Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bookweek In Ten Short Chapters

I'll bet you thought with these last few posts that I'm all about reviews. I'll bet you also thought that I was all about reading. Well, I am, but I've also been bookSocial and bookShopping this past week. Here's my bookStory:

1. My new(est) book group met to discuss Laughter In The Dark last Wednesday evening. We had a great time talking about the novel and trying to figure out who should be cast in a movie version while munching on pizza and chicken and washing it all down with soda and beer. Our next book is the 1889 humor classic Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. I'm coveting the audiobook version, read by *sigh* Hugh Laurie.

2. This new book group has a name now. We are THE CRACKED SPINZ. That's pronounced "spines", of course.

3. I had to visit my bank in Gumi on Friday, so I made lunch plans with my first bookworm buddy in Korea, Pablo. Looking back, I think that I'm more interested in nonfiction now because of him. Pablo just finished a book about the immigrant experience in the UK called Dark Heart by Nick Davies. He described it at great length, and I added it to my wishlist. Pablo thinks that the US immigrant experience is probably parallel to what's described in Dark Heart.

4. On Saturday, I went to Seoul to meet some of my non-bookish friends and chow down at TomaTillo's, a new Mexican restaurant I'd heard so much about. Happily, the restaurant is at Jonggak, and one of the Bandi & Luni bookstores is right there in the subway. Exit 2. It's imprinted in letters of fire on my...well, anyway...I bought a third copy of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (one was loaned out in 2005 and never came back and the other was for CanadaBoy's birthday). I also decided to buy Haruki Murakami's memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I'm not exactly a Murakami fan, but I couldn't resist that play on Raymond Carver. Just when I was about to leave, I spotted -- BIG BOOK SCORE!-- The Egg And I by Betty MacDonald. I've been hoping that this book would pop up in Korea. I also have The Plague And I and Onions In The Stew and Anybody Can Do Anything on my wishlist. By abebooks website I sat down and wept.

5. My friends, burritos and lime margaritas were all waiting for me right outside exit 6 of the Jonggak subway. Approaching the steps, I ran smack-dab into ANOTHER bookstore! Who knew? I made a quick survey of the store, but didn't buy anything. I would've stayed longer, but I was thirsty.

6. Flash-forward 5 hours. My friends and I were still at TomaTillo's. We'd had our fill of Mexican food and drink. Now we wanted dessert. I craved a big piece of chocolate cake like nobody's business, but suddenly, something else was on my mind. I had to visit the Kyobo bookstore over by the U.S. embassy, which was about 10 minutes from where I was sitting. I had to get there before it closed, because I had an overwhelming feeling -- it was almost like panic -- that a copy of Olive Kitteridge was there, waiting for me. My non-bookish friends had roused themselves enough to have a conversation about favorite childhood books (Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume, C.S. Lewis), but I regretfully said goodbye and hurried off down the street.

7. BINGO! BOOK SCORE! Olive Effing Kitteridge! Damn, it was expensive -- 26,000W for a trade paperback. I couldn't be deterred. It's a Pulitzer fiction winner. After that, I was all done in. I had to find a pillow.

8. Sunday. Itaewon. Talya's book group was meeting at 2 pm to discuss My Place by Sally Morgan. Just enough time for lunch and a visit to What The Book? where I found what I was after: The Log From The Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck for the Eco challenge and Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland so that I might finish the Canadian challenge before the Canada Day deadline. I met up with Val who was trading in a bunch of paperbacks. She got 27,000W in credit. That's something that never happens to me.

9. Talya's book group AKA "Seoul Women's Book Club". More chocolate cake. I didn't finish My Place, but neither did most of the group. I'm going to, though. The next book is A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I read for my original book group, BOOKLEAVES.

10. Took the subway home. I got a seat and eagerly cracked open Olive Kitteridge. A few chapters later, I noticed that none of the stations we were going through sounded familiar. WTF? I missed my transfer at Guro and ended up somewhere near Incheon, which is way way west of where I live. Backtracking put me out of a reading mood, but not for long. Shortly after I left Guro for the second time, I was back in the biblio saddle again. That's me, yodeling.


Sue F. said...

I am really glad that you got a copy of Olive! I am anxious to hear how you like it!

It sure sounds like you have to really work at finding your books sometimes!

Melanie said...

What a story! I hope you'll enjoy Three Men in a Boat -- I loved it. And you can find audio of Hugh Laurie reading it on youtube (at least I did last week...)

Carrie K said...

Three Men in a Boat can only (and I stress the only part) be enhanced by Hugh Laurie. Off to download.

You've been very bookSocial and bookShopping! Kitchen Confidential is worth buying thrice, that's for sure.

Bybee said...

I'm doing a review of Olive soon. It had a strange effect on me, so the review's not coming easily.

Thanks for telling me about the youtube audio.

Carrie K,
From what I've heard, Hugh Laurie is the perfect choice to read this book.

Nymeth said...

Olive Kitteridge! I'll probably pay for an overpriced imported copy the minute I see one. If I don't order it before, that is. I'm really dying to read it.

I finished Girlfriend in a Coma two days ago and I'm still not sure what I think. I normally adore Coupland, so this is a first.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

If Hugh Laurie is reading it, I'm listening, LOL!

myza said...

What a great story! Girlfriend In A Coma was a great book - the only one of Coupland's book I really liked. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

1. An audio book by Hugh? mmmmmmMMM.
2. I like the Cracked Spinz (and I pronounced it correctly before you prompted.) I ask, tho: why exactly do we feel compelled to name our book clubs?
3. Have you seen The Visitor? interesting look at immigration.
4-? Congrats on scoring all those books!
Love the yodeling, too.

JoAnn said...

You've had quite a week!! I'll look forward to your review of Olive Kitteridge.