It is Thursday, January 9, 2020 and the holidays are over. I have spent the last two days
preparing for a management consulting client meeting tomorrow. Now, at the end of the
afternoon, I leave my Halifax Consulting loft office and go down to the kitchen and I say to
Glenda “I am ready for my meeting tomorrow and now I have to go think about my weekly book
musing”. She said “why not cover our holiday adventures”? “Beautiful” I say.
Glenda and I took two weeks off, starting on December 21, 2019 and ending in yet another new
decade! We were off to Rockland, Ontario, just outside of Ottawa, to visit son Gregory and
daughter-in-law Maria and our new grandson, Wolf Walter Douglas Cutten, who was all of 6
weeks old. And then on to Toronto for New Years. I took a break from the consulting practice
and from Raven & Gryphon Fine Books, almost. I did take a break from my weekly musings.
We had two rather large suitcases, that just made the weight restrictions, once we moved the 5
kilo dartboard gift from one bag to the other. But, I knew that I had 5 kilos of “book space” for the
journey home! I had reading material with me that would hold out until I got two great books for
Christmas from Glenda. I just made it! For Christmas, I received Donna Leon’s second book
Death in a Strange Country (see an earlier musing) and The World in Prints – The History of
Advertising Posters from the Late 19th Century to the 1940s.
On Boxing Day, I persuaded Gregory to take us to the nearby city of Orléans to visit a used
bookstore. There I came across a fine four volume set of books about the Brazilian military, in
English. Three books of text and one of maps – only $40. I dickered the price down to $35 but I
wanted $30. These books weighed at least equal to the dartboard. So I passed. But I did find a
book of photography Shekhina by Leonard Nimoy – who knew!
Off to Toronto on the 27th, with dwindling pages on my Christmas books. I was entering a
danger zone! And there was Glenda with her Kindle and an infinite supply of books at her
fingertips! We were picked up at the airport and when we got to Glenda’s sisters place, Glenda
realized that she left her Kindle on the airplane. Her conduit to the world of literature – gone. But
Gina had a Kindle, so all was good for the duration. When we left for home, Glenda got to look
at dozens of e-readers that were in the Lost and Found at the airport but not hers. Just today,
she received her new and improved Kindle from Amazon – and Yes she did a Happy Dance!
Now, back to me. On Sunday, December 28th, I had finished my Christmas books and I was
somewhat anxious. It was a rainy day and after our breakfast at Wimpy’s, Gina let me borrow
her new hybrid RAV4. Off I went to BMV Books down by the Eaton Centre. For the first time
ever, I could browse without worrying about flight times. I bought four books, including a novel
Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk and Books, A Living History by Martyn Lyons and
published by The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2011.
I was now staying with Neil, an old friend and client, who lived down by the Distillery District. I
was into the Lyons book and learning new things about books, even after some 40 years of
reading about books. I came across the word ‘boustrophedon writing’ which meant that a writer
or printer would start the next line where the previous line finished, so that the lines would read
alternately left to right, then right to left, and so on. This ‘boustrophedon writing’ was said to
imitate the path of the ox-drawn plough, remained in use until the sixth century. I never have
come across this term. So, I looked up and said to Neil “Hey, Neil, I’ll give you $20 if you can tell
me what ‘boustrophedon” means. 30 seconds later he was $20 richer, that darn linguistics guy.
So, here we are, in a new decade and I have some new books but I am somewhat more
Happy New Year, Everyone
Raven & Gryphon Fine Books