Tag Archives: books

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ― Groucho Marx

My daughter is an angel, with the black soul of a Capital C Capitalist.

She is sweet and scattered and lovely. Until money enters the picture. At which point, she acquires a drive and ferocity that leaves me…..unsettled.

One of my favorite “30 Rock” quotes encapsulates it eloquently:

30 rock

(Change the him to her, and that about sums it up.)

Baby Girl wants to have a garage sale.  She has been ruthlessly going through her possessions, culling them, giving no regard to sentimentality, every single item in her room representing potential profit.  (And when you’re seven and cute, it’s ALL profit, because you didn’t pay for any of that shit.)

We do happen to have an overabundance of crap, these days.  So I’m on board with the scheme.

I’m actually kind of pumped to try to sell some stuff.  The electric lawnmower whose cord frustrated me one too many times.  The glittery hooker heels I wore twice (for a total of 40 minutes).  The microwave I got from my grandparents for high school graduation.

My thoughts drifted over to the bookshelf.  And unleashed a shitstorm of conflict.

I looked at the shelves.  Do I really need these things anymore? It seemed ridiculous, to get rid of this collection I’d spent years amassing.  And at the same time, I got downright giddy from the potential freedom.

I called my sister, to get a second opinion.

“No!  Like, ALL of your books?”

“Yeah, maybe, I don’t know.”

“But…hey, wait, don’t sell my Christopher Moore book.  You still have it.”

“Which one?  No I don’t.”

“‘A Dirty Job’.  Your ex-boyfriend borrowed it.”

“I gave that back.  I know I did.  Oh, shit, there it is.  OK, I promise I won’t sell that.”

“Ok.  Then hey, do whatever you want.”

 

I was clearly on my own here.

 

The points and counter-points started to line up immediately.

Point:  What if I want to read these again?

Counter Point:  I won’t.  I never have less than a half-dozen new books in the hopper, waiting to be read.  The likelihood is extremely damn low that I’m going to go back and re-read them.  The only book I have ever re-read more than twice (5 times, to be exact), was “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving.  And I’ve NEVER OWNED IT.  It’s been from the library every time.

 

Point:  I love them.  I started asking for books as gifts (as opposed to toys) from an extremely early age.  I love the way they smell, feel, look.  One of my favorite, shame-soaked geeky pleasures is to denude my bookshelves, then organize them alphabetically, chronologically, by color, by size, and then some unholy, algorithmic combination of those factors that only I can make sense of.  They make me feel rich in an obscured way that money never could.

Counter Point:  I hate lifting them.  I am going to want to move.  Fairly soon.  Books are fucking heavy.  I do not care to move those hefty bastards again.

 

pile-of-books-225x300(image from here)

 

Point:  I love, intensely, the memories surrounding the ones that were gifts.  Books that came from friends who thought they’d found the perfect gift for me.  Presents from my sister who has always had such similar (therefore, excellent) taste in fiction.  Books I got from an ex-husband, that were bright spots in a not so bright time.

Counter Point:  There are some not so awesome memories attached to a lot of them.  The books that were with me when I was at my worst, my most depressed, my lowest.  And sometimes looking at them, just seeing a title, can take me back in an instant.  Why put myself through that, unnecessarily?

 

Point:  I cared about what was on my bookshelf.  Books were a great conversation starter when someone came over.  And a great way of testing the waters, seeing if a person was “My Kind of Person”.

Counter Point:  The last time I moved, my bookcase got relegated to a corner of the bedroom.  No coolness points can be doled out when no one else can see them.  And dragging someone into the boudoir to look at my books would be a wee bit….contrived? Desperate?  Suspicious?  Counter-productive?

 

 

So yeah, I don’t know what to do.  Thoughts?

Procrastination Hath Screwed Me, Yet Again

People can prattle on, endlessly, about the suckiness of Mondays.

 

I don’t love Mondays, either.  But the real asshole day of the week, to my mind, is Sunday. 

 

Sunday was always the day of reckoning.  The day I realized that 10 page essays would not suddenly appear under my pillow, courtesy of the Essay Fairy.  That there was no way in hell I’d be able to finish the science project about levers at 10 pm on the night before they were due.

 

Today?  Was no exception.

 

I knew I had book club coming up.  And then I realized it was on Thursday.  4 days away.  I didn’t even have the book, much less a start on it.  But I wasn’t worried.  These things generally work out.

 

I drove across town to the Big Chain Bookstore.  The more rational people (i.e. the rest of the city) had stayed home rather than brave the crap weather, so I pretty much had the joint to myself.  The 15 person lineup at the Starbucks kiosk wasn’t there, so I ambled over, grabbed a coffee.  I browsed, uber-leisurely.  Spent time in the sections I never go into.  (You say Economics, I say Snoozefest, but hey, I had some time to kill.)

I checked my notes, looked for the name of the author.  Kate Mosse.  (Shit, that heroin-riddled skinny bitch published a book, and I can’t even get an angry letter to the editor printed?  Oh, wait a minute, Kate Mosse, not Moss.  Whew, hit to the self-esteem, narrowly averted.)

I get to the “M” section.  Find the book.

 

And then I turn it sideways.

(For the sake of reference, that’s last month’s pick, beside it.)

 

Oh holy fuck. 

 

This book is damn near 700 pages.

 

I have 4 days.  Which seems like a lot of time.  Except I have, like, a LIFE to get through.

 

So now, the question is this:

 

Do I ignore my kids, leave the dishes unwashed, the sidewalk unshoveled, and my personal hygiene unattended to, and read the living shit out of this thing?

 

Or do I go back, and buy this book?

On Goodwill (Or, “What IS that smell?”)

 

A friend and I went to Goodwill the other day.

 

I actually made her take me.  For the last couple of months, every time I ask where she got that fabulous coat/shirt/sweater, the answer was Goodwill.  Since we’re roughly the same size and height, I thought I could take advantage of her luck/hunting acumen/perseverance.

 

The first thing that hits me is the smell.  It’s not exactly wretched, barely even unpleasant.  But it’s there.  It’s the smell of people’s basements, of 500 kinds of perfume, of every ethnicity’s cooking.  And it’s all covered in the vague odor of industrial strength detergent. 

 

About half a rack of sweaters in, I’m bored.  My friend rolls her eyes, says she’ll meet me at the change rooms in half an hour.  She’ll use the time to find 14 sweaters, 2 dresses, and a pair of boots.  (We only left one of the sweaters behind.  She’s very, very good at what she does.)  I head for the books.

 

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a perfectly pristine copy of THIS:

I try not to squeal, so as not to frighten the Blue Hairs, picking up their Harlequin romances (which I believe are priced by the pound).  I kept meaning to pick this up, never did.  Finished it in 8 hours, even though I tried to stretch it out, make it last.  Couldn’t.

 

But the best book find I ever made at a thrift store wasn’t for me.  It was for the kids.

 

Once I got it home, actually looked at, I realized I couldn’t give it to them. 

 

Just didn’t seem like something I wanted to read them as I tucked them in safely at bedtime:

 

Hey! Do This!

So you know how a lot of bloggers will deny it, but they harbor secret fantasies about writing a real-live-honest-to-goodness-published book?  (Or is it just me?)  And you know how, when one of those bloggers actually gets a book published, I’m we’re so jealous we could just sit and gnash our teeth all damn day?  Well, not this time.

 

Stephanie is a blogger.  And now, she’s a published author.  And try as I might, I can’t be jealous.  She’s got the goods – funny, smart, insightful.  And she’s just so fraggin’ nice, I can’t begrudge her one morsel of success.

 

Her book’s available for pre-order at amazon.com.

 

And, even though amazon is uncoolly discriminating against me for being Canadian, and denying me free shipping (yeah, yeah, customs, whatever), I’ve pre-ordered mine.  Maybe you should, too, so we’ll have something to discuss the next time we get together for coffee casual sex a drink coffee.