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>March: Buying

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> It didn’t happen all at once, but when it was time to flip that calendar page from March to April, what was the damage? 8 books. Gasp.

So far this year I’ve bought 20 and read 30. The good news is that I’m reading faster than I’m buying, although this month was neck and neck. Check out what came home with me and let your eye skim over my spirited but mostly lame rationalizations:

1. Say You’re One of Them – Uwem Akpan. I got this for BOOKLEAVES March 28 discussion. New book.

2. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy. I got this for CRACKED SPINZ book group. I’m feeling intimidated by the thought of reading it. New book.

3. Word Freak – Stefan Fatsis. I’ve already read it, I have a copy of it back in my US collection, I didn’t need it, but I flat don’t care. I love this quirky look at life on the Scrabble circuit. New book.

4. Market Leader – David Cotton, David Falvey and Simon Kent. This is the textbook I’m using for my Business English class. I discovered after my students had bought their books that we were working out of two vastly different editions, so I needed to update. Business English is not my favorite class to teach and I can’t usually warm up to that genre of textbook, but I really like Market Leader’s nifty little articles about international businesses, the colorful layout of the book and there’s a sample CV that’s not difficult for my students to follow for their final project. There’s an accompanying CD as well. The Market Leader authors are from the UK and I’ve almost forgiven them for hiring voice actors who feel that a harsh, flat, grating series of noises is what passes as an American accent. I’ve taught this book so often that I can almost cozy up to it like a “real” book instead of a textbook. For example, I often wonder if co-author Simon Kent feels left out because he’s not named David and the book title inspires me to start humming Subterranean Homesick Blues then snarling out with my best Dylan imitation: Don’t follow leaders! Watch your market leaders! New book.

5. Dictations For Discussion – Judy DeFlippo and Catherine Sadow. Out of the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), listening is kind of like the shy kid who gets ignored. I’m trying to teach more listening comprehension activities this semester. The beauty part is that they’re all dictations about ‘controversial’ topics, so it’s easy for me to whip up a few discussion questions for later in the class. The book’s not perfect though — a little too American-centric. New book.

6. The Complete Idiot’s Guide To American Literature. One of the Korean professors in the English department assigned this book for his class. I saw some of my students carrying it around. Beguiled by the trademark orange and blue cover and the cute picture of Edgar Allen Poe on the front, I bought a copy at the bookstore during one of my planning periods. It’s really fun. I’d forgotten that Ichabod Crane’s horse was called Gunpowder. There’s also a chapter about Naturalism that knocked my socks off. New book.

7. Sea of Poppies – Amitav Ghosh. This is the novel we’ll be discussing at the BOOKLEAVES meeting on April 18. New book.

8. My Autobiography – Charles Chaplin. Big score!!! The last time I saw this book was a little over 2 years ago and the price was about 27 USD. Thanks but no thanks. Then, last Sunday when the BOOKLEAVES crew (Veronica, Sandra, Shanna, Bernadette, Jill and myself) was in Kyobo buying Sea of Poppies, I saw it in a smart Penguin edition. Chaplin’s young-man face is large on the cover and he’s not wearing that annoying toothbrush moustache. He looks smokin’ hot, which is something I never thought I’d say about Sir Charles. Shifting it from one hand to the other and cooing over it, I still hesitated to buy. Quickly bored with my googly eyes and indecision, Veronica did a price inquiry. Less than 8 USD. That’s more like it! New book.


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