Saturday, May 08, 2004


I'm still slightly bitter towards the manager at the bookstore because she didn't hire me, but I'm starting to love what she's done with the bookstore. She set up a nice big (3 sections of shelves) area of half-price books. Some of this stuff just came out last year!

[Side note: Manfred, Jr. is not pleased with the way she eliminated the True Crime section and integrated all those books into nonfiction.]

While perusing this section of the store, I made an excellent find Thursday evening: THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN. It's a biography of sorts about 4 American Catholic writers in the mid-20th century: Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor. They all knew each other and corresponded, so the book has that as well. I've read Merton, Day and O'Connor, and I know who Percy is.

It's a nice thick hardcover, and the front cover still has a bit of creak when it's opened. I've gotten picky about that since I read a book called BOOK FINDS. I realized I'm not really a collector, but I did like the bit about listening for that book cover creak.

Best of all: The cover price for the book was originally twenty seven dollars. It rang up at their register for eleven dollars and thirty cents! I felt so wonderful, toting out a hefty book like that for less that fifteen dollars.

Of course the frugal part of me is telling the crazy book addict part of me that I should have taken that eleven dollars and thirty cents and put it towards the eventual purchase of THE SUM AND TOTAL OF NOW. I am still seriously jonesing about that book! When Manfred, Jr. asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day, that title was almost on it's way out of my mouth. I pulled it back though and mentioned PLAINSONG and GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING.

$122.00. I wish I knew why. Does this happen very often, that one of the books in a trilogy fetches an obscenely higher price than the others?

Part of me wants to give up and jump into that abyss that I think of as my Lost Weekend book shopping. I want to log on to abebooks, pull out my credit card, click and wake up the next morning, wondering how it all happened. I'm better than I was a few years ago. At Manfred, Jr.'s age, I would've said something to the equivalent of "to hell with the bills" and spent the money on the book, feeling, no knowing, that it was the better choice.


I have this blog, and I have a job-hunting blog. Yesterday, these two crucial parts of my life intersected.

Friday afternoon. Job interview at one-thirty pm. I'm sitting there, cooling my heels. At five till two, the interviewer emerges from her office to let me know she's running 20 minutes behind and can I wait a little longer? No problem, I said. I have a book in my car and I'll just read until you're ready for me.

I was 3-4 pages from the end of the book when she called me in to interview. I left my book in the waiting area. I didn't want to carry it into the interview because, well, I didn't really think it was her business what I'm reading. [It was DRY by Augusten Burroughs] I usually stuff paperbacks in my purse, but the purse was too crammed on this day to fit the book.

To make a long story a little shorter, I got the job. Problem is, I was so stunned (rejection feels more normal when you've been out of work nearly a year) that I walked right past the waiting area and past my book.

I'm going to peek in and see if it's still there today, but I have my doubts. The reading section in that waiting area was putrid: A Holy Bible (okay, that wasn't putrid) 2 magazines from October 2003 and 1 from December 2003. Putting myself in another's shoes, if I had to sit in a waiting area with that kind of reading selection, and I saw a nice paperback copy of a book in great condition with an interesting, slightly edgy cover, I'd be all over it like it was Godiva chocolate during PMS.

Maybe I should just let it go. I could read those last 3-4 pages quickly the next time I'm in a bookstore. But for some reason, it makes me a little crazy to part with a book so abruptly. I have to go back and look for it. I need closure.

Even if the book's not there, I'm going to bring in my latest issue of BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS [What am I doing with a subscription to BH&G? An 8th grader was selling subscriptions last year at school; I'm a notoriously soft touch.] and leave it for others to read. It inflames me that a business can have a waiting area and think they can get away with crap like 7 month old magazines! Do I really want to work there?

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