Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Chooses You

It Chooses You by Miranda July with photographs by Brigitte Sire 2011
No One Belongs Here More Than You. Stories by Miranda July 2007
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I have packed a small box of books for the move that are kept separate from the rest.  They are the ones I may never get rid of.  It is fair that I keep one box, right?  In that box there is another copy of It Chooses You that was autographed by Miranda July.  "You" is crossed out and "Laura" is written above it.  My dear friend, Liz, bought it for me and mailed in to me in a care package.  I was so delighted and moved to get it in the mail, unexpectedly.  Of course, I was also super jealous that she had the chance to meet Miranda July.  Like adolescent jealousy.  I have been smitten with Miranda July since my other dear friend, Sarah, introduced me to her cds when I was still in high school.  Her work was a large part of my entirely awkward senior thesis in College.  I even recorded my own tapes of me telling my own short stories in July fashion.  I cannot believe I was not institutionalized.  

Another copy of No One Belongs Here More Than You is also in the box.  My creative writing adviser, Dermont, gave it to me as a graduation gift and wrote a wonderful note to me inside of it.  I might be more smitten with Dermont than I am July and so it is one of my most prized possessions. 

Both of the copies I am now passing on came to me from Sarah and were the ones I read before I got the other copies.  I am infinitely grateful to her for introducing me to July and for continuing to nourish it through gift giving.  I am sure these two will find good home--with titles like that who could resist?  I want to believe that both titles say something about who I am in this moment and that is why I decided to get rid of them tonight.  Really, July is just a really good cheerleader via naming things and a really unique writer/artist/filmmaker to boot.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Human Anatomy and Physiology 4th Ed by John W. Hole, Jr. Prepared by Nancy A Sickles Corbett
Weight: 1.1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donating

Five more days/Four more nights that I must make it through before I see my Beloved again.  I am so excited that I sleep all day and stay up all night, apparently.  There is so much to do to prepare for her arrival.  The house is a true disaster zone with boxes pilled up everywhere and random odds and ends left unboxed in piles here and there.  I have not figured out the bills or the method I will use to move.  I am busy all the time and the one day I had time to do something, I crashed.  Hard.  Sleepiness, depression, missed plans.  The full nine yards.

And yet, somehow I am convinced, that once I can hold her body close to me again everything will fall into place and it will all make sense.  We will get through it together.  Is that true?

Sleepless Nights

Sleepless Nights by Helmut Newton
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Sold

Another beloved book sold.  I am sad to see it go, but I am happy to put the money towards buying Ms. Amazing her ring.  I know she is unconcerned with it, but I am so anxious to get it for her.  I love to be another small step closer.  :)


Exegesis by Astro Teller
Weight: 9.9 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I bought this book over ten years ago, and I could not stand it the first time I tried to read it.  I was not very interested in computers or computer speak.  Dial-up was available at my father's house, but I lived with my mother, and we did not get it until later.  I did not check e-mail regularly and was not on any social networking sites until college.  I tried to pick this book up a couple times since then and had no interest develop.

Tonight, after I finished Indecent, I went to look for my next book to read and realized I had packed them all for the move, all except this book and a handful of young adult books.  I read it in a couple of hours and enjoyed it.  I knew when I saw it tonight that I had changed a lot since I first bought it and that it was possible to not hate it forever.  Point proven.  Holler.


Indecent: How I Make it and Fake it as a Girl for Hire  by Sarah Katherine Lewis
Weight: 12.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

I loved this book.  It felt so good to be reading something I loved again.  I feel like I have spent far too long just reading books that are okay or worse.  It is funny because I picked it up and put it back on the shelf countless times before I actually read it.  I do have a fascination with the sex industry, which is why I bought it, but I also have a reasonable bad taste in my mouth for books about it.  So often I have picked up a book to learn it was written by someone "undercover" or someone who stripped for a year with the intention of writing a book or someone who has no writing skills what-so-ever or whatever.  The shock value is there so the story can be lacking.  I thought this book would be more of the same.

It wasn't.  Lewis had me hooked when she talked about playing the game Whore as a child and when she worried that she was too chubby for sex work.  So often, I have thought about it and thought I am too fat, too unattractive, too old, too whatever.  I felt an instant connection.  Then she began talking about the confidence it gave her and I was enthralled.  I wished I had done it.  She went from one job to the next with a desire to learn and a strong work ethic.  As the book and her life went on, she seemed to grow increasingly angry and violent minded.  I questioned if I would have ever been strong enough for it.  I did not feel lied to.  I felt comfortable in the place where I could look at sex work as sex work.  She did not class it as a magical kingdom where feminists romp naked and feel wonderful about themselves while raking in the money, but she did not make it out to be the evil of the world that must be purged either.  She talked about things like confidence and fear, feminism and fuckery, with what seemed like a sincerity I could trust.

I did get to the end of the book and feel like somewhat of a customer though.  Was I being the oh-so-dreaded relater?  I would be lying if I acted like I never got turned on while reading it, which is bizarre because there was not a lot to be turned on about.  The book was full of nasty smelling jizz, sticky environments, and deplorable people.  She kept the reader at arms length.  She showed us a lot about the sex industry, but she never let us get close to her outside of her work.  We do not know what she does for fun, anything about her friends who don't do sex work, that she has a brother until the acknowledgements, what she spends her money on, and why should we?  We have come to learn about sex work, after all.  She are reminded throughout the book that she will not give out too much information in order to be safe.  She tells us each time she starts a new job.

Any who, I loved it and I thank her for being bold enough to do it, write about it, and share it with the world.  I think I will seek out this sex and bacon book I am seeing all the reviewers of Indecent rave about.

p.s. Sarah Katherine Lewis, you are right.  Hemmingway does suck.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sociological Debates

Sociological Debates: Thinking about 'The Social' ed. Floya Anthias and Michael P. Kelly
Weight: 1.9 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

Remember my wonderful mother?  After the divorce she went back to school and worked, while trying to raise two children.  A teenage boy and a bratty little girl.  In those days, she would read Lord of the Flies to me until I fell asleep, but she had her own textbooks to read after I passed out.  I inherited a lot of them and read them, carried them with me, thought about them because I like to learn.  I like to read about almost anything.  I was glad to have them.  I wouldn't have bought them on my own, but I was lucky enough to have them passed on.  This is one of those books.

Rolling Stone: The 70's

Rolling Stone: The 70's
Weight: 3 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I never had good taste in music.  I have always had an eclectic taste, but "good" is not the adjective you would use to describe it overall.  I was also born in the eighties.  When I was growing up, people were always talking about the 70's with nostalgia.  We would have days at school where we would wear bell bottoms and peace signs in honor (and also making fun of) the hippies.  We had no real understanding of that time, but we were still encouraged to play with it.

Later in life I would be lucky enough to date a woman who understood the beauty of classic rock and was very patient with me.  I am fairly certain that is how this book came to be.  I believe I bought it trying to find a reason for the little scraps I had picked up along the way.  I thought it was about music, but it was about everything.  Music, drugs, roe v wade, Vietnam, feminism.  We are over forty years away now, and I still have trouble believing the 70's did not happen just a minute ago.  Right before I was born....just a minute ago.


Moments: Contemporary Verse from Around the World  Eds. Sharon Derderian and Robert Lawrence
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

This is my first published work.  Given, it was a scam.  You could send your writing into a contest and, if you won, you went in the book for free.  If you did not win you could still get in, but you had to pay a substantial amount of money.  Of course, they did not word it this way but it was obvious.  I was lucky enough to have a mom who thought boosting my ego was worth it--just so I would not lose my creative spirit--and I thought it meant something.  So, I got this bound book with my poetry in print.  Even then I knew it was sketchy, but I thought it still gave me bragging rights, though I never really bragged about it.

Please let me tell you now, that my mom was broke.  Like broke, broke.  And she still thought encouraging my creativity was a valid use of her hard earned money.  Plenty of late nights and a lot of stress went into what would become this poor excuse of an anthology.  I have held onto it all this time.  And I will never forget what it did for me.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you so very much.

Now, I am sure you want to see the piece of shit I turned in.  Here it is:

Love by Laura Lynn McKelvey age-12

My love for you is strong, yours is no more than a mere hello.  I want you and need you every minute of the day.

You'll never understand me or even see me.  I'm just a stranger among strangers.  One of the many who lives everyday, but always seems so far away.

I would die for you, you would scream for me.  I would lie for you, you wouldn't say a thing.  I would kill for you, you wouldn't do a thing!

I love you forever and you'll love me.  Never.

There are a few things I need to say now.  One is that this is a terrible poem, even for me at twelve.  I had better.  Why would I choose this one?  Two is that I might have been a touch dramatic and a little creepy.  I would kill for you?  Wtf?  Three, it is amazing I thought I knew what love was at that age.  Awww....what?  It would be embarrassing except that, at some point, you have to recognize that teenagers (and pre-teenagers) have "no idea", and their feelings are still valid and important, even if only to them and their peers.  You should listen and encourage.

P.S.  I was such a lesbian.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bjork, Tori, and Yes...

Bjork by Bjork 2001
Girl Power by the Spice Girls 1997
Tori Amos: The Authorized Biography 1996
Weight: 4.5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

Can you believe the things I have accumulated?  It is grown out of hand.  I sent this text message to a friend/ex-coworker who had just come over a couple nights before, and she says I look like a hoarder now.  Most of those boxes are books!  As you can see, the project has not done nearly enough to get me on the right track, but I am working on it...

This Bjork book was put together in a lovely way, and it has all sorts of great Bjork photos, but I do not need it.  I enjoy a number of Bjork songs, but I will not be rereading this or looking through it.  She is not one of my absolute all time favorites and, even if she was, I just do not have that same desire to read about famous people that I use to--even musicians.  I am keeping some books like it, but I am not keeping them all.  It just does not make sense right now.

While I am at it...

This started out as a Bjork blog, but why not go ahead and get rid of (surely it is the last) Spice Girls book and Tori Amos while I am at it?  Please do not judge.  I am fully aware that all of these people should not show up in the same entry.  It is a matter of desperation, though I was sort of shocked at first that the Spice Girls book has higher ratings than the other two.  Perhaps the other to have a more picky or older clientele?

The Best of Norman Rockwell

The Best of Norman Rockwell  by Norman Rockwell
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

Norman Rockwell has never painted in a style I am particularly fond of.  I recognize his place in history, and I am impressed by his attention to detail.  I see a lot to admire in this book, but I am in the process of moving, and I want to be surrounded by art with vibrant colors.  I want art that lingers between abstract and realism.  I am sure this coffee table book will find a new home with someone looking for something else.  And, unfortunately, it is just another 2 lbs I do not have to carry.  This moving situation is getting out of control.  Do not be surprised if you never hear from me again because I have been crushed by books that have toppled over on me while I was packing.  Good luck to you Norman.  I hope your new home is better than your current one, and I am wishing the same luck to myself.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Photography Books

The Art of Portraits and the Nude and Take Better Pictures  by The Kodiak Library of Creative Photography
Weight: 3 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

Do you need any more reason than the photographs on the covers of these two books to believe that they are invaluable to budding photographer?  I mean, look at that woman in the camera.  How did they do that?!?! Okay, it was cooler in 1983 but, with digital imaging, it is hard to remember.  The woman on the Nude book has green eyeballs, excessive blush, and red lipstick.  Beautiful...yes?

My grandfather was so happy to hand these down to me, and I was happy he thought I was deserving of them--that he believed in my creativity, but I do not have to keep them forever because of that.  I, personally, will never forget these two photos.  Okay, that is a lie.  They will be gone from my mind forever in a week.

13 Days Bundle

A Streetcar Named Desire  by Tennessee Williams (1974)
Blondes! 25 Vintage Photos  by Susan Bernard (1995)
Depression: The Evolution of Powerlessness  by Paul Gilbert (1992)
Real Life: Real Spice The Official Story by The Spice Girls (1997)
The Guide to Legally Obtaining a Foreign Passport by D.O'nes (1990)
My Date With Satan  by Stacey Richter (2000)
Weight: 7 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere public tomorrow

These books may not appear, on the face of it, to have anything in common, but they are bundled together for many great reasons!  Don't tell anyone else.  I am only allowed to tell two people myself, but The Love of My Life will be visiting me in just under two weeks and, though the visit will be brief, it could not come at a better time.  We will be able to move into and set up our house together.  We are just renting but, still, we picked it out together.  And there are horses. So...perfect.

And just to be super tacky: I had a date with Satan, which created some real life spice, and I left behind the blondes! on a streetcar named desire.  Then Satan left me, and I fell into a depression and dreamed of obtaining a foreign passport and a new life.  See the clear connection?

In all seriousness, that was truly the best Spice Girls book released.  Don't get me wrong, the bar was incredibly low.  But it was fun to see the girls old family photos.  I mean, if you were into them, or whatever, in like, the 90s.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


The Lamplighter  by Cummins
Unsure of date.  There is an inscription dated 1896.
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donating

It is almost 3:30 am, and I have been working for hours.  They (being the people) always act like the overtime won't be so bad and ask you not to burn yourself out, but it seems impossible.  I still feel so far behind, and I know I will not be able to get anything crossed off my to do list at work tomorrow because I have to fix my reports, and we will have surgery paperwork.  I am overwhelmed.  It is possible that I have broken down crying in the last 4 days more often than I have eaten.

Back in the day, Lamplighters were the people whose job it was to light the streetlights.  At least, I think that is true.  I felt like the very title of this book made it appropriate for this post.  When I took the trash out to take a break, no one else was lighting up the street with their indoor lights.

This book, initially, was an unexpected treasure for me.  I ordered something else and this came in.  I wrote a nice e-mail and said I was glad to return this one, but I would still like the other one.  He wrote me back to just keep it and sent the other.  No worries, no problems, and two books.  One from the 1800s!   It is over a hundred years old.  Oh my God.  If I keep talking about it I won't let it go...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

True Crime

Poisoned Love (2005) by Caitlin Rother
The End of the Dream: The Golden Boy Who Never Grew Up and Other True Cases (1999)
Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder (1988)
Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal (2007)
By Ann Rule
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

That question of true crime again.  It just does not seem right to get entertainment from other people's loss, and I have trouble finding a way to make it not entertainment.  I see the usefulness in learning, predicting, preventing--like in the case of domestic violence (Too Late to Say Goodbye), but is that why these are national bestsellers?  Or why there are so many crime shows on tv?  We are horrified and scared, but also enthralled by evil.  Is it because it lives within us?  Do we need something more evil than our evil so that we do not feel so bad?  Do we need to be heros who solve the crimes?  Do we need to see the clues so we can feel confident that it won't happen to us?  I don't know.  I am done getting sucked into these shows and books.  There are some things I will never understand and senseless murder is one of them.

Spirit of the Polar Regions

Spirit of the Polar Regions: Explore the Icy Wilderness of the Arctic and Antarctic  by Gerard Chesire
Weight: 3. 7 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I have been fascinated with the (Ant)arctic since I was a small girl.  Mostly because of the penguins but also because I am in awe of whales and polar bears and anywhere I may never get the chance to go.  The animals and the icy blue landscapes are beautiful.  I use to daydream about becoming a scientist so that I could make it to Antarctica to see the Emperor Penguins in all of their tall, eerie, glory.  Now, I dream of volunteering for penguin rescue off the coast of South Africa...

Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1964)
On the Road to Tara: The Making of Gone With the Wind by Aljean Harmetz (1996)
Weight: 5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

You cannot grow up in Atlanta without hearing something about Gone With the Wind.  I have seen the movie so many times I have lost count, and it was a requirement in my elementary school.  It was also one of the first adult books I read, and on field trips we would go around Atlanta and see how Gone With the Wind was connected.  There were postcards of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in all the stores.  The Margaret Mitchell house may have been burnt down on several occasions, but it was always built back.  The Civil War was still very present in the South.

It was not until I was much older, probably college, that my love for Gone With the Wind came into question.  I was ignorant of all the implications and the racism.  I am not anymore and now I do not have the same trouble letting these things go.

Children's Literature

The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997)
Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz (1976)
Celebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays by Judith Gross (1992)
Cookie Monster's Book of Cookie Shapes Sesame Street (1979)
Disney's The Lion King by Gina Ingoglia (1994)
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater (1999)
Horrible Harry and the Holidaze  by Suzy Kline (2003)
How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers  Edited by The American Poetry and Literacy Project and The Academy of American Poets (2006)
I, Houdini: The Autobiography of a Self-Educated Hamster (1978)
Junior Science Book of Penguins by Patricia Lauber (1963)
Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Cravett (2007)
Mr Popper's Penguins (another copy) by Richard and Florence Atwater (1988)
My Visit to the Aquarium by Aliki (1993)
The Night Crossing  by Karen Ackerman (1994)
Penguin Pete and Pat by Marcus Pfister (1989)
Smurf Cake by Peyo (1981)
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck  by Beatrix Potter (1987)
Walt Disney's Alphabet A-Z (1983)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (2007)
The Young Folks' Shelf of Books: Sport and Adventure (Book 9, 1938)
Weight: 6 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I am packing boxes and hauling old furniture out to the curb to be taken home by new people.  I am walking in my front door and feeling overwhelmed by how messy everything looks and how many more boxes I need to get.  I am daunted by the idea of moving everything 30-40 minutes across town and also learning how to do my new job (new title, same place).  To calm myself in between all of these things, I am re-reading all of my young adult and children's literature before putting it in one of the donation boxes.

Today, I learned about various winter holidays, the night crossings some Jewish families took to escape the nazis, and the different breeds of penguins.  I also read about 260 lb pet chickens, the too trusting Jemima Puddle-duck who laid her eggs in a foxes house, and several love poems to literature.  It makes getting rid of books a slow process when you reread them all, but it is so much fun to revisit the stories of my childhood, then my teenhood, then my bookstore days, and then, hell, even a book I read last year and then forgot.

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Weight: 8.5 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

Love this book.  It was one of my favorites in high school, but I still have love for the dystopian societies.  Mass produced people placed into various caste systems at birth.  Some people still do not fit in.  And there is your story...

And a place where even sex is taken away because reproduction has been streamlined...

My. Personal. Hell.

Emotional Problems in Later Life

Emotional Problems in Later Life: Intervention Strategies for Professional Caregivers
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

It is hard to believe how dated some of my books have become.  This is 23 years old.  When does that happen?  It even looks like an old book now.  I swear I so often think I am still in the 90's and am shocked it is over.  Aging is weird.

The Stone Gods

The Stone Gods (2007)
Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles (2005)by Jeanette Winterson
Weight: 2.7 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I love reading Jeanette Winterson and get excited every time she publishes a new book.  Stone Gods was a dramatic, science fiction blend that did not move me like some of her others, but I still savored every word. I know I will not read it again since it is not one of my favorites, and I am not into robotic lesbian sex and, even if I were, it does not get very graphic. :)

Same goes for Weight.  I appreciate the ways she branches out and explores different types of stories to tell, but this was also not one of my favorite Winterson books of all time.  Still delicious, still worth while.


Madonna by Andrew Morton
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donating

I loved Madonna while growing up.  She was rebellious, sexual, and very vocal.  I respected people that did not hide their sexuality.  I loved "Like a Prayer" best of all and laughed when I first saw the documentary where the police tried to stop Madonna from performing "Like a Virgin."  For my high school graduation, I sought out and purchased Madaonna's Sex book as a reward to myself.  It sounds like I was obsessed, but I wasn't.  I just had a healthy respect for her.  She was not one of the women I pasted all over my walls and notebooks.

I still have a soft spot for her and feel the need to stick up for her when others trash talk, though I am less impressed with her now.  We all grow up though.  Too bad some of us go from singing risque, catchy songs to writing children's books that never seem to sell and debating if we should change our name, again.  

Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Weight: 11 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

This book is magical (unlike the British folks in my previous entry).  It was recommended to me by my Agnes Scott Creative Writing adviser, Dermont and, as usual, I loved it.  It was particularly exciting because it was a book I never would have picked up on my own.  I don't know why.  I just don't think it would have grabbed me, but once I opened it I could tell it was wonderful and different.  The stories were unusual and fantastical but completely believable.  I ended up writing about this book, among others, for my senior thesis. I really do hate to let it go...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowlings
Weight: 3 lbs
Method of Disposal: donating

I love Harry Potter, but I do not understand why my British fiancee cannot get in a fire place and transport herself here or send me packages by way of owl...because the Royal Mail can be a little slow.  Leave it to me to marry a Muggle who does not have the power to rush the USCIS into approving our application or even to make me butter beer so I would know what it tastes like, without having to drive to Orlando to find out.

Goodbye Harry Potter and all my dreams that British people know anything about magic.

Krazy Kat

Krazy Kat and the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration  by Craig Yoe
Weight: 2.8 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

My grandmother passed this book onto me after we had realized a mutual love of graphic novels.  She said she grew up with Krazy Kat, and I was interested right away.  My grandmother has had a very interesting life with a lot of sadness but also a lot of strength.  She grew up in what was then called an orphanage (for real) and when she got out, as an adult, she had barely anything to her name.  She had a puppet and so still has a lifelong fascination with them.

I love when she tells me about her life and when she passes on things to me that mean something to her.  It makes me feel important, but it also makes me feel closer to her.  I felt so distant most of my childhood.  I know it seems strange that I would let go of Krazy Kat when it means so much to me, but it makes sense to pass it on, like my grandma passed it on to me.  


Lullaby (2002) and Nana (2003) by Chuck Palahniuk
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

My fascination with Chuck Palahniuk died long ago , but there once was a time, when I was about 16, when I was obsessed.  I ordered Luna at the bookstore, not realizing it was a Spanish edition and was disappointed, but also excited, when it came in.  Apparently, the confusion was not just my problem.  I just looked it up on Amazon and there was a picture of air filters instead of the book.

This is kinda sad.  At every bookstore I ever worked at the Spanish section was ridiculously small and lackluster.  If you didn't want to read about God then you probably didn't need to read at all.  You would really think that, in the United States in particular, we would get it together.  If for no other reason than having yet another population to sell shit to.  When social unity does not matter then money does, right?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Icon Paper Dolls

Marilyn Monroe Paper Dolls 1985 and Vivien Leigh Paper Dolls 1981  by Tom Tierney
Weight: 18.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Given to coworkers

Who wouldn't want Vivien Leigh and Marilyn Monroe paper dolls?! I knew I had to have these the second I laid eyes on them 12 years ago.  The only problem with the lovely items like these is that in actuality there is no real need or use for them. I cannot imagine a small child would fully appreciate them for what they are, but frequently adult have lost the ability to use paper dolls the way they were intended. They become collector’s items only, and I have no need in my life right now for collector items. I hate to see them go, but if I’m honest, I never look at them unless I am thinking about getting rid of them. 

The Omnibus of Crime

The Omnibus of Crime  by Dorothy L. Sayers
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Starbucks in Alpharetta

This book might be a good book in its own right, but the reason I am smitten with it is because of the old book smell mingled with patchouli. Seriously, I could fall asleep on this book every night and not need a pillow. I believe this book was handed down to me by my grandmother. It would have come with dozens of others. She reads even more than I do and then passes them onto me, which is wonderful but also makes the Dismantled project very difficult. If it weren’t for the move I would probably try to hold onto this book for another few months to a year just because of the spent alone. Thank you Grandma!

Captain Underpants

Captain Underpants And The Preposterous Plight Of The Purple Potty People  by Dav Pilkey
Weight: 4.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Recycle because I tore out some pages

I love Dav Pilkey. My dear friend Sarah introduced me to him when I worked at Walden Books, but I did not truly fall in love until I was working at Barnes and Noble and discovered Captain Underpants. A lot of the parents would complain about the books. They taught children poor grammar and bad manors. This is where I would often disagree with the customer. I feel like any book a child is willing to read is a good book. Dav Pilkey has a knack for understanding the importance of a child’s imagination and for teaching lessons in a subtle way so that every book does not feel like a lecture. Children who may struggle within the education system and/or do not thrive with a ridged and inflexible teaching style may relate to these main characters. I really value this in a children’s book because it encourages creativity and potentially helps kids to realise that they are, in fact, intelligent, thoughtful students even if they don’t have the grades to prove it.

Aside from that the books are just fun to read even as an adult, I find myself laughing and falling in love with the main characters. Dav Pilkey also throws in little tidbits aimed at the parents. In this particular book I tore out the page where a librarian is trying to get the students to pay attention to a book entitled Mommy has two Heathers. When I was growing up Heather has two mommies was one of a handful of lesbian children’s books that I could get my hands on. The book was highly controversial and not allowed in school. A lot of time has passed since then, and I really appreciated Pilkey’s wink wink nudge nudge. It is hilarious because many kids and parents will miss the lesbian implication or the way he completely heteronormalizes a Sapphic classic.

I am sad to see it go but I am excited to reread the others in the series and pass them on to a child who may also enjoy them. 

Planets in Love

Planets in Love: Exploring Your Sexual Needs by John Townley
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to a co-worker

My mother was really the astrology expert--not me.  This book was fun to flip through, though more complicated than what I would generally look at.  I am much more of a newspaper horoscope kinda gal. I am getting rid of it today because I know I will not be reading through it again, and it is 1.4 lbs I will not have to move! 

The Nightwatch

The Night Watch  by Sarah Waters
Weight: 13.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere

It looks like I am going to be moving!  I have so much to do this month, and I have no idea how I am going to get it done.  It is all very exciting though.  I am piling up books to get rid of so, if you are looking for something to read, let me know if you want any of them!  I would be glad to hand them over.

I am going through and finding duplicates so I do not move two of any one title.  That seems foolish.  Somehow or another, I got two copies of The Night Watch.  I loved reading Waters when I was younger.  It was fast-paced lesbian fiction where being a lesbian wasn't the central focus.  Sometimes I crave that like I crave water.  I never could get into this one, but I never read more than a chapter or two and am determined to give it one more shot...once I am settled into my new home.

Friday, September 13, 2013

In Her Day

In Her Day  by Rita Mae Brown
Weight: 4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

The quality of writing was clearly not the strong point of this book.  The dialogues between characters was absurd and not believable at all.  It felt like the author wanted you to know a lot about the characters without actually wanting to do the work of showing you who they were.  Despite this, I found that, while I begrudged the book in the beginning, I started to actually enjoy reading it.  It was refreshing to read a fiction book that included lesbianism, women's liberation, racism (though limited), cross-generational relationships, class.  I liked that the main characters cared about things I care about.  I realized that I do not frequently get that in a book.  So, all in all, I can respect that this was a unique gem for its time, and I can still find pleasure in it all these years later.  It shows that there is still a lot of work to be done that there does not seem to be a book quite like it that is also well written.  Does anyone else know of one?  I would love to get my hands on it.


Hamlet  Shakespeare Edited by A. R. Braunmuller
Weight: 5.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

And the Shakespeare keeps coming...

Like I said, there is no way to major in English without accumulating some serious Shakespeare.  I really did think this was a good edition though.  It is helpful to various readers with the bottom of the page annotations and helpful introduction.  Shakespeare is also more fun when being discussed in a group, as long as you are with people who really want to discuss it.

America (The Book)

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction  By the Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

This book was kinda fun, right?  It looks just like the old middle school and high school text books we were assigned every year and then had to pay for if we lost.  Complete with the last chapter about everywhere else in the world. The main component being The Birth of the Nation--America after we killed most of the Americans, a bit about Europe, and then cram everything about the last 50 years and other countries into a section the teachers never even got around to teaching anyway.

AND it is full of Stewart's important but amusing criticism.  

Jesus Saves

Jesus Saves by Darcey Steinke
Weight: 8.9oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

This book was recommended to me years ago by a college professor I really admire.  I finally got around to reading it, and it was brutal.  It details the abduction, torture, rape of children, amongst other things.  At first, I was really under impressed with the writing.  I felt like some of her descriptions were unnecessarily flowery or were lengthy without actually leaving a real image in my mind, often taking me out of the book all together.  
The first time I started to really see the author's skill was when she was writing from the perspective of Sandy Patrick, and abducted girl.  She describes listening to her captor/ the troll in the other room.  She describes sound, smell, taste, behavior.  She shows the girl's mental deterioration.  It was hard to read.  The topic, of course, turns your stomach, but it was well done.

I was less intrigued with Ginger's story, though it is important to the book as a whole.  I think that with a little tweaking I would have been there--where a lot of the other reviewers are, seeing brilliance.  I do think that this author has talent.  I just think it is not fully realized yet.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

538 Books, 259.67 LBS


That's a lot of books.
I don't care who you are.

Time Life Library of Photography Books

Time Life Library of Photography Books + 1974/1975/1976 Years
Weight: 24 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I woke up this morning and suddenly remembered that someone from American Kidney Services had called the day before, while I was at work, to let me know they would be able to pick up some donations from my house three days early.  Fuck.  I had not put my donations out or even collected them all together.  I darted about the house trying to get everything ready.  Last minute, I threw in these books, a gift from my grandfather that I have kept for that reason alone.  I got everything out on the porch by 9:30 am.  Too late.  They can come as early as 7:30 or as late it 4 or 5 pm.  I feel terrible that I stood them up. I always get my donations out on time!  Now, I have boxes in my living room and am too ashamed to call them back.  I will soon, at least, to apologize.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Treasury of Cartoon Classics

Treasury of Cartoon Classics: Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies Edited by Darlene Geis
Weight: 2.8 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

This, my friend, was a well loved book.  I received it as a Christmas gift from one of my Uncles when I was a young kid.  I would spend hours drawing the cartoons inside, even in my teenage years.  I was and am really good at drawing exact replicas of other people's cartoons.  Not very creative or helpful, but it passed the time and was almost like meditation.  It calmed me.  It made me feel good without knowing why.

Many of the cartoons in this book I had never heard of or seen when I received it.  I feel like I was disappointed at first but, as I grew older, it was fun to finally see them.  I never sought them out.  I was always just pleasantly surprised when they would show up.  I would flip through the channels and then stop when I saw something I had drawn a hundred times and watch it in awe.

I am not a huge fan of Disney, knowing what I know now.  I am appalled by the little "Indian" boy that is nose to nose with a bear on the dustjacket free cover.  Little Hiawatha.  I had no idea about appropriated cultures, oppression, and racism back then--or at least not like I do now.  I am not proclaiming how wonderful these cartoons are.  I am just acknowledging and enjoying a memory from my youth.

More Shakespeare

Hamlet Edited by Barbara A Mowat and Paul Werstine 1992
Othello and The Tragedy of Mariam (Tragedy by Elizabeth Cary) Edited by Clare Carroll 2003
Weight: 1 lb 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I wonder, on average, how many books the English Major graduate owns upon receiving their degree.  Do they usually keep them or give them away?  I have given away a lot of Shakespeare on this blog.  I will say, though, that I prefer to read the editions I was assigned in school.  They are not clunky and heavy like the complete works.  They often come with helpful and insightful commentary, theory, historical background.  These two editions were well used but are still in great shape and, I know, still being assigned in school.  I am sure they will make their way into loving and/or needful hands.

Loves Executioner

Loves Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy  by Irvin D. Yalom, M.D.
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

When I first read the prologue to this book I was horrified by some of the things the author said.  The number one thing that sticks out in my mind was when he wrote about being repulsed by a fat woman who was his patient and was not sure he could offer her therapy.  I immediately closed the book and called my mom, who I assumed had read it and possibly passed it on to me.  She encouraged me to keep reading it and told me it would all be worth it.  I did, and I am glad I did.

I valued the author's insight into death and human reactions to death.  It is something I think about far more often than I would like to.  He mentions that death anxiety is often at its greatest when someone does not feel they are living the life they should be.  Amen to that.  I have noticed it.

He also writes about various patients he had, his hang-ups, and how he learned a lot about himself and his style of psychotherapy through working with them.  Some of the people he had the most difficult times with taught him the most, and often he became very close to them by the time their sessions were up.  I have to say, I would still hate to read about myself in one of his books!  It would be horrifying and embarrassing to me, even if my case was useful to him and to those who might learn from this book.  I go back to that fat woman.  Even reading it myself gave me anxieties about my weight and what professionals may be thinking about my body, much less what they might publish later.  He does come around with her, and she does (thank god) call him out by acknowledging how he treated her in the early sessions before she lost weight.  He does have an attitude adjustment while working with her, and her life does seem greatly improved by the end of the chapter.

There is a lot packed into this book, and it is insightful for a variety of reasons.  It is not without its problems, but I appreciate the author being able to lay himself out there in all of his glory, fuck-ups, strengths, and weaknesses.  I do believe I would recommend it to others, even 23 years after this edition was published.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Alaskan Summer

My Alaskan Summer  by Corinne Mucha
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I bought several, if not all, of this woman's comics/graphic novels.  I was going through a phase where I was really into biographical graphic novels.  I still would be if I knew where to get my hands on some good new ones.

I think I first heard of this woman when reading Bitch Magazine and then bought several without even knowing if I would like them.  I was not let down.

Salt in His Shoes

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream  by Deloris and Roslyn M. Jordan
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Weight: 5.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I remember when I was younger and my father had recently started dating my stepmother.  I went to my first ever basketball game.  It was the Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks.  Michael Jordan was there.  My stepmother, who is not really into basketball, was very excited about the Bulls at the time.  I think because of Jordan.  The excitement wore off.  I felt honored to be there.

I mentioned his name tonight and Space Jam was the first thing to come to the other person's mind. I am glad I have something slightly more magical to remember.  That being said, I never did become I big basketball fan.  I like to (sort of) play it (like without all the rules and stuff).  And several years back I went with my then girlfriend to see the Atlanta Dream.  I am always excited about female athletes.

Another Young Adult Bundle...

Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear Lensey Namioka1992
Holes Louis Sachar 1998
Spice World: The Official Book of the Movie  Spice Girls 1997
Maniac Magee Jerry Spinelli 1992

How many copies of Holes and Maniac Magee can one person have?!  I am starting to look like  the guy with the Catcher in the Rye Fascination from Conspiracy Theory. 
And, in that same vein, will I be finding Spice Girls books until the bitter end?  Like The X-Files?  I feel like I get rid of them all and the next think I know I look over and their is a glittery Union Jack and a bunch of woman flashing peace signs.  Heaven help me.  I am just going to chalk it up to the fact that I was destined to love a British Woman and ignore how bad that Spice Girls obsession probably looks to her.


Commandos by Octavio Diez
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donating

The General George Alexander (featured above) is training himself to be a Commando, despite my attempts to civilianize him.  Yesterday, he took to pouncing on my ankles as I walked by and biting them.  It would shock my, and I would stumble, trying not to crunch him.  However, when you pick him up and hold him he is just a purring machine.

NEVER DRAW BLOOD THOUGH.  He had his first blood test last week and things quickly got out of hand.  He bit me and was off in a frantic, angry, blur of bristled cat fur.  It was embarrassing.  Bottle babies always have such...unique personalities...

McSweeney's Issue 42

McSweeney's Issue 42  Eds. Dave Eggers and Adam Thirlwell
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Sold for $10

I was hoping to never get rid of one of my McSweeney's.  I have subscribed since I was in college and was introduced to the journal by Amber Dermont.  I have been in love with it since the twenty minute short stories. 

That being said, I need money real bad right now and my McSweeneys are some of the few books that are worth anything so I am selling some of the ones that were not my favorites.  It still hurts to watch them go but every ten dollars counts...right?  And it is all part of the project.  Cannot just get rid of the ones I hate.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Esio Trot

Esio Trot by Roald Dahl
Weight: 3. 2 oz
Method of Disposal: Recycling

I was going to read to my girlfriend because 1) She asked me to 2) Sometimes it helps people sleep 3) It gets my mind off of how far away she is from me. 

I chose Esio Trot because 1) I had never read it 2) It is incredibly short and contains lots of pictures 3) Who does not love Roal Dahl?

I was crushed when she mentioned that there was some controversy about him.  Was it that he was a Nazi?  or something?

I did a less than satisfactory Google search, which made me very uncomfortable.  According to Wikipedia, He said,  "I am not anti-Semitic. I am anti-Israel." And I was like...okay...okay...that is NOT the same thing, but then it was followed by,  "There’s a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity ... I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason." And, I was more like What. The. Fuck? 

Is it true?  How did I go this long without knowing?

I did read the book.  It was about a man living a story above a woman he is "in love" with despite never really having a conversation with her.  One day she says that she would "be a slave" to anyone who could make her pet turtle bigger.  He thought her being his slave sounded like the most amazing thing ever.  He came up with a plan.  He stole her pet and later gave it away to a pet store.  He replaces it with larger and larger turtles.  He insulted her intelligence, which works in Dahl world.  He told her to speak language backwards to the tortoise and to tell it things like eat and gulp.  She believed his words were magical and, when he asked her to marry him, she said yes.  He hid his deception by turning over 100 turtles over to pet shops around England.  They lived happily ever after.

And I do not need to Google that.  There is no reason for a kid in this day and age to be filling their brain with that bullshit.

Side Note: There is a strange little author's note at the beginning about the cruelty of shipping turtles from Africa to England and how it has since been banned in England simply because it is cruel.  I like that part okay...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Zen Keys

Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice Thich Nhat Hanh
Weight: 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I am afraid I was not in the right mindset to get the most possible value out of this book.  I kept finding my mind wandering and my stress seeping in, even while reading a book about the Zen tradition. 

Still, it was a helpful tool for me to try to use to focus on peace, connection, and letting go of my anger.

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Weight: 4.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

A pet penguin (that enjoys being a pet)--a dream come true.  This book is fun for that reason, but it is lacking in creativity and the old-fashioned gendering makes me want to toss it in the recycling bin.  It was written in a different time though.  A time when we could assure the reader several times that Mrs. Popper was a good housekeeper and would rather her husband not be around so she could keep the house cleaner.  We are also very aware of the fact that she will let her silly husband get away with anything, including turning their living room into an ice rink and also jumping on a ship and saying goodbye for 1-2 years on a whim while she raises the children.  Ahhhhhh...role models.  I was allowed to read this crap growing up?  I am pretty sure books like this one should only be read once someone has a crash course in women's studies 101, and I did not have that when I first read this book.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare 
Weight: 3.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

How is it possible to own so many "Complete Works" of William Shakespeare in various sizes and styles?  I really do not know if I am to blame or if it is because it is a common gift for an English major or what.  I cannot believe I have moved them all from place to place with me.  THAT is my fault.  I really should have narrowed it down to one.

This particular edition is leather with gold-lined pages.  It is a lovely copy.  I wonder if it will be regifted to some other poor student of English or Theater.



Pizza (Little Guides)  Narelle Walford
Weight: 13 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I love making and eating pizzas.  Yum.  To this day, the best one I ever had was a small one made by the Mayor of Perkins in 2007.  It had tiny shrimp baked into it.  I was in heaven.  I had never made a pizza before then, and I have never made one as good as the one he made.  Anywho, I am fairly certain that is what inspired the purchase of this book. 

The Longman Anthology of British Literature

The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volume 1B: The Early Modern Period
David Damrosch (Author), Clare Carroll (Author), Constance Jordan (Author)
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

While staying up too late and dreading another day of work, I also began to think about the distance between the United States and Britain AGAIN and grew upset AGAIN.  I kept looking around my messy house and telling myself I needed to get out of bed, stop reading the New Yorker (I had like ten to catch up on), and clean.  Run on the treadmill, at least, I told myself after reading several issues of Runner's Magazine while laying on my back.  On one of my several trips to the kitchen to snack on something or get a glass of water, instead of smoking a cigarette, I saw this book still standing tall on my shelves.  I am not sure why it is still here.  I took it to to see if it was worth anything and, to my renewed frustration, it was not.

That's the thing about text books.  You pay hundreds of dollars for them and they rapidly decrease in value the whole time you have them.  If you do not sell them as soon as class ends they will soon only be worth a fourth of what you paid and, if you stupidly wait years, they will be 75 cents--even if they include "timeless literature."  None of this is new and surprising, but I was looking over my shelves after making this discovery and realizing how very much money I have spent on school books.  I kept them because I loved them or felt like they had more to teach me after I graduated.  With so many of them, I have never even opened them again--as is the case with this one.  I wish I had just written down the titles, sold them then, and bought them back now when they were worth nothing.

On a side note, I kept wondering why none of the books I was listing ever sold and then realized I've had my settings on "on vacation" for ages.  Also annoying.  Nothing like being a million miles away from what I want and being hours away from what I hate to put me in a foul mood.  I apologize to everyone involved.