TOWER GROVE — It’s time for a confession: I arrived home yesterday to find a package from Amazon.com lounging on the front porch. Here I was nearly a month into my year without buying a book (see here) and I knew that nestled inside that envelope was the very thing that I swore I wouldn’t buy this season, wouldn’t even think of buying until I’ve made a dent into the pillars of books that surround my office. It was a book.
But it wasn’t a break from my resolution.
Inside the envelope was John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son. Technically, I put the book in queue for purchase in 2011 — yes, near the end of 2011 — so that it wouldn’t spoil my resolution before it truly had a chance to start. It took several weeks to arrive (or find, not sure which), and here it was — a nice, tidy package from the past. The resolution continues.
Within days of starting my book fast, I put it to the best test I could think of: I visited Tattered Cover in Denver. Tattered Cover is two doors down from heaven. It was a destination place of my childhood — where I went for everything from the latest Dragonlance novel to Stephen King’s latest, from The New Yorker off the rack to a two-week-old edition of the Sunday Boston Globe. Tattered Cover was where I first met W.P. Kinsella and where I learned the joy of finding the unexpected book somewhere in the wilderness of fiction on the third floor. Tattered Cover was the greatest bookstore in my world. And here I was standing in its LoDo location less than a week removed from pledging not to buy any new books before I’ve finished reading so many of these old books.
As the wife will readily remind me, I have already baked in a few loopholes to my resolution — like the January exercise freak who allows a donut or two on the way to the gym because, hey, he’s exercising. Sure, there are a few exceptions to the book fast. There’s Mark Leyner’s new book and there’s Tom Wolfe’s book, if it publishes this year. Those are givens. When wondering Tattered Cover, I found another loophole. There is no resolution against buying books for others. So, I did not leave TC empty-handed. I found a few books to purchase as gifts, and allowed the boy wonder to pick out a book of his choosing (he selected Tin Tin’s debut). Not one of the books purchased added to me stack. Yet again, the resolution continues.
One month in and the grand total of books purchased in 2012: zero.
A challenge looms, however. Spring training is coming and with it the siren song of a bookstore at night for coffee once the writing is done.
Good thing a Sugar Frosted Nutsack will be available toward the end of spring.
That’s Leyner’s new novel.
It drops March 26.