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I’m so glad that I was able to hold myself down to 3 books during June because I was a biblio-monster during July.

33.

It could have been worse. I didn’t go back to that absolutely kicken Barnes and Noble in St. Louis this year. Furthermore, I didn’t go to Iowa City’s absolutely sublime Prairie Lights Bookstore although I was a measly 27 miles away in the yuppified tourist trap of Amana, Iowa. Yeah, given access to those two places, I could’ve easily doubled the number of July’s buys. I’m happy with what I got, though:

1. Flashman – George MacDonald Fraser. A CRACKED SPINZ book club pick. Get ready for a rave review!

2. The Fixer – Bernard Malamud. One for the Pulitzer shelf.

3. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson. Another CRACKED SPINZ book club pick. We’re on a hot streak!

4. A Bell For Adano – John Hersey. Pulitzer pile.

5. The Truth About Poop – Susan E. Goodman. For $3.99 at Hastings, I couldn’t resist this juvenile nonfiction. Ralph Lewin’s Merde for the peanut gallery.

6. Jubal Sackett – Louis L’Amour. One of my obsessions this summer was to collect the entire Sackett series. Success! Done and done. Would it make sense if I admitted that I’m slightly disappointed that it was so easy?

7. Ride The River – Louis L’Amour. They’re all first-person by some member of the Sackett family, but this is the only one by a female member, 16-year-old Echo Sackett.

8. Sackett’s Land – Louis L’Amour. I found items 6-8 at Wal-Mart for $4.99 each. This is the order that they come in the series, so happily I got in on a fresh reissue.

9. To The Far Blue Mountains – Louis L’Amour. I went out for a haircut and somehow ended up in Trade-A-Book, conveniently located in the next block over. Then there was a huge storm in which cupfuls of rain poured from the sky. I had to protect my new haircut, right? What better time to scout for the rest of the series? This is the first book, which details how the progenitor of the clan, Barnabas Sackett, got to America. Looks like fun — a sea tale and a western all in one.

10. The Warrior’s Path – Louis L’Amour. I already read this one — got a copy from the Bybee-ary — but my Tough & Cool Completist Inner Bookworm said that leaving it out would be like having a bad gap in your front row of teeth.

11. Sackett– Louis L’Amour. I was the only one in the bookstore, so the owner, a lean gal with a no-nonsense attitude, joined me in tearing into that westerns shelf with determination and perhaps a sliver of glee.

12. The Daybreakers – Louis L’Amour.

13. The Lonely Men – Louis L’Amour.

14. Lonely On The Mountain – Louis L’Amour.

15. The Man From The Broken Hills – Louis L’ Amour.

16. Lando– Louis L’Amour. I’m looking forward to this one; I think there’s some boxing in it.

17. Galloway – Louis L’Amour.

18. Ride The Dark Trail – Louis L’Amour.

19. Mustang Man – Louis L’ Amour. I can’t help thinking about the car.

20. Treasure Mountain – Louis L’Amour. Trade-A-Book didn’t have the whole series, but there were multiple copies of many of the novels so I had a choice. I picked the ones that looked lightly read but I guess I couldve saved myself a few bucks by getting some read-hard copies. Still, I think I did OK getting out of there with items 9-20 costing a grand total of $29.14. I told the owner I’d see her again around Christmastime. Will I have an obsession then? Better to ask: What will it be?

21. Blockade Billy – Stephen King. King’s novella about a stellar rookie catcher who is a little strange seemed like perfect summer reading.

22. Dead Street – Mickey Spillane. Only $1.00 at the Dollar Tree.

23. Why I Love Baseball – Larry King. Ditto.

24. English – Wang Gang. Ditto the ditto. How could I resist the story of a young kid growing up during the Cultural Revolution in China, whose life is changed by his English teacher?

25. The Old Ball Game – Frank DeFord. A nonfiction book about baseball back in the days of John McGraw and Christy Mathewson (around the turn of the 20th century).

26. My Sister, My Love – Joyce Carol Oates. Oates’ fictionalized take on the JonBenet Ramsey case.

27. Men At Work – George Will. Another book about baseball. I only like George Will when he’s talking baseball.

28. The Sky-Liners – Louis L’Amour.

29. Mojave Crossing – Louis L’Amour.

30. The Sackett Brand – Louis L’Amour. Finding these last three ended my Sackett series quest. Luckily, all of these are mass-market paperbacks and gathering them all up didn’t hurt my wallet too much.

31. Lichtenstein – Janis Hendrickson. A brief overview of the artist, a gift for my son.

32. Nurse Nancy – Kathryn Jackson, Corinne Malvern. My preschool favorite. It still comes with colored band-aids inside!

33. Royal Flash – George MacDonald Fraser. I hope to read the whole series. Whoop, there it is! That’s my new obsession.

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