Thursday, September 03, 2009


I must be in the building with the books two times a week now; I have a Native English class that meets Thursdays and Fridays from 2:00-2:50 on the 5th floor. Wise people in the office that made my schedule...or are they foolish? Will I be able to concentrate on serving up grammar and vocabulary with the literature stack literally under my feet (4th floor)?

Today was the first day for the English class at the library. I had to run home to do an errand and get back to school fast. No time for the 118 steps, so I called a taxi. The driver wanted to know where I wanted to go. "Tosogwan," I said. Toso = book. Gwan = building. Isn't that great? Don't you just love Korean? Meet my new favorite word. I'm a little puzzled, though. The Romanization of the word spells it with T, but in Hangul, it's spelled with the D sound. I compromised and pronounced the T softly, as if I had a cold and my nose was clogged. It worked -- the driver repeated the word exactly as I had and we were there in 3 minutes. Which means I was 20 minutes early. Which means I had 15 minutes to wander.

I found a biography of Caroline Gordon (1895-1981), an American literary critic and novelist. She was married to Allen Tate. Ford Maddox Ford was one of her mentors. I'm not familiar with her work, but this 1995 biography, The Underground Stream: The Life & Art Of Caroline Gordon by Nancylee Novell Jonza has a lively and vigorous narrative. I was immediately pulled in; I wanted to know Gordon's whole life right away.

This copy hasn't been read too often, if at all -- the cover still has "creak" in it, which is one of those tiny bookworm pleasures that always make me a little funny in the head. I visited the always polite self-checkout machine ("please place the book as shown"), then headed upstairs to meet my class. I think I walked, but it feels more like I floated. It's going to be a great semester.


Eva said...

That is an awesome Korean word! And how awesome of you to pronounce it perfectly. :D

Care said...

Have fun! Have a fantastic semester in the Book-Building!

Bybee said...

I'm also good at post office: oo-chay-gook.

It's my dream to get all my classes in there!

Carrie K said...

Ford Madox Ford is one of those people I would like to like but his writing drives me batty.

I love the Korean name for library! Consonants are all over the map. Think of "C" "K" "J" "G" and "Q". They intermingle weirdly.

john smith / john smyth said...
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Susan said...

I love that sound of getting a new book and hearing it open for the first time, all those pristine pages waiting to be read. Amazing you found an almost unread copy there, but it shouldn't be, some books wait for the right person to find them.

I too like the Korean word - book building.....wouldn't we all want to go there? Just automatically go? Enjoy a semester that close - only floors away! lol

Bybee said...

Carrie K,
I've never read any FMF, but I noticed they have him in the tosogwan as well.

Book creak and pristine is sweet.