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.