Saturday, July 30, 2011

Art Exodus

Vargas 20s-50s ISBN 3-89450-063-8
Nagel ISBN 0-912383-36-4
Essential History of Art ISBN 1-84084-952-5
New American Paintings Number 56 The Open Studios Press
The art of the X-Files ISBN 0-06-105113-6
European Photography 81 ISBN 0-8109-0855-7
The Photography Book ISBN 0714836346
Michelangelo ISBN 1405429844
Hopper ISBN 3-8228-05432
Renoir ISBN 3-8228-0568-8
Louvre ISBN 2.7118.0040.7
The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact ISBN 0-8109-2659-8
The Watercolors of Winslow Homer ISBN 0-393-02047-9
The World of Leonardo 1452-1519 Time-Life Library of Art 1966
Postsecret ISBN 0-06-089919-0
The Art Institue of Chicago: Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture ISBN 0-86559-096-6
Van Gogh on Location ISBN 0-7858-0107-3
Masters of Art Card Catalog # 67-14758, 1967
The Holocaust Chronicle ISBN 0-7853-2963-3
Weight: 46.5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Offering them to Tracy and taking the ones she does not like do a donate your books drop in Edgewood.

This is a lot of very heavy books. 19 books weighing in at 46.5 lbs. I can almost imagine the disdain in Tracy’s eyes when she realizes, but I know she will want a couple of them and the rest can be donated. These books have been collected over the years and are special for many reasons, sometimes not obvious reasons.
The Holocaust Chronicle does not fit into the group of art books, but Tracy and I were at the Borders going out of business sale yesterday and when she glanced at it I informed her that I had it and would give it to her. I am not sure if she wants it or not, but I do know that she is deeply disturbed and moved by the Holocaust. That she has watched many movies and read many books about it.

Masters of Art is special because it is from 1967 and still has academic paperwork from the 70’s. One of the papers was apparently turned in late. The papers are handwritten, in cursive, by a C.K. Bell. The Watercolors of Winslow Homer has two long letters from my uncle and cousin to my grandfather. They are so nice and so loving, and yet I have somehow managed to end up with the book that no one wants back.

The book from the Art Institute of Chicago will be missed. I bought it the very first time I went to Chicago. I remember taking the taxi there, leaving the kids I was babysitting with their parents, and walking around, enthralled, for hours. I am not sure how I ever made myself leave. I bought this book hoping to carry a small piece of that feeling with me. For the record, after I left the museum I walked until I found a pizza place that served beer. It was the best pizza I have ever had. I could live in that day forever.

I always hate giving up my feminist books more than any of the others so I am sad to see the Feminist Art book go. I feel like I never got all I could from it, but I am still ready to release it.

On the cover of Van Gogh on Location, there is the famous Café Terrace painting, alongside of a photograph of the actual place. Intriguing, yes? Everyone has a Van Gogh book or two, but they are always beautiful and fun to look at.
The Louvre book came from the actual museum. It was printed in 1984 and is showing a lot of wear. It is a year older than I am. The Leonardo book was given to a Thomas at some point and was printed in 1966. Hopper, Renoir, and Michelangelo were handed over to me when someone else was disbanding their collection. Many of the art books came from my stepmother who graduated with an art major but does not like clutter.

Postsecret I bought full price my junior year of college. I was very intrigued and slightly let down by it. I know Tracy wants this one, and I am glad to hand it over, though also sad to see it go. I open it now to a Starbucks note that says, “I give decaf to customers who are rude to me!” and underneath it, “My sister and I explored each other sexually as children. As the older girl I feel guilty that I may have molested her.”

The giant book of photography is all in black and white. It is a Phaidon book so it is quite heavy and is packed full of pictures. The Essential History book is a bargain book. There are a lot of great paintings in it, but I think Tracy may already have it. I am fairly confident I have seen it on her shelves. The Nagel book is less than impressive. I kind of hate it, but we will see what she thinks. Vargas is full of beautiful women in all sorts of poses, in an array of undress. The text is written in French and in English. I added the X-files Art as a joke. I thought I had already rid myself of all my X-Files books, but I seem to find new ones every day. The art in this book is made by sculptors, painters, photographers, graphic artists, and others who were inspired by the television show. New American Paintings is an art journal. This one is from March of 2005. It was twenty dollars then and now it is free to a good home! The European Photography book is a full-color book of photographs from, you guessed it, 1981.
Goodbye books!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ruined by Reading

Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Weight: 6.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Do you want it? Otherwise, I am putting it in a book donation drop box.

This book got off to a slow start. The author was writing about how she will no longer keep reading a book if she does not like it, and I kept thinking it was a nod in my direction that I could put this one down. I started it on a lunch break from work, and I did not feel like I had relaxed at all when I was done. The only thing I could relate to was on page 4 and I did not feel that the sentiment described in a particularly beautiful way. Schwartz wrote, “Despite all this mental pirouetting, or maybe because of it, I don’t remember much of what I’ve read. My lifelong capacity for forgetting distresses me….while I struggle for the details, all I recall is the excitement of reading.” I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I was happy to stumble across someone struggling with the same thing.

Then, all of the sudden, I was on page 47, and I started to get into it. Schwartz got me going when she wrote about A Little Princess, a book I also loved as a child. I remember when I parents bought it for me I was furious. I hated princesses. Were they denying my tomboy identity? I was being a brat, but they kept asking me to give it a shot. I did, finally, and it was wonderful. After reading this section of the book, I went straight to my shelves to find my own copy of A Little Princess. I found it, and I am really looking forward to reading it again.

Later, she writes about McCullers, whom I love but also have not read since I was a teenager. Schwartz writes, “I’m afraid I’d feel certain dismay, like coming upon a photo of a great love of one’s youth with the eyes of middle age. Imagine pinning over that! Not that I’d find her books untrustworthy, just so oppressively young, so weighted by youth’s Gothic glooms, manias, and succulent indulgences” (90). How many times have I avoided a book for this reason?
Towards the end, on page 115, she questions, “So what has been the point? Not to amass knowledge, since I forget the contents of books. Certainly not to pass time, or ‘kill’ it, as some say. (Time will kill us).” I have been asking myself this for at least three years.

This book brushes up against interesting topics. How can you not when you are talking about books? I still found it to be mediocre. If you are looking for a good book about reading and books, I recommend looking into Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Huck Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Unknown year of publication—I didn’t write it down before I passed it on
Weight: 10 oz
Method of Disposal: Gave to my manager, Tara

Since starting this project, I have been getting more and more special requests for books, and I love it. In some cases, I can just hand the book over right then and there. Other times, I read it real fast and then hand it over. It is a fun challenge to try to find the book if I have it, and I often do have it. Tara happened to see something about Huckleberry Finn on 60 minutes and asked me if I had it. Of course! I grew up with Mark Twain. My mother and my school made sure I read Twain. It was not yet banned for any potential racism.

I can still find endless amounts of value in Mark Twain and know I will always be able to. He was a funny and intelligent man with a lot to offer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


1984: 60th Anniversary Edition
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Gave to my friend, Tracy

I can no longer imagine living in this world without having read 1984. Its language has become community language. Its themes are embedded in a collective memory. We always hear talk of “Big Brother.” In other books, movies, conversations, interviews, everywhere. It is hard to block it out of your mind when you walk into a store with an automated voice that greets you by saying, “You are on camera. Do not steal anything.” Upon looking up, you see several monitors with your image from various angles. The word “Orwellian” occur to you? It has survived for decades and has been passed down and down. It warned/scared people then, and it still does now. The constant war, the censorship, the surveillance, the national identity, the propaganda always seems eerily familiar.

If you have not read this book yet, you should. You will hear it referred to throughout your life no matter what, but if you read it you will understand why.
"Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2 X Siddhartha

2 X Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: “Stolen” by Vallan and one will be left somewhere--unless you want it

Painting on wall at Steinbeck's in Oakhurst

I met Vallan for a coffee and a beer a couple weeks ago. I walked into the café and saw her deep in a book. I thought nothing of it and ordered a mocha. Later, I sat down and she explained to me that she had stolen the book when she dog sat for me in the past. She didn’t think it would matter since I was getting rid of my books anyway. She was right. It had to go at some point. I also have multiple copies of Siddhartha. She really liked it, and she confessed with no pressure. What are you going to do? There was a moment where I thought it was Steppenwolf and that the cover had fallen off, and I was not handling it quite so well, haha, oh well. Goodbye Siddhartha #1.

It was a library book, though paperback and overused. The first time it was checked out was in 96, and it was retired in 97. It came home with me. I have no idea where the other one came from, but it is the exact same edition as the library book. The cover is stripped off.

I believe my mother was the first person to have me read Siddhartha. In my senior year of high school we read it and had to put on a production. I was excited to be a “prostitute” in the “play.” In college, I would be required to read it again. Each time I was unable to find the copy I had read before and had to buy a new one. Now, I find them all over the place. It is a good book though. I imagine I will have many people to give it to when it is time for the others to go.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Three Dog Life

A Three Dog Life by Abigail
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Giving away to my friend Sarah G.A.

I was about to leave the bookstore, and I glanced over at the 99 cent rack before quickly adverting my eyes. I did not want to get sucked in. I had the legitimate fear that I would end up leaving with a stack of books and that potentially all of them would not be enjoyable to read. It was too late. I had already made eye contact with A Three Dog Life. I picked it up and quickly walked away from the display, as I flipped to the middle and began reading. I read two pages, flipped it over, flipped it over again, red the Stephen King comment on the front calling it the best memoir he ever read, opened it, read the inside flap. I have never been a King fan, and I could not pin down what exactly was drawing me to the memoir. It was only a dollar, what the hell?

I took it home, along with the biography of Keiko the whale who played “Willy” in Free Willy. I continued to read the Gelsey Kirkland book I had started. Her second memoir, The Shape of Love. I guess I was in a memoir mood, though I did not realize the theme until now. One day, I just put it down and picked up A Three Dog Life. I was enjoying Gelsey, but it just kind of happened. I started reading, and I did not stop for a long time.

The book is not terribly long, and it reads quickly. At least it does to me. A woman writes about her life after her husband is hit by a car and suffers a traumatic brain injury. She writes about learning to care for him and learning to care for herself. She describes her love of 3 rescue dogs that help her be more present in her life. She talks about Outsider Art. Her words are loving and honest. I think it was exactly what I needed to read right then. I think it called to me. It gets 4 stars for perfect timing.

I could not decide who to give it to. I could think of a handful of people who would probably love and, for sure, some that would just think it trite and wasp-y. I finally decided on Sarah G.A. because this book reminds me of some of the books we read years ago. The Elizabeth Bergs and Anne Lamotts. I think she will appreciate it as much as I did. We will see.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Free and Other Stories

Free and Other Stories by Anika Nailah
Weight: 10.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere

This book snuck onto my shelves and hid there for years. I am pretty sure I bought it when it was on a bargain rack without really even understanding what it was about or what type of book it was. I picked up at random a couple weeks ago, and it read fast so I just kept going. The first couple pages seemed contrived and did not hold my attention, but then I was thrown into all sorts of places with all sorts of people, and I liked it. I was hanging out with a drunk a man trying to be a part of something. I was furious with the adults in my life for not protecting my dog, rather they got rid of him. I was grieving and hysterical. This book covers a lot of ground with few words.

The last story told by a woman whose mother had just died is the one that is sticking with me right now. It was so sad. She was laughing at the funeral and acting up. Her family was embarrassed and did not understand exactly how deep her mourning went or how great of a relationship she obviously had with her mom. It hurt to read, but it was beautiful.

If you would like to own this book let me know before I release it somewhere.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tatyana Tolstaya

Pushkin’s Children: Writings on Russia and Russians by Tatyana Tolstaya
Weight: 9 oz
Method of Disposal: Sending to Vallan in Chicago. I initially bought it for her.

Pushkin’s Children is a collection of book reviews and essays. The book consists mostly of incredibly interesting, well-written, and informative book reviews. If only we could all write about books that way. The few other types of essays are also great. “The Price of Eggs” stands out for me right now. She talks about waking up to the words “Market Crashes” and the slow realization of what that actually means. The piece on Russian Cooking was hilarious and heart-breaking all at the same time. It is amazing to hear about the sheer amount of food required to serve the full meals described in the book, but it is infuriating to think of the servants eating next to nothing while they serve up elaborate meals to those with too much money. I got to read about Gorbachev, the parts about Yeltsin had me laughing out loud, and towards the end there is even a little bit about Putin. You should read this book. It is enjoyable, even if you have not read any or all of the books reviewed or even if you know very little about Russia. I cannot wait to get my hands on more of her stuff.

Just be wary if you have a passion for Alexander Solzhenitsyn. You may not after reading this or you may hate Pushkin’s Children.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Disney Poster Book

The Disney Poster Book Featuring the Collection of Tony Anselmo
Weight: 3 lbs
Method of Disposal: Selling

If you are into Disney or movie posters this is a beautiful book. The pictures are large, and the color is perfect. There are old and/or rare posters featured, and the more recent and more accessible ones like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. There are Mickey Mouse posters, a Ferdinand the Bull poster, and more that you have probably never heard of.

I will be sad to see it go, but not that sad. It is, at minimum, worth $25—it originally cost $35, but the dust jacket is not in mint condition. Ah well. I am just not into Disney like I use to be. I know too much about them now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Heaven's Harlots

Heaven’s Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult
By Miriam Williams
Weight: 1. 5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to my friend, Jasmin

My brother was once invited to join a cult, also called the Children of God cult, though I suppose it could have been mimicry of the one in this book. By being “invited,” I do not mean that he was handed a flier on the street, but rather invited to the house of a peer and things unraveled from there.

I think everyone in that little house we lived in read Heaven’s Harlots after that, for better or for worse. It was a horrific memoir about a young girl that gets involved in a cult. This cult eventually sends her out to have sex for God, amongst other deplorable things. Cults swept through the media and the minds of many people causing fear, confusion, and paranoia. I really do not seem to hear about them as much now as I did when I was a kid, but they are still out there. And, I imagine, most of them are not so bad, though there are ones like this that can ruin many lives. As with all things, there will be good and there will be bad, and fear will blur the lines between the two. The Children of God cult still exists as The Family, though they state that they no longer do “flirty fishing” or “sacred prostitution.”

Miriam Williams spent 12 years in and out of the Children of God Cult, and had a difficult time transitioning back into life outside of the cult. She joined in 1971 and finally left, for good, in 1988. She then published this book, exposing the Cult and hopefully helping others. She is an Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. She teaches sociology. The Family International now has members in 90 countries and does missionary work. They state on their webpage that they have gone through many changes in the 42 years they have existed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Passage to India

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Weight: 10 oz
Method of Disposal: Donate to the AKF

I read A Passage to India as an assignment in my First Year Seminar at Agnes Scott. I had no feelings about it. I did not suffer to get through it, but I was and am willing to read almost anything. I just read it and then it was done.
Later in my college career, I met a woman who changed my life. I was fascinated by her. She was brilliant and she was (is) an incredible writer. Her e-mails captivated me, but later I would be blown away by her short stories. I only knew her for a brief time, but we packed a lot in before it all imploded. She taught me to daydream about outer space, to question my own involvement in my more miserable moments, and most of all how to stay up to 6am just laughing.

It has been over four years now but when I see this book I think of her, and I still smile. While this book left little to no impact on me, it encouraged a massive change in her life. She started allowing herself to realize things and/or allowing others to see things about herself that might have previously gone unnoticed. She wrote a confessional letter home, which she knew would be met with great resistance. And then, she went on. She continued on her path to great things. I hope anyone else who picks up this book has a similar experience, but if not you will probably find the inspiration elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Art of WWII

(6.3 lbs)
Art of the Third Reich by Peter Adam
Weight: 2.6 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to Tracy

This book was put together by BBC documentary-film producer who grew up in Berlin during the time of Hitler’s Third Reich. Adam recognized a gap in art history that was often intentionally overlooked, and he decided to make this book. Statues, murals, postage stamps, propaganda posters, paintings, and more are displayed and discussed in this book. It is a great introductory book with information you may not have heard in all of the other books you have read.
This seems like a book Tracy should own since she is an artist and also has an interest in WWII. If she happens to own it already, I will be selling it on for $9.50.

WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature Edited by David Colbert
Weight: 3.7 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to Tracy
I saw this book while I was walking to the kitchen after writing about the Art of the Third Reich and thought I should go ahead and make it a bundle for Tracy. This one’s presentation is better than the last. The pictures are large and in full color. This book does not, however, focus on art from the Third Reich. It is American art and writing. The paintings and photographs are wrapped the text of poetry, essays, and letters. You are truly drawn into another time and into a very painful war.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Lucky by Alice Sebold
Weight: 12.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donate

Alice Sebold is probably best known for her novel, The Lovely Bones. Lucky is whole other thing. It is a memoir and the story of Sebold’s own rape. The cover of the book starts you off with this, “In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this story by the police. In comparison, they said, I was LUCKY.

I read this book before my own rape. I remember it being horrific. At the end, I remember thinking it was “unrelenting” when her roommate is raped. I can grasp images from her life, just moments, but I cannot write a real review, paragraph, or whatever about it. I tried to jog my memory by skimming it, but it opens with this horrible rape that Alice Sebold endured and it is too much for me. It all comes at me in a blur. I see words like “virgin,” “blow job,” “dry” and I don’t want to make sense out of it so I slam it shut.
I read it once. I think I was 16.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Women in Love

Women in Love: Portraits of Lesbian Mothers and Their Families
Weight: 2.8 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I bought this book from a bargain bookstore called Kudzu when I was in the 9th grade. I collected anything lesbian. It was like a treasure hunt. It so rarely came up, but when it did it did not matter what it was. It made me delirious to find myself in little pieces of everyday life. This book features pictures of lesbians with their kids alongside a short interview with the women.

It is a lovely book, but one I do not need anymore. I can also say that I can no longer find myself in it, which does not decrease its value but is just an observation. I have zero desire to have children, and it is not something I feel strongly about. I think lesbians should be able to adopt, parent, and all sorts of other things, but I do not invest much of my time in thinking about it in my everyday life.
Anywho, let me know if you are interested!