Not five minutes ago I caught a glimpse of some actual, honest-to-god sunlight through the coffee shop window. I dug my super-cool shades out of my desk drawer, summoned my co-worker Captain Courageous to man the front counter, and made a break for the outside. But by the time I got there, clouds had blocked out the sun, and that inescapable feeling of gloom that’s been hanging around for the last week or so was back in place.
I’ve been doing what I can to help usher in Spring, Gothic Shoppers. I hauled all those short-sleeved shirts out of the basement. I pumped up the tires of my bike. I’ve even been listening to the Meat Puppets non-stop, and if there’s any better way to draw down summer in a shamanistic fusion of noise and jangle, I can’t think of it.
It looked like it was working, too. We had a handful of nice days. Sitting outside days. Hiking in the park days. Days that promised a near future when you wouldn’t really be able to remember being cold. That was until, ironically, Spring Break. We waved adieu to the departing students, most of them off to warmer climes, and they left in their collective wake one (hopefully) final smackdown from winter.
It’s been almost a week of cold and constant rain. Colds are catching. Basements are flooding. Enough is enough.
Here’s what I’ve decided: I’ve been reading too many gloomy-weather books. Back when we in a serious drought here in the Bull City (those were the days), some bookseller colleagues and I made a list of as many books as we could think of that featured the word “rain” in the title. Our theory was that if we hit upon the right number we’d make some rain. Sure enough, our customers pitched in and we came up with a good long list, after which we got three days of downpour.
Now, Arthur and I don’t really like to be confronted with the fact that with these posts we’re basically shouting into the void, so I’m not going to throw out a plea for any Gargoyle readers to start listing books here. But I will pledge to either of you who might be reading that I’m going to do my part by reading almost exclusively warm weather books for a while. I’m going to try to get our customers to do the same.
I’ve ordered some of my favorite baseball novels for the store (you’ll hear more about those goodies when the Bulls’ season starts in April), and I’ll be shoving them into people’s hands as soon as they get here. That should get spring rolling.
For my part, I’m going to resume the Don Winslow kick that I had going for a while there. Winslow writes killer mystery novels set in southern California that can best be described as surf-noir. When Royal, my good bookselling pal, recommended Winslow’s The Dawn Patrol, I, um, voiced my skepticism. Emphatically. Shows what I know. Winslow is great at writing taut, suspenseful plots while evoking the sunny, laid-back lifestyle of surfers and beachdwellers.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned here on the Gargoyle that Padgett Powell’s Edisto is being reissued. You Gothic Shoppers should come buy a copy as soon as you can. You’ll be doing your part to drive out the late dreariness by diving into Poewll’s excellent novel of languid mischievousness in the South Carolina lowlands.
If these warm-weather reads don’t do the trick. We’ll have to resort to more drastic measures. I’ll keep copies of the Grapes of Wrath and the Worst Hard Time on hand, just in case.
And if I see anyone reading Call of the Wild or A Perfect Storm any time soon, there’s going to be trouble.