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>January 2011: Book Buying

13 books bought this month. This bookworm in overdrive is starting off with what promises to be a bad trend — I’m acquiring faster than I’m reading. Gotta slow it down. It could have been worse, though. During a recent visit to What The Book? I saw two Jim Thompson novels I haven’t read yet: A Hell of a Woman and The Grifters. Also, I wanted a copy of Stephen King’s Carrie and have had no luck finding it, which I find a little odd.

Sorry To Be So Cheerful – Hildegarde Dolson. While I was reading We Shook the Family Tree in December, I became achingly nostalgic for Dolson’s 1955 follow-up about her life as a “spinster” living in Greenwich Village, so I ordered a copy from Amazon. I can hardly wait to get reaquainted with Dolson’s adventures as a “true drab blonde”, her encounter with etiquette queen Emily Post and I’m especially eager to reread the hilarious chapter ‘Say Hemlock and Flop’ in which Hildegarde, who is suffering through a stubborn bout of insomnia gamely tries out all her friends’ sure-fire cures. Paul Galdone’s witty illustrations are the icing on the cake.


Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis. This one is Abebooks’ fault; they sent me a coupon for 10% off. I’m not made of stone! I actually bought EG for The Spawn. He saw the 1960 movie, and I told him the book is even better. I even treated him to the Dell Books movie tie-in with Burt Lancaster on the cover. I don’t think he will, but if The Spawn rejects this book, I won’t have any problem taking it back for a fun reread.

The next seven books…well, that’s Alex’s fault. He recently moved back to the UK, leaving an Alex-sized hole in my Cracked Spinz book club. (Faulkner Guy had also departed a few days earlier. Ouch.) Right before he left, Alex invited people to his apartment to take what he was leaving behind. This counts as book-buying because I felt guilty about leaving with such a large armload for free that I gave him all the money I had in my pocket, which was approximately $4.00 (USD). Here’s what I got:

Grimms’ Fairy Tales – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Cute little pocket edition with illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux. I’ve never seen the movies, the play or the musical. You could drive a tank through this gap in my cultural learning.

Democracy In America – Alexis De Tocqueville. This looks daunting.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I haven’t yet found a Russian author that I can warm up to, but maybe it’ll be Solzhenitsyn. My other reason for picking up this book is that Solzhenitsyn and I share a birthday — Solzhy and me and Brenda Lee.

Tristram Shandy – Laurence Sterne. I tried this when I was younger, but got bored quickly. Am I still that same reader?

Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho. I know, but it’s short. Maybe I can muscle through and rack up some international author points.

The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl. Lit Detectives! This looks like fun.

Then I went to Seoul and you know how that always goes:

Freedom – Jonathan Franzen. This is the pick for Bookleaves‘ March meeting. I hope I like it better than The Corrections.

Book Lust To Go – Nancy Pearl. America’s favorite librarian recommends books based on location. Her chapter titles — states, cities, countries, continents — had me bursting into an off-key, lyric-mangling but spirited rendition of I’ve Been Everywhere. Good stuff. How can I say no to Nancy? Don’t answer that.


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