Monday, January 31, 2011

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.


Teacher/Learner said...

Carrie is so awesome--one of my all-time favourite King books! I hope you can snag a copy of it. As for Freedom, I hope you find something good about it as I couldn't finish it. The Corrections was just okay for me & I only finished it because it was for a course; otherwise it would probably be a DNF for me, too. Enjoy your new stash :)

Jeane said...

I've read Phantom of the Opera- but only because in high school a friend guilted me into it- she was so shocked I didn't know the story. It's pretty good, actually.

Carrie#K said...

The Grifters was great and so was the movie, surprisingly enough.

No, not Carrie! Stephen King owes me BIG.

Toqueville? A nice weekend read. ;)

Bybee said...

I read Carrie back when it first came out in paperback and was puzzled and thrilled by King's storytelling style. I just had this urge to read it again. I'm worried about Freedom, but determined to muscle on through even if I don't like it.

Guilted! I remember getting guilted about Lord of the Rings!

Does Theodore Dreiser also owe you BIG? I know a girl, Christine, who shares your opinion about Stephen King. I liked the movie version of The Grifters a lot.

Ron Scheer said...

Hard for me to resist books, too, and I also have access to the massive LA Public Library. My last armload of books was from the Borders that just closed down in my neighborhood (40% off!). The last armload before that, the same Borders, when the discount was still 20%. They were all books about the American West in one way or another, and waiting to be read.

I read ELMER GANTRY in a former life and loved it (I think I saw the movie, too, and if I remember correctly, it's a much abbreviated version of the story). Hard to say if I'd still like it today. Novels then were such a different reading experience. Often better; they had more substance than American fiction today. IMO anyway.

TRISTRAM SHANDY, another one fondly remembered. THE GRIFTERS made a great movie, but I haven't read it.

Care said...

Beware the first scene in The Dante Club! yikes. and who could resist a Burt Lancaster cover?!

Susan said...

Oh I want to read The Dante Club! Lucky you! and Carrie...fond memories of both the book and the movie! very creepy mother and the horrific make me want to read it too! lol

I know all about the book buying, I've been on a binge too. I have to post about it soon, though I'm a bit shy to admit how much I've bought in January! You'd think I didn't get any books for Christmas!

Lesley said...

Book Lust To Go is nifty and just makes me want to travel more, even if it's just vicariously.

Good luck with Freedom - neither one of his books appeal to me, honestly.