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>It’s Raining Books, Hallelujah

>This continues to be my lucky month. Last week, my co-worker Mike came back from Canada “with a shit-tonne of books”. He immediately sent out an invitation to friends and neighbors to come over and grab the old books he’d culled from his shelves to make room for the new. Since Mike’s collection (as well as his sub-collections) is fresh and winsome with beguiling whiffs of quirkiness, I headed over there with The Spawn, who came to visit for a few days.

Although culling is becoming more and more of an elusive concept for me to grasp, never let it be said that I don’t help out my friends in their time of need. Here’s what I brought back to the now dangerously bulging Bybee-ary:
1. Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese – Mike Nelson. Funny, funny guy. I already peeked into this 2000 collection and read his review of The Bridges of Madison County. It made me laugh in that embarrassing way that comes out all snortified.
2. Race Matters – Cornel West. I’ve heard a lot about this book and also read a couple of excerpts from it over the years.
3. Gang Leader for a Day – Sudhir Venkatesh. What began as a graduate school project turned into several years of friendship with a gang leader and an inside view of gritty life on the street.
4. How Right You Are, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse. My first Wodehouse book. Yes, that’s a tear of joy.
5. Meridian – Alice Walker. I’ve only read her short stories and The Color Purple, so I’m eager to check out her early novels.
6. Music for Chameleons – Truman Capote. Except for In Cold Blood, I’ve never read any Capote. This looks like a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction in one volume.
7. King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard. Ever since reading The Lost City of Z, I’ve wanted to read some Rider Haggard.
8. Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir – Graham Roumieu. I thought this was a children’s picture book at first, so I grabbed it for the Children’s Lit class I’ll be teaching in now less than a week (eeeee!). Ooops. Here’s an excerpt from near the front of the book: Stink Yes, everyone know Bigfoot smell like shit. Please make effort not to point out every time you see Bigfoot. Thank you. Oh well. Still looks like fun, and there’s a bonus I just discovered: I was hoping that since Mike is Canadian and Roumieu looks like a French name, that Graham Roumieu was Canadian. Yes, he is! Yay, another one for the Canadian Book Challenge! Maple Leaf me!!!

9. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark. A nice Penguin copy with a still from the movie on the cover.

10. Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham. I already have a copy, but I love the Bantam Classic cover.

11. Love Me: A Novel – Garrison Keillor. Not sure about this one, but Mike, that silver-tongued so-and-so, glibly persuaded me to take it. I have a big culture gap concerning Lake Wobegon and Keillor, but he’s from Minnesota, my new favorite state, so yah, you betcha, gotta give it a go.
Good thing I brought The Spawn along. I only meant for him to experience Mike’s collection firsthand (he was mesmerized by the graphic novel subcollection), but he proved to be effective as my beast of burden. After that, he rested up and went to Suwon the next day to meet a former exchange student from his alma mater for lunch. Somehow, they drifted into a bookstore. That’s my boy. He came back a few hours later with a copy of The Mist by Stephen King for himself and a copy of Carrie for me! That’s my boy!

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