Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Books that Made Me Love Reading

Letters From Rifka  Karen Hesse 1992
The Giver Lois Lowry 2002
Where the Red Fern Grows  Wilson Rawls 1997
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Leaving in booksharing box in Oakhurst or EAV, except for the giver which I am giving to Julia

I have been sick and in bed when I absolutely have not needed to do something else, and I decided to reread a bunch of the books from my childhood.  It has been fun and fast and enlightening.  The Giver is in the lead for best, hands down.  It is just an amazing book in general.  I was entranced by it, even as an adult, and I am encouraging everyone I run into to read it.  I. Love. It.  Did I mention it is really good?  AND I loved it as a child so that is a good sign.

Where the Red Fern Grows still makes me cry, though I was turned off by the God talk and the males-must-ignore-their-feelings-and-prove-they-have-balls-while-respecting-the-crazy-yet-loving-women-folk-who-have-no-lives theme that was an integral part of the book.  An animal lover of this time period may have some difficulty with the book if they cannot let go and let God.  It was okay.

Letters for Rifka is a book I LOVED as a child.  The ringworm imagery was burned into my brain and never went away until I encountered ringworm at the shelter and THAT terrible experience began to dominate my thoughts every time I heard the dreaded word.  I imagine this is still an entertaining read for young people but, as an adult, I found it lacking.

Now, I am reading Coraline!  I never actually read that as a kid.  This will be my first time, but it still fits in with the young reader genre.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Oxymoronica: Paradoxical Wit and Wisdom from History's Greatest Wordsmiths  by Dr. Mardy Grothe
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: leaving in Decatur

If you are looking for some decent quotes....

"I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?" -Benjamin Disraeli

"You cant say civilization isnt advancing, in every war they kill you in a new way." -Will Rogers

"In the act of loving, you arm another person against you." -Anonymous

Bottled Up

Bottled Up  by Jaye Murray
Weight: 4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Decatur, GA

I just read this the other day because I was not feeling well and was laying around.  I wanted something easy and quick to read so I picked a teen lit book.  I thought it was pretty good.  I appreciated many components of it.  It was important to see how many positive influences Pip had to have and how a little luck also went a long way to setting him on the right track.  I appreciated that the adults were portrayed as people who didn't always know what the right thing to say or do was.  It could be an important read for many teenagers, whether they are going through something difficult or not.

It has rave reviews on Amazon and a lot of people praise the authentic teenage voice.  I am not going that far.  Particularly in the beginning, I had trouble believing in Tye-dye loving, drug using Pip.  I felt like the description of marijuana use was WAY over the top.  The portrait painted of the alcoholic father was good, but the portrait of the mother was really lacking.  It was an alright book.  I am afraid I will loss it soon to my declining memory.

Unexpected Pleasures

Unexpected Pleasures: Leaving Heterosexuality for a Lesbian Life  by Tamsin Wilton
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Decatur, GA

This book was given to me by a woman who chose to leave heterosexuality behind while in college.  She was very vocal about it being her choice, which I thought/think was/is great.  There is some discussion about sexuality as choice in this book, which makes me happy.  It is not just nature vs nurture.  In case you were wondering, I think it is nature, nurture, and/or choice that makes someone's sexuality.  I think everyone has their unique mix up.  I believe I have always felt more intimate and bonded with women and that there is, possibly, a biological, hormonal, genetic cause.  I also know that if given the choice to be heterosexual I would say hell no.  I love loving women.  And, as I got older, I realized that if I felt compelled to I could choose to have sex with men, but I also knew I would never want a relationship with one.  I have never felt a strong bond with a man, with the exception of my high school best friend, Chris, and I was never sexually attracted to him.  I also just don't think I could deal with the outcome of male socialization.  I have no interest in a power struggle or a lack of communication/emotion.  I am aware that there are millions of sensitive, caring, feminist men out there that would probably make wonderful partners, but I do not want to sift through them all when I know I prefer women up front.  I would rather try to find a wonderfully sensitive, feminist woman.  And, while I was a lesbian long before my sexual assault, I do think that being raped will forever inhibit and decrease any interest I might have in being intimate with a man. 

That being said, I am frequently attracted to women whose sexuality is less defined and more fluid.  It is an incredibly sexy quality to have.  There is a certain courage and acceptance that seems to go along with it but, more importantly, I feel like these women have less rigid rules and unfortunate judgements/stereotypes about other women (and men),as a whole.  It is unfortunate that the lesbian community can be so naively dismissive and unaccepting of women with what might seem to them to be a less clear cut, defined sexuality.  I feel like it is getting better with the younger generation, but I still see it affecting women's lives in strong ways.  I was glad that this was discussed in this book.

Unexpected Pleasures is kind of like an intro too and a self-help book for women coming out as lesbians later in life.  I wish it had been slightly more fluid, but the woman who wrote it was a researcher and so I understand she had to narrow her focus.  I would like to read a similar book that included lesbian women who have come out as heterosexual later in life and lot more women who did not identify as one way or another.  There were some components like lesbian sex being better than heterosexual sex as a whole that rubbed me the wrong way, and I had so much I wanted to put forth to argue my points.  We do not have to tear down one to enjoy another.

Overall, though, it was a good introductory, supportive, positive book, and it relied heavily on actual interviews with women, which I appreciated.  I also liked the sources offered in the back of the book. The book was written based on British women's experiences and so the sources were geared to them too, though the author had a few US sources as well.

Doctors Killed George Washington

Doctors Killed George Washington : Hundreds of Fascinating Facts from the World of Medicine
By Erin Barrett and Jack Mingo
Weight: 10 oz
Method of Disposal:  Leaving somewhere in Decatur, GA

I am SO tired of being sick.  It started with migraines that induced nausea and now my brain feels like it is separated into 4 disconnected pieces that do not know how to communicate with each other, and I am making enough mucus to open a glue factory.  Gross, right?

I am such a wimp.  I think of the people I know who are chronically ill, and I feel like a fool for whimpering about my minor, sporadic ailments.  I am offering up a virtual toast to the health of all those I love and giving up this book in that vein. 

He Began With Eve

He Began With Eve  Joyce Landorf
Weight: 9. 6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving about town

It is Mother's Day weekend.  I spent the day with my amazing mother.  We went to an "estate" sale that was not really an estate sale.  Luckily, everyone in the family was very much alive but also very attached to the items they were trying to sell and not inexpensively or decisively I might add.  I cannot begin to recount the awkward times we had there.  We went to dinner and then home to watch a movie.

Tomorrow, I will be doing a bunch of volunteer work for my place of employment and then I will set off to my grandmother's to celebrate her as a mother and also to celebrate the day of her birth.  She is the one that passed on this bizarre book to me.  The back cover of the book and the author can be seen in the picture shown above.  I feel like this should be enough said.  Title, picture, gift from Southern Baptist Grandma.

There was something shocking about this book though.  I was surprised that my grandmother had bought and read a book that was a fictionalized account of the lives of women in the bible.  I don't know why.  She is religious.  She is a woman.  But it  seemed, almost, like a brush with feminism to me.  I know she would recoil, and I know we have differing opinions about the definition of feminism too.  It was also something about it being a FICTIONAL account from the women's perspectives that made it seem just slight subversive to me.  Am I trying too hard?  Yeah...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Left in the Oakhurst Public Lending Library Box Thing

I am in desperate need of a new job.  I must be if I am blogging online about it.  That is a professional no no.  I just must say this last bit anyway, job hunting leads me to despair and questioning my life and trajectory, which makes me think of...Emily Dickinson.

This book is one of the first collections of poetry I ever owned.  I got it as a wee middle schooler, and I loved it through high school.  I cannot remember which poems I loved but, interestingly, this is the only poem bookmarked in the whole 300 + pages:


If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
as housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on  my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And Taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

 (pg 147)

In other exciting news, it is full of four leaf clovers I found in that same time period!  How cool is that?!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lady Cottington's Fairy Album

Lady Cottington's Fairy Album
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Hodge Podge

Killing Fairies.  Left and Right.

 Here's your shout out.


The Pin-Up

The Pin-Up: A Modest History by Mark Gabor
Weight: 2.8 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to me dear friend, Jasmin

This book was a very special gift to me from a dear college friend who inherited it after a family member died in a terrible way.  She gave me quite a few of his books, and I cherish them.  There are some I will never get rid of.  She said she knew I would take care of them.  I want to spread them out, and I hope that, if she knew, she would approve of my sharing this one, for free, with the community. 

Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted Screenplay by James Mangold and Lisa Loomer and Anna Hamilton Phelan
Weight: 3. 5 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Hodge Podge

For a book I always found to be just alright, I am amazed that I own the book, the screenplay, and the movie.  I blame this on Angelina Jolie.  Sorry, Susanna Kaysen.

Kryolan Makeup Manual

Kryolan Makeup Manual
Weight: 10 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Hodge Podge

You can say a lot of things, but you cannot say I do not have eclectic interests, haha.  I have never been good with make-up--not your average day to day makeup and not costume makeup.  I once had a friend named Nic who was amazing in almost all ways and on the very first day she tried to do costume make-up she was able to make her own face look like she had been in a brutal car accident.  It was horrifying, how well she did.  She went out in public afterwards and people flipped.  She was trying to get a temporary job at a haunted house.

1000 Reasons You Might Think She Is My Lover

1000 Reasons You Might Think She is My Lover by Angela Costa
Weight: 4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Hodge Podge

Another book that has potential that is never fully reached.  This is a small book of...poetry?  Some of the reasons are fun:

#664 We think
         We can

#665 We

Then there are these kinda ones, which I am not a fan of:

#220 My

#221  Naked

#222  The

The best part of this book is the inscription found on the inside:

"for Heidi-
the unexpected, delectable co-author of this tale of mystery and intrigue.
your doving love,

AND it is autographed by the author.  




I Do/I Don't

I Do I Don't: Queers on Marriage  Edited by Greg Wharton and Ian Philips
Weight: 1.1 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving at Hodge Podge

I picked up this book after the two cases about same-sex marriage were heard by the Supreme Court this year.  I bought it when it first came out, and I was anti-same-sex marriage, but I did not read it because it talked SO MUCH about, ugh/bleck/groan, marriage.  This time, when I picked it up, I was not even feeling just pro-okay-gay-people-should-have-the-right-even-though-it-is-a-dumb-idea thoughts but even thoughts that, MAYBE, I would like to be married one day.

I read boring essays, great ones, semi-amusing ones, ambivalent ones, and even one highly offensive one comparing gays wanting to be married to "Jews praying for Zyklon B," among other truly fucked up, non-comparable things.  A couple hundred pages in I never wanted to hear the words "same-sex" "gay marriage" or "civil union" ever again.  I was glad I stuck it out though because I read a unique and unexpectedly insightful piece by Sarah Silverman that made me respect her a lot more than I had previously, and it helped me look at some things differently.

In the end, I still recognize that the history of "marriage" is fraught with problematic and oppressive issues, that it is frequently a union that people get into for all the wrong reasons, and that it should not be the number one issue of the gay rights movement.  I also think that, MAYBE, I might like the option of making the decision for myself one day.

All About Love

All About Love: New Visions  by Bell Hooks
Weight: 8.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Gave to my friend, Jasmin

I decided to re-read All About Love a few months back.  Bell Hooks is a favorite, for me and many of my feminist peers, but I have not read anything of hers in years.  I will confess that when I first picked this book up, I was under impressed.  It wasn't bad, but I did not feel like I was learning anything, and I thought it was very hetrerosexual-focused.  It all seemed so basic.  My dear friend told me at the time that it would be a good thing if it was.  It was written so that people could understand it.\

I kept reading it.  I was blown away by the last half, and I never wanted to start another relationship without having the other person read it--whether that was a romantic relationship or a purely a platonic one. 

I loved that Hooks did not undermine the value of the love of a friend. 

She writes, "Most of us are raised to believe we will either find love in our first family (our family of origin) or, if not there, in the second family we are expected to form through committed romantic couplings, particularly those that lead to marriage and/or lifelong bondings.  Many of us learn as children that friendship should never be seen as just important as family ties.  However, friendship is the place where a great majority of us have our first glimpse of redemptive love and caring community(134)."

I have always been interested in the love of friends, as I have always found so much of what I need in those relationships and am always caught off-guard when a person I have just started dating cannot understand their role in my life.  I have some very intense, passionate friendships that test the boundaries I was taught about by a couple-focused/family-focused society.

I LOVED reading about community, society, and love.  I dwelled a lot on Capitalism/consumerism being anti-love after reading her section on greed.  She writes,

"Materialism creates a world of narcissism in which the focus of life is solely on acquisition and consumption.  A culture of narcissism is not a place where love can flourish (105)."

If we live in a world where people are harmed by our very purchasing of clothes (sweatshops), coffee (how much are the grower's being paid/are rainforests being cut down), our mardi gras beads (sweatshops), the soda we drink (worker's rights/labor unions), on and on, then how will we find a true way to love and connect with others?  If money and instant gratification are the goals then how will we learn the patience and dedication needed to maintain our self-care and our love of others?

Everyone I know has a lot to learn about self-love, myself included.  Hooks is being open and honest with us when she says, "One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming of receiving from others.  There was a time when I felt lousy about my over-forty body, saw myself as too fat, too this, or too that.  Yet I fantasized about finding a lover who would give me the gift of being loved as I am.  It is silly, isn't it, that I would dream of someone else offering me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself (67-68)."

She writes, "The confusion arises because most people who think they are not lovable have this perception because at some point in their lives they were socialized to see themselves as unlovable by forces outside their control.  We are not born knowing how to love anyone, either ourselves or someone else.  However, we are born able to respond to care (53)."

At the very start of the book, she talks about how it is not useful to see love as something you cannot define or describe, something that just happens to you.  You know it when you feel it and all that nonsense.  She argues that, "When we intervene on mystifying assumptions that love cannot be defined by offering workable, useful definitions, we are already creating a context where love can begin to flourish (13)."

I want love to flourish, in all avenues of my life, in my friend's lives, and in the lives of those I will never meet.

Okay, I will leave you with that.  You should read the book.