Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sorry I Pooped In Your Shoe

Sorry I Pooped In Your Shoe (and Other Heartwarming Letters from Doggie) by Jeremy Greenberg
Weight: 5.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I was given this book for Christmas, and I have read it now so I am passing it on to the next dog lover. :)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Larousse Pocket French/English English/French Dictionary

Barron's: French at a Glance

Barron's: French Verbs

Langenscheidts Universal-Worterbuch: Englisch

Larousse Pocket French/English English/French Dictionary 1999

Living Language: German Coursebook 2005
Living Language: German Coursebook 1998
Living Language: German Learner's Dictionary 1993
Pronounce it Perfectly in French 2005
Weight: 2.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

Along with all of the other things I am giving up with this move is the ridiculous notion that I will ever learn any of the foreign languages I collected all sorts of books to learn.  German, French, Russian.  I think there is even an Italian.  I should have been smart enough to try Spanish, but everyone kept telling me to so I had absolutely zero desire until it was too late.  Not that 13 years of French got my anywhere in being able to speak French and that is the truth!  I am not ready to give up on learning ASL though...

Friday, December 29, 2017


Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

Another Vonnegut book to delight me!  And it did!  I appreciated the Vonnegut-ness, the humor, the title, the art commentary, and most of all the feminism.

Thank you Kurt Vonnegut for still being one of the most fantastic authors and always a delight to read, even when it gets so incredibly depressing!


Sylvia by A. R. Gurney
Weight: 1.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I am at home sick as hell, and I have been for days with no clear end in sight.  I have been reading book after book because it is all I can do other than sleep, take baths, and throw up.  I am hoping to read and donate as many as possible because it is my only way of being even vaguely useful for our upcoming move to...where?  I have no idea.  I just know I need a place by February, and it needs to be very dog friendly--pit bull friendly in particular, and I am freaking out just a little.

This screen play was a weird one for sure!  It read fast and had a dedication to Sarah Jessica Parker who was Sylvia the dog in the first rendition of the play.  I am fairly certain this book was given to me because someone thought it was about Sylvia Plath, which just makes it funnier!  It is a play about two empty nesters in New York City who are having a battle of the wills over a stray dog that the husband brought home.  The stray dog is Sylvia and is played by a human.  It is bizarre.  I'd love to see it live!

Other People's Love Letters

Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See edited by Bill Shapiro

Weight: 1.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

This book was great.  It made me feel all the feelings out there! Maybe, most of all, it made me want to write my wife a love letter and then cherish her and then feel so lucky to have found her.  I really was grateful that the editor included letters about sex, fucking, illness, divorce, family, dating, war, peace.  The letters ranged from the early 1900s and on.  There were letters from a mom to a daughter's lover, from an ex to an ex, rejections, marriages, loss.  It really had almost everything.  I am really inclined not to give this book away. but I am.  I want it to bring someone else the joy it brought me.  

When I saw the drawing above I thought it was an adorable thing for a man to do for his mildred.  I wondered if he had heart issues or if he just exercised every morning. It wasn't until many pages and much later that I read the following, and I cried and cried and cried.

There were others that were happier and also wonderful:

And some that were unimaginable--that I hope I never ever have to know what it would be like...

High in the Clouds

High in the Clouds by Paul McCartney, Geoff Dunbar, and Phillip Ardagh
Weight: 1.1 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

This book was alright.  I liked the premise enough--much like one of my favorite movies, A Land Before Time, but with a little FernGully and Wind and the Willows mixed in.  It seemed as if the authors wanted it to be a much longer or much shorter book, and they straddled that line.  I think it would have been much more successful as a longer book, but I know it can be hard to keep children invested if it is too long.  I am afraid because it is not long enough it cannot fulfill its potential and because it is too long most children will lose interest anyway.  Luckily, with someone like Paul McCartney helping to author it enough adults will likely be interested.

The reason I read this book was Linda Galpin, a woman I was only able to know a few short years before losing her to brain cancer.  I was newly married in her last year and had a lot going on in my life, and I did not talk on the phone with her for hours like I had previously.  She fostered a dog through PAWS and so I was fortunate to see her on the days she needed meds or food.  She would always bring me boxes of gifts, each with a handwritten note about the item she was giving me.  It was often something she had made or held onto for a long time.  After I married, she would bring my wife gifts too.  She said we had given her a gift.  We had taught her that, "love is love."

She loved dogs.  That is a big understatement.  Dogs meant the world to her.  She grew up with hounds and had retrievers as an adult.  She once had a shepherd too.  After meeting me, pit bulls topped her list despite never having one.   She loved New England and history.  She enjoyed photography and once even made stained glass--she gave me a piece which I still have.  We brought her to the farm once to see all the horses and all of our dogs, and she loved it.  She thought it was the coolest.  Her and Buttercup would drive around town "rocking out."  She smoked pot and would get a devilish grin if you caught her afterwards.

She got sick and had to move away to Connecticut.  We frequently wrote letters, but there was still little time for phone calls.  I just knew that, as much as I loved them, they would go on and on.  I wouldn't get all the things done I needed to.  I knew she was sick, but she was so vague and so off and on about it.  She was thinking about moving to one of the Carolinas when she started to feel better.  I had no idea she had a brain tumor or that we would lose her, suddenly, over night.  I feel like such a fool now, and it is one of my deepest, most shameful regrets that I did not talk to her more on the phone at the end of her life.  That I did not soak up her love, knowledge, and stories.  That I, ultimately, took her for granted even with all the clues. I would have seen it if I had listened closer.  I should have known.  I will miss her always.  I have no belief in an afterlife or God, but sometimes I cannot help but pray to her and ask her to, please, forgive me.  I think about her all the time.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Are You Out There, God?

Are You Out There, God? by Sister Mary Rose McGeady
Weight: 1 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

My grandmother will periodically pass on a box of books to me.  They are mostly ones I am not interested in--including this one--but I try to read at least a handful of each.  I felt like I could read this one quickly in between other books and did.  I like to think about her reading the books as I am reading them, and I like to try to imagine what she was thinking when she was reading them.

I know she is a very christian woman and so it does not surprise me that she would have a book by a nun who helps homeless children, but as I was reading this book I did have trouble imagining her reading about sex trafficked children, domestic violence, and street violence.  She is human.  I am sure she does read about terrible things, and this is probably one of those times, but I cannot help but wonder if someone at her church just passed it on to her and her to me without her ever having read it.  This happens too.  It was a very sensational 80's/90's type book.  It was a little pat despite its subject matter and a little over the top in delivery.


Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Weight: 9.3 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I loved Kurt Vonnegut most of all when I was in high school and read just a little in college.  After graduating and working at PAWS for several years, I got my second tattoo, which ended up being a Kurt Vonnegut quote.  It surprised me when I decided on it almost impulsively.  I had never stopped liking and respecting Vonnegut, but I never read his books anymore and the quote I chose was from one of my less favorite Vonnegut books.  "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."

I was excited to pick up a Vonnegut book I hadn't read about a week ago.  It was like reaching for a glass of water after drinking only soda for days.  It was a pleasant relief.  I knew it would be an easy, quick, entertaining, and still meaningful read.  I bought Galapagos when I was working at Waldenbooks 15 years ago and just read it now.  It was written the year I was born.  That took far too long, but I wasn't disappointed.  It was an amusing commentary on humanity.  Still, not my favorite.  I would tell you what my favorite is, but I really feel like I need to re-read them all before I decide.  Back when I was 17 years old it was Cat's Cradle.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Little Books for Cooks: Smoothies by Jane Stacey
Weight: .8oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I began working, illegally, at the age of 12.  I worked at a smoothie shop.  I will withhold the name of the company, as my boss was a pedophile with a theft problem and no one knew.  He was a bad egg but it was not the company's fault.  Luckily, the worst he ever did to us was to rub my best friend's ears, and his wife frequently propositioned me and tried to get me to go home with them.  I always said no and never felt bad about it.  It was not violent and not even why I call him a pedophile.  I call him that because, after leaving that job for the bookstore, someone found the police record.  I guess we were lucky.

Despite all of that, we loved working there and had a lot of fun and a lot of freedom--because, as I said, our manager was awful.  We ran that place.  He was almost never there.  We closed the store down at night, we opened it, and we were there for all inspections.  We have so many stories.  We were also able to barter smoothies for Arby's fries, cookies, and free piercings from the attractive woman at Claire's I would write poetry to, and she would blush. 

My friend purchased me this book after I left to my new job selling books. When you pressed the button a man would exclaim, "Deeelicious!"  We found this hysterical for some reason.  I am fairly certain that, if I make it to 80 or 90 years old, I will be able to hear that voice clear as day.  It is burned into my memory.

Brer Rabbit and Jump, Frog, Jump

Walt Disney Presents The Story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby 1971
Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan pictures by Byron Barton 1981
Weight: 3 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

These two are books that my grandparents read to me.  They were not the ones I had them read to me again and again.  I am not yet ready to pass on "Kittens," which I grew up believing was entitled "Kitty Cats are Like That" or "Puppies."  Those two books I will be taking with me to the new house.  I wonder how many moves they have been through!

I was reading these two one more time before I let them go and found this relic from my teenage-dom:
That made me happy :)  I may just take Mulder on the move too!

Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard illustrated by Anne Sellers Leaf
Weight: 6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

This time of the year often makes me think of a day I spent with my Great Grandmother, Juanita. We made her famous Santa Claus sugar cookies.  We used shredded coconut and home-made icing to make his beard.  We made black, white, and red icing.  The cookies themselves were crispy and delicious.  I am surprised that no one seems to make them now that she has passed away.  They were so popular when she was alive.

I remember her reading this book to me.  I loved it, and I guess there is no surprise there--a woman serving a dog.  It ultimately would become my life.  I remember my mom picking me up and being excited to show off our cookies to her.  It is a vague and faint memory all this years later--around 26-28 years ago--but it is a good one.  This book will always make me think of her, but I will not forget her even if I pass it on, of course.  She was a fiery and opinionated lady who seemed to love me and my brother very much.  We loved her too.

I would really like to make those cookies again some day...

Friendship Braclets

Friendship Braclets by Laura Torres (100% Klutz)
Weight: 12.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I loved making these bracelets when I was younger.  Later, after I graduated and was working in kennels, someone else on staff bought me this book from the thrift store.  I had never discussed Friendship bracelets with her, but I think there were a lot of women from my generation that had this book as young girls.  If they did not have it then their friends probably did.  Sadly, I never made her a friendship bracelet to thank her.  I really did not end up making any friendship bracelets.  So, I am passing it on to some other child. Hopefully.  Or maybe some adult child with a friend who needs a good day.  That would be alright too.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain By Betty Edwards
Weight: 1.4 lbs

I was able to just buy this one from BookBub for $2.99 for my Kindle.  It will be nowhere near as good as this one that I can hold in my hands, but it is another 1.4 lbs that I do not need to find a home for.  As I said it my last post, who has time to draw?  I need to get my life in order!


Penguin by Fran Lanting 2000
100 Things You Should Know About Penguins by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus 2008
Three Cheers for Tacky by Helen Lester and Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I love penguins best of all, and I frequently am gifted everything penguin.  This includes a lot of really cool books like these two that I hate to see go, but that I know I do not need anymore.  I also know that if I give them up that is 4.2 lbs I do not need to move to another house come February and, hopefully, some other penguin-loving child will get them.

Our landlord has moved the date to sell this house forward and now we are desperately looking for a new rental that allows pit bulls during the holidays.  It has not been fun.  I do not think many people are looking to rent out their houses around Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year.  The closer and closer we get to January the more sick to my stomach I become.  I am not sure that we will get everything ready to go and find a place in time and yet we have to.  Meanwhile, I am afraid that I will not be able to stay at my job of ten years much longer and am also panicked about that.  It makes me wish I was a kid immersed in penguin books, drawing all the different types in my sketch book.  Those days are long gone, as are they days where I have time to read and/or draw.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas in Plains: Memories

Christmas in Plains: Memories
Weight: 5 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I am surprised so many people love this book!  It is simple and uninspired.  The effort to write about race could have been good, but it was so basic and unemotional that it bordered on being offensive.  The picture that gets painted if of a nice, white, upper class guy who loves his wife, kids, and Jesus.  He also loves his old home, Plains, and is nostalgic about the days of cutting down his own Christmas trees, playing with the black children he grew up with (partly kids of the parents that worked for his family), and good ol' traditional American Christian fun in a small town.  He talks a little bit about being the President and that it was painful when he was not reelected.  His joke about the world praying for him to have relief from his hemorrhoids fell flat, but I am glad he got relief.  Strange bits like that really popped out of the idyllic world he was presenting, but there was nothing truly moving, sad, dark, or honest that came out.  All joy, all the time.  Even when surrounded by racist/sexist institutions he recognizes as such.  At least he seems to know how lucky he was. 

I like the Carters just fine, and I appreciate a lot of the good they have done in the world.  I am just not a fan of this book.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Yankee Winebib No. 47

The Yankee Winebib No.47
June 2011 (FREE)
Weight: .05 oz
Method of Disposal: Lending Library

This was fun!  It came to me free, and I held onto it without reading it for some time.  I don't know why because it is a tiny chapbook-like-thing, and it is a hoot.  It encourages you to check out so I will too.


Women by Stefan May
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Method of Disposal: Not Sure!

I remember liking this book, though I felt like I got it before 2008!  I guess that is not possible.  I adored and cherished Women by Susan Sontag and Annie Leibovitz when it first came out, and I think I was drawn to this one looking for more of that.  It was obvious immediately that it would never compare with Sontag and Leibovitz, but I thought it was still beautiful.  Women are just straight up gorgeous.  All of them are in some way or another.

I am far less impressed now.  Is it because I am older?  Are my tastes more refined or am I just less amused?  I realize now that these photos are all attempting to be "sexy."  The women do not have varied body shapes.  They are all beautiful in the movie star and catalog way.  Victoria Beckham and Angelina Jolie are featured so what did I expect? I read a review that claims that there is a lot of racial variety, but it is mostly white women.  There are some highly sexualized, deeply black women in stereotypical poses and shots.  It is very "African." I am almost embarrassed I ever liked this.

The problem is now what do I do with it?  I am not sure I can donate it to the AKF or Goodwill.  Maybe a Better World Books Box?  

I Was Amelia Earhart

I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn
Weight: 6.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

My grandmother gave me a large stack of books including this one.  The stack included an Ann Coulter book, books on being Baptist, a book written by a nun, and a Christmas book by Jimmy Carter (though when she gave them to me she said she did not know how she came to have the Carter book.  Spitting his name with disdain.)  I read the book by the nun.  I am slogging through the book by Carter (I like him just fine but not so keen on the book).  I detest Ann Coulter.  I just finished the Amelia Earhart book and was pleasantly surprised. 

It only had three stars on Amazon, and the blurb did not really appeal to me, though I am a bit interested in Earhart as a strong woman.  I enjoyed it though.  It read quickly and it was a unique take on what happened to Earhart.  The book itself was well-made.  I am not claiming it was a game changer, but it was a fun and interesting little fantasy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Installation Art in the New Millennium

Installation Art in the New Millennium Nicolas De Oliveira, Nicola Oxley, and Michael Petry
Weight: 2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

The first time I witnessed installation art was in college, and I was completely taken by it.  There was a woman named Jennifer Young at my school, and I once crawled into an installation piece of hers and my love of that form of art was sealed forever.  I wish that I was in the position to see more and enjoy more.  As it is, it is a very rare treat indeed. 

I was excited when I was first moving into this house and the person moving out left this book for me.  Now, I am moving out and trying desperately to get rid of so many of my own things and decrease the amount that I have to carry and be responsible for.  So, this book is on its way to its next owner.  Maybe they will cherish it or try to sell it on Amazon for $788 like the jerks on there right now (you can get it on Ebay for $8).  It is a cool book, and it is worth a look, but it is impossible to make a book of installation art really.  The experience of being in an art piece, actively being a part of someone's art is precious and unique.  It does not translate to paper well, but it is always worth a shot and better than nothing for people like me who are not in the art scene at all.

Stolen Sharpie Revolution

stolen sharpie revolution: A DIY ZINE RESOURCE 2nd Edition
Weight: 4 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

Another gift from another dear friend, but this one was given to me in high school.  I had more access to zines then.  Or, I knew more about how to access them.  I am sure there were more of them.  This was a fun little book, though I never did end up making a zine.  Not once.  I hope someone gets it and does.  We still need zines!  Even though there are blogs and other such.


Afterglow (a dog memoir) by Eileen Myles
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I received this as a gift from a friend I love dearly recently.  It should have been a match made in heaven.  It is not only a book about a dog but a pit bull.  The author is a gender fluid poet who once ran a campaign to be written in for President of the United States of America in 1991 and 1992.  I am already in love.  It was a great gift.

I was not a big fan of the book in the end.  It seemed convoluted and unnecessarily, but intentionally, confusing.  I also struggled to find Rosie in the book.  It was all about her, but I felt like I never got to know the dog.  Just Eileen.  That wouldn't have to be a bad thing if the walk was enjoyable, but it wasn't.  I struggled until the very end.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Henna Body Art Book

The Art of Henna: The Ultimate Body Book by Pamela Nichols 1999
The Henna Body Art Book by Aileen Marron 1998
Weight: 1 lb 5 oz
Method of Disposal: Donated

My mother gave me this book as a teenager.  I thought Henna was so beautiful then.  I still do, but I really did then.  I don't think I ever actually tried to draw my own henna, but I am certain it would have been a disaster.

I never noticed until now that the author dedicated the book to "everyone who lost friends and family in the Gulf War."  I appreciate that. :)

M.C. Escher: Works of Art

M.C. Escher: Works of Art
Weight: 5.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donated

My brother introduced me to M.C. Escher as a child, and we both loved him.  We wished we could draw like him.  We would often try to mimic him, but it was not just the talent that was lacking.  We were also lacking patience and maybe even some understanding. 

As an adult, I doubt that I would ever hang up an M.C. Escher piece in my house.  I still admire what he did, but it does not captivate me as it did as a kid.  I kept this book my brother gave me all these years.  I feel like I can let it go now.  I will always remember sitting in the attic with him, looking at it with him.  It was magic.


Slam by Various Authors (Author),‎ Cecily Von Ziegesar (Editor),‎ Tori Amos (Foreword)
Weight: 4.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Donated

This book is full of cliche and over the top advice like this:

Lots of poetry by 15 year olds:

And quotes from famous folks and some really interesting moments from less famous folks:

I had fun reading it.  I would have loved to have been published in it when I was in middle/high school.  The teens in this collection were really talented for their ages.  I really enjoyed these haikus:

Monday, December 4, 2017

The 33

The 33: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar
Weight: 12.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Gave to Mom

I cannot believe it has been 7 years since the San Jose Mine collapsed trapping 33 men underground for 69 days.  It seems like it was not that long ago.  I happened upon this book that day at The Dollar Tree.  I picked it up and must have picked the perfect time to read it because everywhere I go people tell me they just saw the movie.  I heard it so often that after finishing the book I decided to watch the movie.  I had heard a lot of good things but, after having read the book, I felt like it left out way too much.

The book was gut-wrenching at times and joyful at others.  It briefly examined the lives of the men after their fame started to wear off and you could sometimes really catch glimpses of the hell these men went through and how it will effect them for the rest of their lives.  It was a peek into lives that are so distant from my own that I could only imagine them with Tobar's help, and I am grateful for that insight.  I am awed that all 33 men made it out after over two months in a sweltering, wet, dark, hell.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

In the Body of the World

In the Body of the World: A Memoir  by Eve Ensler
Weight:8.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Lending Library

I first read The Vagina Monologues in high school, and I loved it.  I walked around reciting "My Angry Vagina" to anyone willing to listen.  In college, I had the chance to meet Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda in one of many Vagina Monologue productions I would go to see.  Attending an all women;s private school, I also began to see some of the more problematic sides of the Monologues and white western feminism.  I would speak to these too and would be guilty of my own mistakes throughout the years.

It did not stop me from going to Charis, our local feminist bookstore, to buy Necessary Targets and have it signed by her at a reading.  I was never again enthralled like I was in high school, but I also never completely lost touch. 

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this book at the Dollar Store of all places.  I thought maybe it would be terrible and had been banished to the dollar bin for a reason.  I was wrong.  I enjoyed it and thought Eve did what she does best.  She shows truth no matter how disgusting, vile, negative, hateful, wonderful, idiotic, perfect, exciting, personal it is.  She has been accused of being self-involved, but this is exactly what allows her to dig deep.  Self-involved walks a fine line with self-aware and is often misidentified.  People who attend to themselves, speak powerfully from their own experience, watch their own back, love themselves, care for themselves--particularly women--will be called selfish.  Taught that selfish is wrong.  Even when discussing their own battle with a very scary, very dirty disease like cancer.

I appreciate watching Eve Ensler grow and change in the world.  I may not idolize her in the way I did as a teenager, but I do not really idolize people like that anymore (unless you are Gillian Anderson--kidding, kidding) or think that they must get "it" right all the time and every time.  That they are not fallible.  Eve shows us she is imperfect and allows us to look closely at our imperfect selves too, but she always asks us to do more and to be more aware.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury and Dennis Calero
Weight: 11.2 oz
Method of Disposal: Kelly Cofer Park Lending Library

I bought this for a $1.00 from the Dollar Tree.  I had read The Martian Chronicles years before I stumbled across this graphic novel, and I thought it might be neat.  I like graphic novels and Ray Bradbury.  Why not? 

I did enjoy it.  It was a nice reminder and an easy read.  It makes me want to read the book again since the comic did not include a lot.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Afterglow ( a dog memoir) by Eileen Myles
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Giving Away

This was a gift from a dear friend, and it should have been right on point.  The author is a poet who uses pronouns them/they, and she loved a pit bull named Rosie who she gave a long life and, presumably, a good one. 

I just could not submerge myself in it.  It was written in an experimental, rambling fashion, and I got lost it in.  I tried to just ride out the waves and enjoy where I landed, but I couldn't.  My favorite parts were when the writing became more direct for very brief periods of time.  I felt like I got to know Eileen more than Rosie, and I would not say I know Eileen much more now than I did before I started. I know even less about Rosie.  I know Rosie was the pit bull my brain kept wanting to make a poodle despite pit bulls being my favorite and that she had a long, drawn out death.  That she became incontinent at the end.  I know the author loved her and tried to mate her at some point, and that it was horrible.

I wish I had enjoyed this more.  I really wanted to.

The Heroic Path:In Search of the Masculine Heart

The Heroic Path:In Search of the Masculine Heart by John Sowers
Weight: 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

I did not expect much out of this book, but it surprised me in that in underwhelmed me in totally unexpected ways.  It was not sexist or offensive in any way--except for one paragraph that touches just slightly and yet painfully on being transgendered.  The author seemed to respect and appreciate women.  He was willing to lay his thoughts, feelings, and emotions out there--sometimes in stereo-typically "un-masculine" ways which I really did respect him for.

In the end, I did not like it because of the writing style, the unexpected dig at being transgendered, and the way god looms so heavy over the last few chapters.    He writes, "Culture says manhood is not trustworthy or is irrelevant.  Gender is a choice--men may become women and vice versa, based on whim or feeling.  Children take hormone therapy based on if they feel like a 'boy' or a 'girl' trapped inside.  We are tragically lost."  This was a completely unnecessary segue and one, I would argue, he knows nothing about. Is it tragic that gender is fluid?  Do people really choose gender on a WHIM?  Since when?  If it COULD be changed on a whim then maybe we would be in a much better world than we are now--not a tragically lost one.

The author repeats himself constantly.  This book may have made for a good essay, but it was like he took a 5 page essay and tried to turn it into a book.  It was painful.  I now have more analogies for masculinity than I have books in my library.  I could have lived without that.  I felt like I got a small insight into what it might feel like for a man to feel like he was not living up to BEING A MAN.  That, in and of itself, is kinda interesting, unexpectedly.  But then it just got smothered by words being piled upon words upon words until all meaning was lost.

In other news, Kelly Clarkson recommends it so...

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Education of Will: : A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog

The Education of Will: : A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog by Patricia B. McConnell
Weight: 15.5 oz
Method of Disposal: Give Back to Charlotte

One of the volunteers at the shelter gave me this book awhile back, and I read it but I have not returned it yet.  Mostly because I did not think she wanted it back, but I started to second guess that for some reason today.  This is a book about a border collie named Will that is purchased by her as a puppy and has both serious mental and physical challenges that push her to her wit's end.  Luckily, she is a world-renowned animal behaviorist but, even with background and many years of experience, she often finds herself frustrated and second-guessing herself.  She makes mistakes like anyone else would and is open and honest about them. 

This book is also about her own life and experiences.  The reader grows closer to her through stories of her past that are intertwined with stories from her clients and her life with Will.  The book was well done, and I enjoyed it.

As I type this, Whiskey comes flying through the room and through the air, slamming into the side table and breaking a lamp, knocking a mug of coffee onto the carpet, sending my expensive camera flying, and causing an overall ruckus with quite a bit of noise.  Whiskey is my Will.  After 10 years in animal rescue, she challenges me every day.  Or, rather, our foster, Wisconsin, who is always on the verge of mental collapse and who has stumped one vet after another.  The dog who was chasing behind Whiskey when they ran into the room.  The dog that is a "foster" only because there is truly nowhere else for him to go...

Dogs are wonderful, but they can be exhausting!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Fire This Time

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward
Weight: 7.2 oz
Method of Disposal: Giving to Tracy

This collection was recommended to me by my friend Liz, and I am glad she encouraged me to buy it.  It is a collection of essays and poetry about the Black American experience.  Some of the writing is much better than others, but I imagine each piece speaks to different people.  I found this to be a great step up in finding other interesting authors and books.  I went on a book buying spree looking for Wendy S. Walters, Jesmyn Ward, and Garnette Cadogan.  Thinking about Garnette walking the streets of Kingston, New Orleans, and New York was a huge open window for me.  I felt like I was able to peer into the life of a young, black man and truly understand that I cannot truly understand what it feels like for all eyes to be on me, wondering what I am up to, where I am going, whether I am guilty of something.  And not just eyes, often hands, feet, fists.  How awful to live with that weight and constant looking over your shoulder. 

The same happened with Wendy's loneliness.  I felt it deep within me even though I recognized that I have never felt it and will never be able to without living every. single. day. with it.  I suggest you take the time to read this book or, if you are short on time, at least  check out some of the writing inside.  I would start with those 4 authors if you aren't going to read it all.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court

Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court  by Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price
Weight: 3 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to Tracy

I loved this book.  I learned so much, and I gained so much inspiration.  I felt lucky to have so many strong, intelligent, and brave people fighting the good fight before me.  My heart also broke to hear about the crushed dreams and destroyed lives of so many amazing gay and lesbian folks throughout history.  I would really like to get my hands on an updated edition.  I know Tracy will love it and so am passing it on to her. 

In the meantime, I am naming all the cats at work after all the incredible LGBTQI activists I now know about.  While silly, I kinda hope people see the names, Google them, and get inspired too!

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Fine By Me

It's Fine By Me by Per Petterson
Weight: 7.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Lending Library

This is one of my Dollar Store buys.  I bought it on a whim.  I am not sure what attracted me to it.  I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had read another one of his books about Arvid Jansen or if I was able to read it in the original language.  Per Petterson (great name!) is a Norwegian author.  This book kind of reminded me of Catcher in the Rye, which I do not like.  It was a coming of age story and centered on a confused and conflicted teenage boy trying to figure out who he is in the context of the world.  It was not my thing, but I think it will be someones.  I hope it finds a better home.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Reaching for the Stars

Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut
José Hernández
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Lending Library

I dream of space and of one day traveling there.  Or, at least, I thought I did, but now I know mine was a lazy dream.  José showed me what dreaming of space really looks like, and it looks like a lot of hard work and natural intelligence.  I was telling someone about his story tonight, and they stopped me to ask if it was a fictional story.  It is not.  It is incredible.

The story of José is amazing, though this book is not.  I am not too keen on his writing, but I am okay with that.  He is good at everything else.  It wouldn't be fair if he was a master author too!  I am very interested to hear what he will do next after his most recent attempt at politics.  I am sure he will continue to do great things.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How Can I Help?

How Can I Help? How to Support Someone Who Is Grieving
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Taking to Lending Library

I originally purchased this book when I was working at Barnes and Noble and one of my coworkers lost a parent and, seemingly, her mind.  I wanted to help even though we were not friends.  My heart broke for her.  Then, my best friend lost her fiance.  Unfortunately, since then, I have needed to pick it up many many more times.  You can tell by how well read (read worn) it is. 

It is a basic but worthwhile book that gives some really good, easy-to-follow, and solid advice.  It has some great reminders on what NOT to do, which I sometimes find even more helpful than what to do.  It encourages you to speak from your heart but to be sure you keep your focus on the grieving person and that, in their most painful moments, you do not bring too much attention to yourself or demean/belittle the feelings of the person grieving.  I recommend this book if you are looking for a way to be helpful after loss.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Romantic Fiction

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Lending Library in Tucker

I believe these came to me via my grandmother.  I am not big on romance or romantic fiction.  I am going to give these away without reading them--that is hard for me, but I have so many others to read that I enjoy and so little time after work. I do, however, like the idea of my grandmother liking romance novels...

You Might Be a Redneck If...

You Might Be A  Redneck If...This Is The Biggest Book You've Ever Read by Jeff Foxworthy
Weight: 1.5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Lending Library in Tucker

I think this was given to Harriet by someone a couple years ago because she asked what I redneck was after hearing the term used.  I think it likely answered that question!  But that is about all it is good for.  I did not find it funny though, clearly, A LOT of people did for A LONG time each their own!  I am just surprised it stayed on our shelves so long.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Gone Feral

Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild by Novella Carpenter
Weight: 13.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Lending Library in Tucker

I just finished reading this book I came across at a Dollar Tree.  My friend had just recently posted on Facebook that you could actually get good books there, and I had to go with Harriet to buy table clothes and assorted party goods for a volunteer appreciation event at the shelter anyway so I took a peek.  I had this idea in my head that it was all Christian romance and other similar subjects I have zero desire to delve into.  My friend was right though.  There were actually some pretty neat authors there.  Of course, there was also some of the other.


Gone Feral was an interesting read.  I gave it 3/5 stars.  Some of the other reviews said the writing was bad--I don't think that is true.  One said most people have experienced all the things Novella has and that she seems to think she is unique but isn't.  I have to say, that certainly cannot be true.  I can say that my life thus far has not resembled hers in the slightest.  I am 32 years old and have never raised a goat.  I fostered one pet rabbit.  I was not raised in an ecofriendly, sustainable household in the mountains.  My father was not abusive to my mother and does not seem to have any mental illness that I know of.  I have not built an urban farm.  I know that the sentiments about growing up and having children have been experienced by many people, but isn't the point of some books to connect and shed light on the human experience.  I don't think that makes it a bad book.

I rated it 3 stars because it was interesting and the writing was decent.  The book did seem to be lacking direction, and it did not feel like the author knew exactly what she was trying to write.  It seemed almost like she was writing and hoping for it to be cathartic.  I believe it is ultimately a biography of her father.  If you read three books this year, I would not choose this one.  If you read three hundred, then you should check it out.