As we approach the end of the Ex-Libris List, I wanted to take a brief foray into Tangentland. There's no actual list in this post, just a story that relates to the list. It has more to do with the end of the series than the middle of it, hence jumping ahead to name it 10a.
A funny thing happened when I was bumbling around Powell's yesterday with my friend Jesse.
A note to non-Portlanders: Powell's is Portland's epic bookstore. It is several stories high and takes up an entire city block. First time visitors experience a real WOW factor. Eventually you learn the lay of the land, or you've adopted Portland's special brand of jadedness, or you're in a bad mood because it's been drizzling for 200 days straight and you walk into Powell's and think, "Get me to the Blue/Rose/Pearl Rooms because I need a book on x/y/z." Or, more likely, "Get me to the Purple Room because I need a toilet."
I hadn't been to Powell's in ages, despite the fact that I've been touting it here on the blogosphere by linking every single title on the list to the store's site. Before I even set foot in the store I get a, "That's weird," notion buzzing around my brain because I am spotting books from the list EVERYWHERE-- they're in the windows, on display tables, on the featured shelves at the end of the rows and rows of books. I think I could literally shake the shelves and the entire contents of the list fall to my feet.
My reaction to this was a muddied one. At first I felt bad for obviously having fallen prey to marketing ploys at bookstores over the years. Then I just shouldered it off figuring that I had good taste in books, and so what if that also meant that I was keeping apace with the trends.
However, my old anxieties kicked into overdrive and I ended up with this clamor of disparaging noise in my head. My internal monologue went a little like this:
Everyone thinks I'm a big liar. people are reading this list and thinking that I just came here to Powell's and picked out 87 titles from the recommended reading shelves. Not so! I owned these books. People borrowed them from me. I COULD NAME NAMES. I could implicate people. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!When I mentioned this to Jesse he said, "Crow, I think naming names is generally a good idea."
In the long run, I just don't think naming names is my style. But for the record: If you borrowed my stuff, I know who you are and I'm judging you silently from afar.