Tuesday, September 18, 2007

But will he love me like Calvin loves Alice?

There are many reasons why I choose to buy a book instead of borrow it from the local public library. Sometimes I want the prestige of putting it on my shelf, sometimes I know I'm going to want to read it over a long stretch of time, sometimes I know I'm going to want to lend it out to friends and sometimes the reasons are unique to the book. I bought "About Alice", Calvin Trillin's heartfelt, glowing ode to his late wife Alice, because I wanted to look at the photo on the back of the book - again and again. And again and again. Here it is.





Today, I brought the book to a greasy Chinese restaurant on my lunch break. I put the book face down and when the waitress came to present me with the bill, she too was captivated with the photo on the back. She looked at the photo and asked me a question, but I couldn't understand her. She asked me a couple of times, and although I tired a few guesses, I never understood what she wanted to know. She picked up the book and flipped it over, and walked away smiling.

I left her a three dollar tip on the lunch special.

6 comments:

Paula said...

I think it is wonderful that you buy books. It shows what an educated, refined person that you are! You posted recently about a book you were reading that had something to do with football. What was it called again? I want to buy it for my nephew for Chistmas (total sports nut). Hopefully the subject matter will encourage him to read more and play video games less?

Cupcake said...

The football book I loved was "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. I recently gave it to my brother and my college roommate as birthday gifts. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did - they both actually know something about football.

Paula said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Some day you should try to visit Portland (Oregon that is) and see Powell's City of Books. It is truly amazing (entire city block, 3 floors has its own map) and some really great cupcake bakeries.

steph said...

that photo is magnificent! before he published the book, he had an article about alice in the new yorker magazine with that same photo. the article was so beautiful i cried, and kept turning back to the photo to look at them. i will have to find the book!

fryolater said...

I read that New Yorker article too...and also cried. I think I was most moved by his dedication in the first book published after she died (I think it was Tepper Isn't Going Out?): "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice." What a rich, simple tribute!

Cupcake said...

Yes, that is an amazingly simple, graceful dedication.

On a related note, I remember reading "Tepper Isn't Going Out" my senior year at Smith, at a time when I never considered living in New York City. That book was so foreign - it's so NYC, what with alternate side of the street parking, Russ and Daughters, etc... I was like reading about Mumbai. I could never have guessed I would be living in Tepper's world in one year's time.