Saturday, February 23, 2008


Well, I'm fresh from a trip to Barnes and Noble with my $50 gift card. I came home with one book and my relationship intact, which was more than it looked like at the time. Confession time: those things paralyze me, as much as I love getting them. I can't help but look upon them as a rare and special gift that I must spend carefully, as it's unlikely I'll ever get another chance to do so.

So I over-analyze. I've been meaning to pick up a better copy of The Secret History by Donna Tartt, but since I already have a copy, I shouldn't waste this rare and special gift on it. I want to read Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jennifer Lancaster, but will I still be glad I bought this book 30 years from now? Probably not, so I shouldn't waste this rare and precious gift on that, either. I want to read Killing Yourself to Live and The Best American Short stories of 2007, but not necessarily own them (after all, they may suck, who knows) so I can't waste this rare and precious gift on either of those. By this point, I'm starting to hate myself, but this has gotten rolling and I can't stop it, until nothing in the store is good enough and worthy enough of my gift card and my boyfriend has moved past enjoying shopping himself, right through patient, past eager to get the hell out of there, into wondering if that 50-year-old toothless lady who tried to pick him up last week is doing anything tonight.

So, after much prevaricating, I wound up with a book I'd never even heard of before today. It's called Charity Girl, and it's about a young woman who gets locked up during WWI for having VD. For some reason, this historical novel struck me as the one I'd enjoy owning the most out of everything I looked at today. It was also the one I had in my hand at the point where I couldn't deal with it anymore. I enjoy looking, but sometimes it stresses me out.

So here's a list of some other interesting things I saw (but didn't buy) today:

Helen of Troy, Margaret George. The title pretty much says it all. I liked Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles and The Autobiography of Henry VIII but couldn't get into her Cleopatra and Mary Magdalene novels, so I didn't get Helen of Troy.

Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo. Probably very good, but still in hardback.

Slash by Slash. Yeah, that Slash. It's gotta be good, but is also still in hardback.

Killing Yourself to Live, Chuck Klosterman. I liked Fargo Rock City and this one, about death and music, is probably good too. I never went back to Fargo Rock City, though, and I know the library has this one.

People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn. I'm interested in it but not sure if I'd ever actually read it. I'm in the market for something that's fun and stimulating, not just intellectual.

Like the professor at my graduate school who died, it's always made me sad that there are so many good books in the world, and so little time -- and money -- for all of them.

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