Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Countenance Rather Sensitive and Melancholy

Yesterday I laughed out loud, and hard, when I saw a book called THE DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT: PLIGHT OF A FEATHERED PARIAH at Square Books. I guess it was a similar feeling to when I first saw that someone had written a book about seahorses called POSEIDON'S STEED. Ha ha ha! That's still funny. So dramatic. But I immediately felt guilty about laughing at the cormorant. I don't know anything about cormorants. So I bought the book to make up for laughing at it. And just glancing through it, God, people are awful to cormorants. I don't want to read this book! It's really sad. I didn't know people were so mean to cormorants. And there I was at the checkout counter, not having even cracked the book open, nonchalantly joking with Richard about how everybody apparently hates cormorants judging from the title of this book, and Richard said, "DOUBLE-CRESTED cormorants" and we parted agreeing that everybody is probably totally cool with single-crested cormorants, but yeah, it's not funny anymore. The dust jacket flap says the double-crested cormorant is "an iridescent black waterbird superbly adapted to catch fish. It belongs to a family of birds vilified since biblical times and persecuted around the world." And then I opened up the book right to some horrible stuff happening to cormorants. Oh no. And PART I is called "What Are Cormorants?" and starts with a beautiful drawing of two happy cormorants being affectionate (I think), anyway they're sort of nuzzling sweetly. Now I feel terrible. Poor cormorants! Sorry for "cormoranting" about it, ha ha! Then I went to City Grocery Bar, where McKay McFadden took this photo of Megan Abbott reading my tarot cards with a "phone app" (I guess) as Bill Boyle contemplates what it all means and I don't know if the tarot works on a "phone app"! I guess we'll find out! I had the feeling that Megan, just to be nice, was giving an overly positive spin to my hellish cards of inevitable doom. Oh, at Off Square Books I bought a gothic novel by Sheridan Le Fanu for a cool four dollars. So I'm pretty excited about that. I was telling Megan about the first two paragraphs. The first one is a long description of a room, and the next one is a description of a girl in the room: "A girl of a little more than seventeen, looking, I believe, younger still; slight and rather tall, with a great deal of golden hair, dark grey-eyed, and with a countenance rather sensitive and melancholy, was sitting at the tea-table, in a reverie. I was that girl." I found the passage unusual and very satisfying.