Sunday evening I stopped in Paperbacks Plus, the wonderful used bookstore near my old home in Mesquite. I got a goodish number of used books--some old hardcover novels by people I never heard about before, and several chapbooks of tropical fish information (I like the fish book "Coldwater Fishes", with its tales of sunfish and bullhead catfish).
But my favorite book is called "Kites", by Wyatt Brummitt, which is illustrated with gorgeous drawings by Enid Kotschnig. This little four by six "Golden Handbook Guide" has 120 pages of history, how-to, cool photos and neat-o sketches. When it was first published in 1971, it cost only 1 dollar and 25 cents. This booklet tells the reader about the history of kites, how to make kites, how they work, and what their many uses are and have been. It equips one for all the things one might ever need to do with a kite--fly one, talk about one, savor watching one.
I am a firm believer in eighth grade reading level guides to just about anything. So many times in our era of laudable specialization, we overlook the simple pleasure of knowing just a little about a lot of things in a useful way. I used to believe in the Wise. Now I am much more inclined to believe in delta wing kites, feeder guppies, books which open vistas to inner and outer worlds which sometimes elude one, cheap telescopes, hand-made music and crafts, throwaway cameras, and the sight of a lightning bug in June, blazing away, in clear sight of a quiet viewer watching in the dark.