Monday, February 25, 2013

The House of Spirits

The House of Spirits  by Isabel Allende
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Joe's Coffee Shop in EAV

                                                           The last post of the evening!

 I loved this book when I read it.  I mean, I was really impressed.  I learned a lot.  About Chilean history, about the power of magical realism, about literature, about family relationships, about politics.  I also had trouble putting it down, even for short periods of time.  I was into every page, and I do not remember losing any momentum.  This was my introduction to the very amazing, Isabel Allende, and I highly recommend it and her other work.   What is your favorite Allende book?

Geek Love

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Joe's Coffee Shop in EAV

I was first introduced to this book by one of my best friends in high school, Chris B., who was completely enthralled with it.  I read it, and I was not overcome with the same love/passion/zest for it as he was.  I want to say there was a theater production of it showing in town around that time.  Is that possible?

Long after I had forgotten about it, it popped up on my college syllabus.  I wish I could remember the class name, because it was an attention grabber, and it was taught by a very intelligent and patient woman.  It was about freak shows and disability.  I wish I could say I thought about it all along but, honestly, I never thought about freak shows or had even seen one, so had not even begun to analyze them in terms of what they mean for disability activism, disability studies, or the effect they have on our bodies.  Re-reading this book with that in mind brought a lot of new stuff up in regards to the book.  I was far away from the time of trying to bond with Chris B and ready to analyze more deeply.

No matter when or why I read it, I always had conflicting emotions.  Let me know what you think!

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Joe's Coffee Shop in EAV

This is the copy I bought and read in high school, and I really enjoyed it at the time, as I did most of my required reading.  We learned a lot about F. Scott Fitzgerald's life in class, though not much about Zelda, who really intrigued me.  We were caught up in the theme of the Roaring 20's, and I even wore a flapper dress to school at some point.   That will NEVER happen again.  You can hardly get me in a dress at this point, except for a funeral.

It has been some time since I read the "Great American Novel," but I do not believe I will be re-reading it soon and, as my dear friend Tracy always reminds me, it will be easy to find in a library.  So, here goes!

Downsize This!

Downsize This!  Random Threats from an Unarmed American  by Michael Moore
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Joe's in EAV

This is a 16 year old "Current Affairs" book.  I suppose it is time for me to let it go.  I remember the Michael Moore of yore.  Those early movies and documentaries like Roger and Me, and The Big One, which was connected to this book.  My introduction to Flint, Michigan.  The first time I saw someone walk into a corporate office and push the limits.  Then, there was the television show, where a ficus plant was running for election.  Thank you, Sarah G.  I loved those nights of watching Queer As Folk and The Awful Truth and sometimes Sex in the City.

Thank you, Michael Moore, for the laughs.  Particularly the early ones.  For the protest.

Resident Evil: City of the Dead

Resident Evil: City of the Dead  by S.D. Perry
Weight: 6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Joe's Coffee Shop in EAV

Resident Evil is my not-so-secret guilty pleasure.  I enjoy playing the video games, even though it usually ends with me screaming, throwing the controller at someone else in the room, and curling up in a ball because I cannot handle the fear and stress of being eaten by zombies.  I am not kidding or exaggerating.  I think, once, I might have even cried.

A much more manageable pastime is watching the series of movies that just KEEP COMING OUT.  The last one was so bad that I forgot what it was about within 24 hours and, regretfully, watched it again immediately with a friend.  It was kind of embarrassing.  I am still smitten with the first two.  Milla Jovovich, with a gun, dressed all sexy and serious, just does something for the teenage boy I keep not-so-hidden in my heart.  I want to be better than that but I, clearly, am not.  I love her in her lingerie, toting a shot gone to loud music.  It kinda makes me swoon thinking about it now...

This book does not.  So, go, go, find a new home!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Beloved by Toni Morrison
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donating

I love this book.  Of course, it might have helped that, while I was in college, I was required to read it at least 3 times and discuss it in class.  I never understood how my classmates could be so angry and judgemental about what the main character does in the end.  I would get so frustrated that they would even refuse to discuss it as an option.  You don't have to agree with it to show some degree of empathy.  I have to believe that no one in the room could begin to relate to her fear and struggle.  If you haven't read it, you have no idea what I am talking about and this might be completely boring to you, but I am reluctant to spoil the book for you, as I think you should read it and, if you do or have, you should discuss it with me in the comments.  All bets are off down there!

I will say that it taps into our fear of prisoners, the prison industrial complex, and the death penalty, despite the fact that it does not directly reference all of these things and what it does do is limited.  Also, I never made that connection until tonight, and the medication I must take ten days out of the month does make me a little loopy. 

If you haven't read it, you should give it a shot.  I know plenty of people who do not find the same value in it as I do, but there are millions who do.  If nothing else, it is on many lists of must-read books, including my own.

"This is worse than when Paul D came to 124 ans she cried helplessly into the stove.  This is worse.  Then it was for herself.  Now she is crying because she has no self.  Death is a skipped meal compared to this (123)."

And as a discussion point:

I love the idea of "rememory" and "disremembering."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Middle School/High School Reading

Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury
Smack  by Melvin Burgess
Speak  by Laurie Halse Anderson

Weight: 3lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Joe's in East Atlanta

I think of Fahrenheit 451 a lot when I write on this blog.  It is silly, I am sure, but I cannot help but hear that nagging Bradbury in the back of my head telling me to hold onto these books in case any of them are banned and/or burned later.  "They" could erase anything off your Kindle, but can "they" find a carefully hidden book?  Can "they" find multiple hidden books?  Haha, do you ever hear that voice?  Think that way?  Like when Bush was in office?

Smack, I read in middle school.  The other kids made fun of me for being too goth and depressing.  Everything I did was another thing to pick at.  "Is she really reading about heroin?" "Of course she is."  That's right, little "rebellious" Laura.

Speak, I read in college.  I believe that Skye recommended it to me.  I am appreciative that there is a book about rape, and the anguish surrounding it, available to teenagers who may need to relate to it, know a friend it makes them think of, or makes them more aware of the world around them.  Rape is discussed in a tasteful, helpful, healthy, and age-appropriate way. 

The Spice Girls

The Spice Girls: The Uncensores Story Behind Pop's Biggest Phenomenon  by Anna Louise Golden
Weight: 11 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Joe's Coffee Shop in East Atlanta

You think you get rid of all of everything and then, inevitably, it creeps back up on ya.  Surely, surely, this is the LAST Spice Girls' book.  Right?
Okay, so you can tell I actually read this book.  There is a nice bend to the cover and pages.  I mean how could I resist the synopsis on the back of the book?!  It is so good I am going to type it for you, in its entirety, here:
After storming America with the might of a hurricane in January, the Spice Girls have become a British force to be reckoned with.  After all, this fab five's first hit single, "Wannabe." shot to the top of the charts in thirty-five countries across five continents.  Not too shabby for a once-struggling group of unkown artists.
Now here's the unauthorized book that dispels the rumors, squashes the innuendo, and lays it all out on the line.  Did Mel B really work as a "private" dancer?  Has Emma been known to streak in a hotel?"  And what happened to Geri's dress at the BRIT Awards?  Find out the facts behind the phenomenon--and add a little spice to your life!
I made sure to put my favorite parts in bold for you.  You know someone is going to be super excited to get this and give it to someone else as a gag gift!  You know it.  This book may spread more joy than any other book I have given away.  It is a hurricane of entertainment, empowerment, faux-feminsism (?), and hilarity.

Deutsches Museum

Deutsches Museum: Guide Through the Collections
Weight: 14.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Joe's Coffee Shop in East Atlanta

A place I have never been.  Things I have never seen.  There is so much I want to do, so much we all want to do, I'm sure.  I would say this book is dated, but do books documenting museums ever really become dated?  Even if the items are no longer on display, it does not make them any less interesting to read about.  The maps are probably obsolete.  Anywho, I am leaving it behind.  Someone might be interested in flipping through it in lieu of not being able to go, as I was.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Lasher  by Anne Rice
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

(picture taken by Heather Hartman)

I will never forget staying up all night reading The Witching Hour and Lasher.  I mean, really, all night.  I did not even sleep for 30 minutes.  I was a teenager, and I was hooked by the intensity, the sexuality, and the alternate reality of the books.  I never read Rice now but, when I started getting into her was when I started loving reading.  It was like taking Christopher Pike to the next level.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
Weight: 7 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I have always hated A Clockwork Orange. 
I feel like I am asking for scorn, just by admiting it. 
I never cared about the main character or believed in him.  I hated reading through the excessive violence, rape, and horror for what felt like no good reason.  I did not find that it brought up deep philosophical questions about good vs bad or human choice, like so many people have suggested.  I thought the (originally not published in the US) 21st chapter that ultimately seems to say boys will be boys, and they can grow out of being psychopaths, was bullshit.
The only truely amazing and eerie thing about this book is that it must say a lot about us, as a culture, that we love it so much and have turned it into a classic, complete with a Stanley Kubrick movie (which is one of those rare movies that is better than the book--not that I am in love with it either).  That scares and sickens me.
Good Riddance.


Friday, February 15, 2013

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach  Roald Dahl
Weight: 4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a Book Lending Box

Does anyone understand dreaming and magic like Roald Dahl?  It is difficult to get rid of any of his books because of the way that just thinking about them makes me feel.  So many childhoods have been influenced and changed by his books and the movies created because of them, mine included.  Unfortunately, I cannot only get rid of books I hate.  If I do that, I will still have hundreds and my goal will never be achieved.

Lately, I am prone to daydreaming and feel like I am living in a reality that is slightly askew and slightly magical.  The pleasure is so intense it creates a tinge of pain.  The kind that is best mates with longing.  How could I be so lucky?  The kind of luck that might get you killed.  I am driving in my car, living in a dream, and have no idea, when I get to Point B, what happened to the time I spent getting away from Point A.  The kind of luck that makes you forget to open a door before you walk through it.  My memories are interlaced with my fantasies.  My perception of time has no bearing on man made clocks.  I can no longer find myself in words.  Modern dance seems to be the only working mirror I can find.  I watch, slack jawed, while others move through this ethereal place.  I don't know how to dance.  Just dream.  This is what it feels like to be smitten.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar  by Sylvia Plath
Weight: 8.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a book box in East Atlanta or Oakhurst

It is a dull, dreary, rainy, sleepy day and thus, probably a good day to get rid of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.  I first read this book in high school and then, as a junior, I reread it and attempted to write my first serious literary comparison.  I had a vivid memory of it several weeks ago but now I cannot remember what the topic actually was.   I know that I read a lot of books and did so much work to get that paper done.  I was only suppose to write a short paper on one book, but I got special permission from my English teacher to take on a much larger project.  I got so caught up in reading every Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Elizabeth Wurtzel book I could find that I became overwhelmed with information and turned in a terrible paper.  I believe I got a very disappointing "B."  I deserved lower, if you just looked at quality, but I worked so hard.  It was so worth it though.  Little did I realize that the next year I would write an even more daunting paper on "The Sexual Connotations of Little Red Riding Hood" and then after that would attend a private college where you would be assigned a ten page paper in a math class and a 20-30 page paper in an English class and so on and so forth until you got to your thesis work, which was particularly big if you double majored, like me.  I needed that failing paper to get it out of my system, learn how to organize, and move on.

The Bell Jar.  It appealed to me because of the strong-minded woman narrating it.  I underlined, "And I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered on a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard's kitchen mat(85)."  I related to her desolation and her disillusionment with the world and the people that inhabited it.  "The figures around me weren't people, but shop dummies, painted to resemble people and propped up in attitudes counterfeiting life (142)."  I understood the pain behind people's throw away comments.  The ones about your own reality that people make when they try to care but cannot wrap their head or heart around what you are showing them. 
                    My mother smiled. "I knew my baby wasn't like that."
                    I looked at her.  "Like what?"
                    "Like those awful people.  Those awful dead people at that hospital." She paused.  "I
                    knew you'd decide to be alright again (145-146)."

I am somewhere else in life now.  Far, far away from the experiences of Esther Greenwood/Sylvia Plath.  I still have dreary, dim, daunting, alliterative days and sometimes I even fall into depression but never with the same gusto and, if I do, it is only with the help of some sort of hormonal medication that throws everything out of whack but that I can recognize, gather support for, and move on from.

Today, I am just slightly sad and slightly sleepy.  Goodbye, Bell Jar, go spread your word.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Who Am I Kidding?

The Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies Volume XXXIII, No. 1 (Spring 2002), No.2 (Summer 2002), No. 4 (Winter 2002)
Weight: 3 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a book box

I need to be honest with myself.  Now that I am out of school I will probably never read these again.  I keep them around, look at them from time to time, and debate getting rid of them, but I always decide not to.  Why?  Because I am obsessed with the 16th Century?  Not at all.  I am huge history buff?  Not really.  "The Reformation in the Diocese of Ely during the Episcopate of Richard Cox, 1559-77" could change my life if I just read it ONE MORE TIME?  Probably.

The Jungle

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Weight: 6.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a Lending Library box in Decatur

I was fairly young when I read The Jungle for the first time.  Because of that the book was able to keep some of its initial power and momentum that made it successful and important to the world in the first place.  It was probably one of the first times I was exposed to (in a book) the American systems of oppression in regards to immigration, the working class, and the mass killing of animals.

Most of us are fully aware that The Jungle invoked anger and distrust with the meatpacking industry, even though that was not the main focus of the book.  The main component, obviously, being the people.  It is one agony after another for the Lithuanian family the book centers around.  Workers lose appendages and lives to the machinery and constant push to be faster  at the factory.  Children beg for food in the street and face dangers, such as rape, on a regular basis.  It is heartbreaking.  You find yourself wanting to take a break and, of course, realizing that the family itself can never catch one.  After all these years, I still recommend The Jungle.

2005 Writer's Market

2005 Writers Market
Weight: 2.8 lbs
Method of Disposal: Recycling

Why am I up at 7 o'clock on my day off when dog training has been canceled?  Why am I drinking tea instead of coffee?  There may be someone involved in my distraction and the disorganization of my routines.  I am sure there will be more on that at a later time.

For now, I am just persisting in dismantling and losing weight.  This has been dated for sometime, and I should have trashed it--probably years ago--but I held out hope that it would help me as a resource.  That things might not have changed all that much.  Of course, in the world we live in now, I bet it has changed a lot.  Magazines and newspapers struggle to remain important and the larger bookstores are shutting down.

I am currently trying to decide on a real career path but, sometimes, when I peek out to look, I already feel so out of touch with the world.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements  by Don Miguel Ruiz
Weight: 11.2 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating to AKF

I am not impressed.  This was a gift, and I had heard so many people rave on about it.  According to the author, we are all living in hell and only those that follow this wisdom can find heaven on earth.  It. Was. Awful.  He offers us four basic agreements:  Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions,  and Always Do Your Best.  It is sad to me that as a culture being reminded of basic humanity feels like a spiritual revolution. 
The author not only has very little to say, but he seems to be aware of it.  He is so redundant you will start to feel like an unruly toddler being told no over and over again each time you reach for your mom’s soda.  Terrible.  Do not recommend it.  I do, however, recommend that you try to be a good human being.  Every single day.  And that you are not too hard on yourself when you slip up. Do your best and whatnot.

The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste

The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste  by Jane and Michael Stern
Weight: 2.7 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating to AKF

A hand-me-down from my stepmom and of intrigue to various visitors to my house, The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste has been fun to have around, but is clearly not necessary anymore.  It pokes fun at some pretty embarrassing moments in American pop culture: enormous breasts, Chihuahuas, dinosaur parks, fish sticks, fuzzy dice, taxidermy, wax museums, and spam.  Some things surely did not belong on the list, like roller derby and troll dolls.  Right?!  I hope someone else, preferably someone who witnessed the 80’s, finds this being sold for next to nothing and gets some enjoyment out of it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shout Out--Julia

A Thousand Paths to Tranquility  by David Baird
Weight: 15.5 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating to AKS

This one is a shout out to Julia—my favorite duck.  Wiggle, wiggle, quack, quack.  It is our new joint mantra.  “Like a duck” we say when we want to remind the other one to let something go, not get too stressed, focus, and enjoy life.  If things are particularly bad, I say “Like a duck covered in oil, but I have some Dawn.”

I have worked with Julia for over five years, but we have discovered a real friendship in the last few months, and it truly makes me happy.  I love getting to know someone, learning new things about them and from them, and realizing how great you can be when together.  Holler.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Marisa Bundle

Rita Mae Brown—Rubyfruit Jungle (1988)
                                ---Venus Envy (1994)
Julie Kistler---Just a Little Fling (Harlequin Temptation: The Wrong Bed, 2000)
Jenniser LaBrecque and Sandra Paul---Kids + Cops = Chaos and Moonstruck (Harlequin Duets: 2 Romantic Comedies, 2001)
Debra Webb---A Soldier’s Oath (Harlequin Intrigue, 2007)
Weight: 1 lb 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating to AKS

I had Saturday brunch (as usual) with my dear friends, Marisa and Daniel, today.  Marisa might be able to make me laugh more than anyone else in the world.  She is so quick with her wit and banter.  I use to think I was good, but I feel like a beginner next to her.  She does these strange and wonderful things that make me so happy.  A few years back she would bring me awkward romance novels.  I use to get so frustrated to be shelving a book with a fireman holding a baby.  There would be a terrible title like Getting Knocked Up.  I was like, really?  This is what they think women find erotic?  Marisa brought to my attention the truly awkward “Wrong Bed” romance genre where a woman is accidentally ravished by the wrong man—often a partner’s family member. 
I added the Rita Mae brown books because many years ago, when I was 15, she introduced me to her.  She never warned me that she also wrote cat mysteries from the voice of Sneaky Pie Brown and left me open to ridicule for years to come.  This is my shout out to the fantastic woman that makes my cheeks hurt from smiling and my tummy hurt from laughing constantly.  Love you!