:: kaboom books ::

We visited Kaboom Books yesterday, a small bookstore within walking distance of our Church. I've been dying to visit ever since I spied bookshelf upon bookshelf in a charming storefront we pass every Sunday while driving home. There's a space a few doors down that seems to be transitioning to a café or coffee shop. Oh, please, God! Kaboom's web site will improve soon, but for now you can see a glimpse of just how many books are in that place.

We opened a heavy door into a true book haven. A nice lady greeted us who I believe is married to the other owner - a kind, quiet man. Their two dogs were also very friendly, trotting around the aisles. It took me about five seconds to decide that I'm bound to return often. Kaboom is across town from our house, but since we're at Church 1-2 times per week, more book purchases seem likely. I can hardly wait for the weather to turn cooler this autumn. Our Church's neighborhood is perfect for strolling over to the bookstore; admiring bungalows, crepe myrtles, and oak trees along the way.

Kaboom is a long, narrow store, every wall covered with tall, wooden bookshelves. The interior space is filled with more shelves which create a maze of genres: fiction, poetry, humor, nautical, children's, reference, political science, literary criticism, history, essays, music, art, architecture, first editions, film, and religion. I've been to many a bookstore, but I was truly impressed by the wide variety and bountiful selection. After his wife left for the day, I told the other owner I could stay in his store for hours. He said, "Then you'd have to alphabetize for me." No problem - I used to work at Half Price Books, after all. I still find myself straightening shelves in any bookstore I visit. Sad, isn't it?

Johnny initially said I could choose one book which was fine by me, but when I revealed my finds, he looked at the inexpensive prices and said, "Heck, they're cheap. Let's get all three." 3 + his own choice = 4.

For Johnny:
Grendel Archives by Matt Wagner.

For Jenni:
The Best American Spiritual Writing 2006 edited by Philip Zaleski.
[includes work by Wendell Berry, Scott Cairns, Michael Chabon, Alan Jacobs, Richard John Neuhaus, and John Updike, among several others]

For both:
-The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers, introduction by Madeleine L'Engle.
-Brendan: a Novel by Frederick Buechner.

I also considered Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, and The Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, but those will have to wait for another shopping spree. I really wish I had searched for novels by Ron Hansen.

After we finished shopping, we drove less than a minute over to Church, just in time for the potluck dinner. I carried my lunch box packed w/yeast-free eats, and much to my happiness, a friend cooked a delicious navy bean soup full of safe ingredients. For the past several Wednesdays, our pastor read an Epistle aloud. I've read Paul's letters and such fairly often, but it was a treat to hear them as the early Christians did - a letter in the mail, full of good news, read out loud. It also reminded me of what a lame letter-writer I am (I owe at least four people a handwritten letter).

However, our pastor wanted to do something a little different last night. We read the entire book of Esther the same way Jews do every spring during the Feast of Purim. Adults and children volunteered to read the parts of different characters: Mordecai, Esther, King Xerxes, Haman, and the King's and Queen Esther's servants; our pastor read the in-between narrations. Not only that, but Rev. Ellisor brought along toy horns and his son's noisiest toys - to make a boisterous racket whenever Haman's name was mentioned (he was "the bad guy", wanting to wipe out the Jews - Esther's people and God's chosen people). You can imagine what a blast the kids had making all that noise, and their glee was pretty contagious. I felt very reserved amidst all the silliness, yet I couldn't quit laughing. Just so you know, Johnny read the part of Mordecai. He also contributed to the noise-making by drumming on the table and creating inappropriate sounds, even with his armpit. Oh, Lord.

Back at home, I read in bed, and as I turned off the lamp, I fell asleep mulling over Buechner's description of Jacob's Ladder in The Son of Laughter. It was such a fun day full of books, the Bible, childlike frivolity, laughter, and in the end, vivid writing which brought that particular Jacob-story to life. As I said on dreams of genevieve, stories cover me like a healing balm, especially the good and true ones.


Anonymous said...

I love that you read Esther out loud. That's one of my favorite part of the Anglican tradition -- reading the Scripture aloud. It reminds me of evangelist Charles Finney who, when he brought the good news to the people, just read the Scriptures out loud and people's hearts and lives were changed. He didn't preach the gospel, but let the Word speak for itself.

Sounds like you guys had a great evening. :)

Johnny! said...

And we didn't even get into the victory of the Jews in Esther being the great deliverance from Gog and Magog that Ezekiel prophesied...

jenni said...

Hearing the Word read aloud during the liturgy is one of my favorite Anglican things, too.

Teach it, Johnny.

Robin said...

The Professor and the Madman is a really interesting read!

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