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>August, 2010: Buying

> I haven’t added up my total purchases for the year. I keep telling myself, “Not yet, not yet.” I keep reassuring myself that I can’t be up to 100 books yet, but after last month’s crazy (but oh-so-enjoyable) binge, I’m beginning to get the feeling that I might be closing in on that old triple digit.

Although I meant to approach this month with austerity, my obsession with Harry Paget Flashman showed no signs of waning after I read Flashman and Royal Flash, so I found myself at Amazon one evening ordering these books:

1. Flashman at the Charge – George MacDonald Fraser. At the charge of the Light Brigade, of course. I thought that this might be the one in which Tom Brown’s School Days is published, but I was mistaken — that’s Flashman in the Great Game.

2. Flash For Freedom! – George MacDonald Fraser. Flashy spent quite a bit of time in America, which should make for interesting reading. According to his “biography”, he fought on both sides of the American Civil War, but those “papers” were never found.

3. Flashman and the Redskins – George MacDonald Fraser. An un-PC title to go with an un-PC character. Flashman is at Little Big Horn in this one, I believe.

I told myself that the Flashman buying binge was my reward for teaching science to children at summer camp. Then, after camp was all finished, I realized that I hadn’t made my acquaintance with the new What The Book? store yet. Once I was in the much improved new location, I had to express my delight (about camp ending and the nice new bookstore) somehow:

4. You Gotta Have Wa – Robert Whiting. An examination of Japanese baseball, or as they say, besuboru. One of these days, I’ve got to hie myself over to Tokyo or Fukuoka during baseball season and watch a few games.

5. Winter’s Bone – Daniel Woodrell. This is the second time I’ve bought this book. I picked it up at the request of my former colleague Pablo back in 2006 or 2007 during my trip to the US. I remember that wanted to read it before I passed it on to him and collected the money, but decided that it wouldn’t be good manners. This will be my first Woodrell novel, although as a novelist from Missouri, he’s been in my peripheral vision for several years. I liked the movie version —Ride With The Devil — of his novel Woe To Live On. After I read Winter’s Bone, I hope to see the movie, which has done very well critically.

6. Dead Poets Society – N.H. Kleinbaum. Eeek, a movie novelization! I used to read novelizations a lot when I was a teenager. My favorite place to buy books was the TG&Y store in Lawton, Oklahoma. I remember the rack being thick with them. Gradually, I moved on to reading actual books before they were made into movies.

So why have I regressed? This semester, I have an Intermediate English Conversation class that meets 2 times a week for 2 hours at a time. That’s a lot of face time, so I’m going to build a book group into at least one of those hours. Since many young Koreans seem to really identify with this movie/book or are at least familiar with the storyline, I’ll try it on for size. We’ll finish the semester with a viewing of the movie.
7. The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd. Same reason as #6, except that it’s for my Beginning English Conversation class. Not one of my favorites, but I think the students will like the book, which came out well before the movie.


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