>I’m a firm believer in getting the bad stuff out of the way first. Today, on the train back from Seoul, my seatmate, a nice-looking 30ish Korean man, wearing a dark business suit was reading The Secret. In Korean. Sad but true. That book is a bestseller over here, as well. I was reading Housekeeping vs. The Dirt and fretfully wishing for a magnifying glass. I silently did a quick little “Great Monday Compare” between my book and his. No matter how you slice it — I win! Nyah, nyah.
I’ll do a blog entry about BOOKLEAVES in the next few days. I took some pictures the old-fashioned way, with a disposable camera [It pains me to admit this! Why don’t I just buy a digital camera and have CanadaBoy show me how to use it?] and I need to have the film developed and put on a CD. I’m hoping the pictures came out well…and that I don’t look too much like a hag compared to my fellow expat booklovers. Didn’t know I had that vain streak, did you, huh? In my defense, you’d worry too, if you were in a bookgroup where everyone else was born during the Carter or Reagan administrations. Speaking of CanadaBoy, he made a cameo appearance at book group via text message.
A weekend in Seoul wouldn’t ring true without a little side trip to What The Book? of course. OK, let me be perfectly honest: TWO side trips. Aaron wanted to go after book group on Sunday afternoon, and Bernadette and her boyfriend wanted to see what it was like in there. I had just been there Saturday night, but I was definitely up for another sashay around the shelves.
Here’s what sashayed off the shelves, up to the cash register, into my bag, out of the store and home with me:
1. Villette – Charlotte Bronte. [Okay, now I’ve got all the books I need to take up my Bronte Challenge again. It’s only been a year since I experienced Shirley, but I think I’m recovered and rested up now.]
2. Cannery Row – John Steinbeck. [I found this when I went back with Aaron and Bernadette. Big score! I’ve been circling the Steinbeck for months, waiting. WTB? has Sweet Thursday, the sequel, but my inner Rigid Completist Bookworm has to read Cannery Row first. I didn’t ask them to order it; I just waited for it to appear. I can do that –be patient about a book — sometimes.]
3. An Angel At My Table: An Autobiography Vol. 2 – Janet Frame. [I’ve been sort of peripherally aware of this New Zealand writer for several years. The aforementioned inner Rigid Completist Bookworm doesn’t like the thought of starting with volume 2. I told her to shut the hell up, but truth be told, I’m sort of itchy to find volume one.]
5. The Disappointment Artist – Jonathan Lethem. [Nick Hornby AKA my hot lit-crush, spoke well of Lethem’s The Fortress Of Solitude in The Polysyllabic Spree. I might be remembering incorrectly, but I think my hot girl-lit-crush, Nancy Pearl, also spoke well of him in Book Lust. So I’ve had “Lethem, Lethem, Lethem” buzzing in my mind’s ear for a few weeks now. Happily, What The Book has several of his novels. I had almost decided on As She Climbed Across The Table when I decided to give Lethem’s book of essays The Disappointment Artist a cursory glance. Looked good, real good. Suddenly, the beginning of the title essay snagged my eye. He mentions his Aunt Billie in Kansas City, who was children’s author Wilma Yeo! I was freaking out. (Quietly, which is so difficult.) You know that “six degrees of separation” stuff? Jonathan Lethem and I have those 6 degrees going on!!! Wilma Yeo was his father’s oldest sister. She married Jack Yeo in 1938. My great-great Aunt Lou’s husband was either a brother or nephew to Jack Yeo — I put in a nearly-incoherent international phone call to my mother late last night, and she is double-checking with my 90-year-old grandmother about the relationship. My grandmother had told me long ago that I was kinda-sorta related to a writer; she knew I’d be thrilled since writers have always been my rock stars. I really wanted to meet Wilma Yeo, but until just a few years ago, I worried overmuch about “imposing on people”. Sad. Stupid. From what I’ve heard over the years, Wilma Yeo was generous with her time and attention. She died in 1994, so I missed my chance. I did read and enjoy The Mystery Of The Third Twin, though. Anyway, back to the Lethem book: after seeing the essay about Philip K. Dick, I was 98% sure I’d buy The Disappointment Artist, but once I saw our Wilma Yeo connection, I was hellbound if I was going to leave that store without that book!]
The weekend was not all book-related, however; I glutted myself on English-language television channels like CNN and AFN. I don’t have cable in Gumi, so I enjoyed show after show after show until the wee small hours of the morning. You know you’re television-deprived when you’re so damn happy to see Dr. Phil and you hang on his every word even when he’s being a pontificating ass! I also watched the Super Bowl this morning until halftime, when hunger struck and I checked out of the hotel and went over to Quizno’s for a(nother) Italian sub. It wasn’t until I got back to Gumi hours later that I found out about the Giants’ upset victory. No joy in Mudville for Mr. Bybee and his brother. On the bright side, now that football is finished, it’s just a matter of weeks until the baseball season starts and my beloved Cardinals have a chance to redeem themselves and make me forget 2007.
If you catch any spelling errors in this post, it’s Blogger’s fault. Now my secret is out: I’m naked without spellcheck.