Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clerks/Chasing Amy

Clerks/Chasing Amy Kevin Smith
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I have never been one of those huge Kevin Smith fans.  I generally cannot get into his movies or, unfortunately, almost any comedy.  I have really appreciated and respected many things he has done in his life, as far as standing up for minorities.  I can also appreciate some of the things people tell me his movies do to promote a better world, though I do not experience any feelings of revolution or inspiration when I am watching them.  I first saw Chasing Amy because my 8th grade girlfriend said it was her favorite movie and that I would love it.  I am very confident now that the only reason why was because we were two girls in “love,” having sex, and dealing with the repercussions of everyone knowing it and Amy was bisexual.  She may still love it and relate, but I never liked it and just watched it to see some representation in the media.  This book was purchased at a Books for Less sometime after that.

I recently read Susie Bright’s autobiography, Big Sex Little Death, and she mentions that this movie was inspired by her and that gave me a little bit more respect.  It was a strange thought.   Bright is so much more intriguing and intricate than Amy, of course she is a real person too.   In case you were unsure, I do recommend her autobiography.  It is amazing that she has been able to do so much in her life, and it is a good story too. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting Away With Murder

Getting Away With Murder: Weapons for the War Against Domestic Violence  Raoul Felder and Barbara Victor
Weight: 9.3 oz
Method of Disposal:Left at a Kroger in Duluth

I was sucked into this book right away, as I am with all progressive books about domestic violence.  I did question the usefulness of reading the nonfiction books I bought in the 90’s at this point in time.  I couldn’t help but wonder if I should only be reading things that were written more recently if I was not trying to do a chronological comparison.  It has been about 15 years!  What has changed and what hasn’t?  It was scary to recognize how little we have progressed all of these years later, though we have made some improvements.

I think about the times when I have called the police because of domestic violence, whether that is with my friends or neighbors, and how many times I have been disappointed.  It was not all that long ago that my friend and I were in contact with the police about a crime taking place next door.  It took hours for them to show up even though the couple was fighting in the front yard.  By the time they came it was quiet and they just slowly drove by with their lights off.  They did not get out of the vehicle, they obviously did not knock on the door, they did not question us.  You know?  Murder can be very quiet once it is done.  It was infuriating.  

I use to volunteer for a domestic violence organization and when we spoke to the county police they were so understanding and supportive.  I believed in them, and I still believe in the officers that came to speak to us.  Unfortunately, one of them just retired.  I was so disappointed in the ones that “showed up” that night.
In another county, my friend’s boyfriend was arrested for domestic violence.  He was released the next day, and she was not notified.  He kicked down her door and left a note with a butcher’s knife laying on top of it.  I called the police, and they said I needed to contact his probation officer.  I called him, and he said the guy had to communicate with her in order to get in trouble and that he had not done that.  Can you think of a more clear communication?!  She paid for that apartment all by herself, with no help from him, and she was not safe there.  She had to come stay with me.
I am disappointed.

This book made a lot of pushes and suggestions that made me uncomfortable.  I am not naming it as the end all be all, but it does have a lot of really good information.  I am not sure what the solution is, but I agree that we need to focus on what the abusers are doing wrong and how they came to be and not just the people who suffer their violence.  

***In a strange twist of fate, a friend of mine dropped by for dinner last night.  I ended this blog post when she knocked on my door.  We went out with another friend for frozen yogurt, vegetarian reubens, and some beer.  Her boyfriend called us while we were all hanging out and said that a woman and her baby had just come to the apartment seeking shelter from her boyfriend.  He had let her in but did not have any way to call the police.  He only had access to Skype, and you cannot make 911 calls.  We called the police, left the restaurant, and went to her apartment.  The police came just under an hour later, handcuffed him, and took him to jail.  He will either be bailed out or stay in jail until his court date.  The woman began to regret her decision to call, but the police took him anyway.  This is not an unusual or bad reaction for a woman to have, but I was pleased that the police went through with the arrest.  I do not know what will happen from here, but I hope it works out for all parties involved.***

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery

Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery  by Pamela Sneed
Weight: 4.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Left at a Barnes and Noble in Duluth, GA

I apparently bought this at Books for Less in Duluth for $1.  How long ago did the Books for Less close down in Duluth?  Quite some time ago.  I got a bargain, and I probably had no idea.  O.k. I should give myself some credit.  I probably read the cover and the back, enough to see “lesbian,” “enslavement, sexuality, emotional trauma, and physical abuse,” amongst other things.  They called her a whispering sledgehammer right on the cover.  I am not even sure what that means, but wouldn’t you like it if someone called you that?

I could not help but think that the anger, emotion, power of Sneed would really stand out on stage.  It was not surprising to see “New York-based performance poet” as a part of her book jacket bio.  You could hear it through and through.  Reading this was great, but I would love to hear it in person.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chicago Stories

Chicago Stories: Tales of the City
Weight: 13.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Sending to V when I get a chance

I picked this up in Chi Town some years ago when I visited with V.  I had started to fall in love with the city just a couple years before we met, and it was even more difficult to resist it after hearing her proclaim her love for the city so frequently.  She grew up in Illinois and her family lived there.

I tormented her brother by making him walk around a bookstore and then an aquarium for hours.  I wanted some local literature, but I could not find what I was looking for so I bought this collection.  In true Laura style, I just now read it. I guess I should have saved that $14.95 + tax until I was ready.  It was a decent book though.  I am not sure all the writings actually fit together in this one anthology.  It does not flow well, but there is a lot of talent.  I liked Edna Ferber’s story about poor old Jo and all his sisters.  Jean Genet’s piece was intriguing.  Maya Angelou’s “The Reunion” made me wince, hold my breath, smile.  It was kind of great.  I am going to send this on to V because I saw she wanted to read it.  That was such a great visit to Chicago.  This book brought back fond memories, despite the fact that a lot of it was about poverty, crime, and corruption.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Plays and Monologues

99 Film Scenes for Actors  Angela Nicholas 1999
100 Monologues  Laura Harrington 1989
Modern American Scenes for Student Actors   Wynn Handman 1978
Weight: 1.5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Left in various locations throughout Duluth, GA

I briefly, when I was much younger, dabbled with the idea of acting.  I really enjoyed it and thought I would be good at it, that it would give me a way to express myself.  I took some classes and read screenplays in between all the other things I was reading.  I remember I had a wonderful friend named Kristal who used to love reading plays out loud together.  It was so much fun, and I still miss it.  Every time I read a play I think about her and I miss that opportunity.  It is just not the same inside your own head.  It can still be great, but it is much less fantastic.  I know these books are pretty old for mass market paperbacks, but I hope they find someone who will read them aloud, even if it is just in the privacy of their own home.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Webster's Dictionary

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary
Weight: 8.6 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

Not that long ago I was trying to write a blog post from T’s house and debating which book to get rid of when I got home.  I found that it was difficult to decide when they were not all in front of me.  I had trouble remembering which ones I had already rid myself of, which ones had gone missing, which ones I had read.  I wanted to get rid of a bundle if possible but would settle for one book.  She told me I should get rid of my reference books because there was really no need for anyone to have a bunch of those around anymore.  She politely told me to keep my OED and my visual dictionary I love so much and just get rid of the less spectacular ones that I never used.  The ones that contained information that was easily found elsewhere.

I am not doing that, exactly, in this post.  I am unable to locate my OED so I am keeping my other large dictionary until I can find it.  I am not getting rid of Our Bodies, Ourselves yet.  It came up.  I am just getting rid of this one massive dictionary I never use right now.  In all fairness, it was holding up a bookshelf for the last year and a half, but that all finally came crashing down a few days ago.  It was useful for that brief time, but it is not any longer and so it is going out in the world to find a new owner. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Weight: 8.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Sold

I donated this book and never wrote about it until now.  I wish I still had it in front of me so I could touch it, smell it, and decide what I want to write about it.  The memories that come to me now are not of the book but of the postmodern fiction class I took my senior year of college and the notes that Liz O. and I passed back in forth.  I also think of the pictures I would draw the professor of each book we read.  Catch 22, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Pale Horse, Crying of Lot 49, and others.  So many great novels and such a brilliant woman leading the class.  If I could get this book back, I would read it again before passing it on.  I suppose I will track it down at the local library.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Great Penguin Rescue

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World’s Largest Animal Rescue  by Dyan deNapoli
Weight: 10.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

Is there anything about this title and this book as a whole that does not scream at me to pick it up and read it right away?  No.  As if the words were in bold, my eyes see “penguin” and “world’s largest animal rescue.”  It is irresistible.  I dream of penguin rescue and here is someone who lived it.  This was one of those slip-ups where I bought a book after I had already started this project.  It happens sometimes.  I buy electronic books from time to time, and I also buy real books, though very very rarely.   Confession complete.  I simply NEED the feeling of walking into a bookstore, smelling the pages, and picking out some books at random.  Not looking for anything in particular except something new to read.  

I do not want penguins to be in need of rescue, but I know that they frequently are.  I do not believe in interfering too much with wild animals and their lives, except in the case of rescue, and so here is how I imagine my dream realized.  If I am ever to be around penguins, it will probably be in a rescue scenario.  I have worked with animals enough to know that rescue isn’t all glamour, and it isn’t full of cute and cuddly moments of joy all the time.  deNapoli talks about the stench, the razor sharp penguin bites, the sadness, and the sheer exhaustion of rescuing penguins after a massive oil spill.  She also talks about the strength of people, their overwhelming ability to come together and express love.  She has an amazing story to tell.

I am going to need someone to help me realize this dream.  Here is how you can make it happen.  Hook me up with one of these groups:

It will be a minimum of $2,000.  You have that laying around, collecting dust, right?  Okay okay.  I am joking, but I have realized that this is a dream I can make happen.  Eventually.  I can save the money and by the time my dogs pass away (which will be never if I have it my way) I will have it all, and I will go make a difference in some “ungrateful penguin’s” lives.  I cannot wait.  I CANNOT wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let the Lion Eat Straw

Let the Lion Eat Straw (Advanced Reader) by Ellease Southerland
Weight: 4.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving out in public

This is yet another book that reviewers seem to love, and I thought was just okay.  A woman’s life unravels from being a small child growing up in the South, to a young woman in New York, moving back to the South, going back North.  It is a wonderful story in that you see how much is packed into her individual life.  You see her achieve dreams and lose others.  You see the personal mess ups and the times when other people messed up in irrevocable ways that would always affect the main character.  You read a book like this and you think about all that you will never know about the many people you encounter every day.  

The book sometimes seemed too tragic, but then it was always balanced with hope and the honesty that life goes on.  That life is often more lackluster than we had hoped when we were young.  The broken, streaming prose was often confusing, though sometimes beautiful.   I thought it was a decent book, but I will not read it again and would not recommend it if someone asked me what books I read and loved recently.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Wildlife by Richard Ford
Weight: 5 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a public place

I was into this story, but I never believed a minute of it.  The dialogue and actions of the characters seemed inconceivable.  Marriages break up and children are put in awkward positions.  People reconnect, disconnect, and connect briefly all the time.  It is not an unusual story.  It was just the way it was told.  There was something appealing about the conversations the characters had.  The reader could glean a lot about the characters and their emotions.  They showed things about human nature that hit home, but if you are into reading conversations that would happen in the real world this is probably not the book for you.  They are contrived and full of meaning.

I bought this book for $2 at an end of the year sale at Barnes and Noble.  I have finally read it, and I am passing it on.