Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today's catch at the library

It was a good day there. I found parking right away, I got a large quantity of books, and as it turned out, didn't owe them any money. I did have a secret weapon, though: the spring fiction issue of the New Yorker. It is to readers what the September issue of Vogue is to fashionistas. It tells you what's going on in the book world and why. It's as valuable for its ads as it is for its editorial content. It has the added advantage over Vogue, though, of being in reach of anyone with a library card, whereas the average Vogue reader will probably have to wait for the knockoffs to come to their local mall, or seek out a vindictive ex-husband of a wealthy fashionable woman who's putting all her purses on eBay for $50 each.

I noticed a couple of interesting things at the library today:

1. They're putting in a handicapped entrance near where I usually park. OK, I guess it's not that interesting, but it's disrupted things a bit.

2. You can make anything sound trendy and modern by sticking an "i" in front of it. Like iPoe, who is the subject of the local Big Read. Calling him ePoe would have made more sense, but I'm not in marketing.

3. If you eat right and try to exercise on an increasingly regular basis, "as many books as you can carry" becomes less of a solid benchmark for what your personal limit should be. Today, I could carry ten.

So, what'd I get? I'm so glad you asked.

The House on Salt Hay Road by Carin Clevidence. Just because it sounds cool.

Lockport Boy: a memoir of a magical time and place by Frank Bredell. I like to read books about the area, and this just sounds like such a joyful one. It was on their staff picks table, proving again that their stff has great taste.

She's Not There: a life in two genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan. I read her other book and thought it was terrific. This has been on my mental list for a while. Since I actually came with a paper list this time, I remembered to look for it.

Private Life by Jane Smiley. This was in the New Yorker issue that I mentioned. It sounded very good. I only read one of her other books, and it had an animal subplot that was so compelling and upsetting that I completely missed the point of the rest of the book.

The Family Beach House by Holly Chamberlin. A sort of quandary, because it's a family saga, which I tagged as suitable for fall, but about a beach house, which makes it more summery. I figured this in-between period would be perfect.

Midnight on the line: the secret life of the US border by Tim Gaynor. I passed it looking for something else and I thought it seemed like a valuable thing for a Northerner to read. We hear so much about border issues up here, but they don't really affect our lives to the point where we might have an informed opinion. I want a better understanding of why this is such a big issue, and if it's a real issue or just a 'wedge' issue like the so-called Ground Zero mosque or gay marriage.

Glass, paper, beans: a revelation on the nature of... by Leah Hager Cohen. I also found this on the way to something else. I guess it tracks the sources of these three things or something. Looking at my list, I would dub this one Most LIkely to Be Returned Unread, especially since it's so similar in subject matter to what I was really looking for, which is...

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. Consider me her Colbert Bump: this is where I heard about her book, but it's a topic that's sort of interested me for a while: how the poorest Americans have tons of shit, where it comes from, and what happens to it when we're done with it.

The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute. I guess this was the It Book one year in the 80s. My parents had it, and as a little kid, the title confused the absolute hell out of me, especially since on closer examination, the book was not set in Egypt nor did it have anything to do with beans. I think it's about white trash, actually. I also think I've tried it before and not gotten far, but I'm interested in trying again.

Rest area: stories by Clay McLeod Chapman. This one had me at the description of the story in which preteen boys pretend that the lifeguard at the pool is a witch and they have to safely get to the bottom of the slide to defeat her. It's been a while since I read a good short story collection. I hope this qualifies.


kittens not kids said...

iPoe? wtf?

I assume we mean Edgar Allen Poe. what's the Big Read - which text, I mean?

iPoe. how embarrassing.

She's Not There was good. The Story of Stuff is supposed to be fantastic, though I haven't looked for it since I'm pretty sure it will just be depressing.

happy reading!

Library Diva said...

The Big Read is just to read something by him. It looks like most of the programming is focusing on his horror stories. I still think it should be ePoe if you're going to do that to his name.