2. Must be great to see all the kids and grandkids together! Enjoy!

  8. My friends, it's been a week of deadlines and migraines and I am sorry for failing in my duty as your bookstore tour guide. I did #OtherThings and a few #goals and got pinned to the wall with a deadline for that online course I haven't finished updating. Will be back to comment though!