A long time ago, when I first arrived here, I arrived with a puny three books (my Bible, a second Bible in modern French, and Sun Tzu’s Art of War). In my first few days in town, I went to a used bookstore and added a Sherlock Holmes to my collection. Back in the states, there is pretty much no spare wall space due to the high number of bookcases. Thus, my measly collection of books is very sickly indeed, and I did not have much reading material at all. Maggie, who had been the one to introduce me to O’Connail’s and the lovely hot chocolate there, suggested we should go to a few book stores. I agreed.
That was a bad idea.
Do you know how beautiful books are? How great they smell? Maggie took me to a place on the other side of the island called Vibes and Scribes. There are, actually, two places called Vibes and Scribes. One is across the bridge, toward the train station, and it is primarily a crafting and paper goods store. The other one is where we were, along the quay, and it has both a used books side and a new books side. Not only did they have a variety of the New 52 books in the shop (none of which I have yet to purchase), but the used shop had far too many beautiful treasures…including a book about Machiavelli that cost nearly €200. I started reading it a bit of that one. It was fascinating.
I do not have €200 laying around.
After spending a few hours browsing, we departed, both going our separate ways. Maggie went home and I went, well, I went over to the Boole library. Up until this point, I had not had much time to peruse through the stacks in the upper levels, where the Ordinary Books Of Not Much Consequence are kept (because, well, I’d mainly been hanging out with the Special Books Which Require Special Gloves). Thus, since my bookshelves were still empty and I had not found anything to purchase (or, at least, anything I could afford to purchase), I began wandering around. I had a vague idea of another project I wanted to research, but I knew that, before I started doing deep research, I needed to have a stronger idea of the basic knowledge in the area. So I wandered about until I found the folklore section and settled in to begin reading.
The last time I wrote anything about folklore was when I found myself writing a paper about the folklore implications of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, during which I had set about to debunk the Madeline-as-a-vampire theory and then ended up realizing that, well, she really was a vampire. In this case, I overly-identified with the narrator, since I had first read Usher when I was about eight. My mother had been researching at our larger library, and so for hours at a time I would wander the stacks in the children section. Someone had the misguided notion that Poe was appropriate for children, so I read through a series of the short stories and fell in love with them. This is perhaps why I was so tied to my ideas of how the characters were meant to interact with each other, and, like the narrator, as an adult came to the startling conclusion that my favorite story was about vampires. Unfortunately, I figured this out at roughly 3 AM. Not sure if I was home alone or not. Definitely finished writing that paper that night, because it wasn’t like I was going to be sleeping any time soon.
Maybe someday I’ll tell you the story of how I first met vampires in literature.
Anyway, today I was just browsing through general folklore, especially the herbal kind, because I quite enjoy plants and herbs. And maybe a few vampire stories. Either way, I ended up with several books to take home–for free.