Wednesday, February 16, 2011

People Go Away But Their Books Stay

People are moving out of my apartment complex in droves this month. Happens every year. It's the expat way. People get that anywhere but here feeling and go in search of their 'real life' which is either beckoning them seductively from a new and mysterious locale or standing on a back porch in their own native country screeching imperatives. People start packing, then they get that other feeling: Damn. Books are heavy. Enter Bybee, with a tear in one eye and a gleam of anticipation in the other. Thanks to my wanderlusty compatriots, I've picked up about 30 books in as many days. Here's my haul from last night:

1. The Pythons Autobiography By The Pythons. All about Monty Python. 359 pages of photos and fun. A must for fans. The best kind of coffee table book. Heavy as hell because of that slick paper, so this won't be going with me on the subway.

2. The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King. Dan K., the previous owner of most of these books, had a lot of King. I was looking for Carrie, but any King is good. There's a lot I haven't read yet.

3. Catch Me If You Can - Frank Abagnale. I liked the movie.

4. Hearts in Atlantis - Stephen King. King takes on Vietnam. Hmm...

5. Insomnia - Stephen King. I've been wanting to read this.

6. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert. Maybe time for a reread.

7. Myths and Legends of India. Looks like fun.

8. Aquariums of Pyeongyang: Ten Years in the North Korea Gulag - Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot. Sandra loaned me her copy of this one. I haven't gotten around to it yet, so I can get her copy back to her and keep this one on the TBR.

9. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski. Same thing, except change Sandra to Jill.

10. The End of the Affair - Graham Greene. I really need to read some GG. It's one of my literary gaps.

11. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen. About three or four years ago, every single blog was Jane! Jane! Jane! Now that everyone's moved on to the Brontes or Edith Wharton, I can assert my contrarian streak and enjoy Austen's greatest hit again. I like that I found the Oxford edition. All those explanatory notes in the back are great, geeky fun.

12. My War at Home - Masuda Sultan. The author's parents immigrated from Afghanistan to the United States when she was five. At seventeen, they married her off to a doctor. After three years, she was able to get a divorce, which was almost unheard-of. This memoir is about that as well as an examination of being a Muslim in America and her trips back to Afghanistan. The style is really engaging. I'm looking forward to reading this and loaning it to my friends.

13. First, They Killed My Father - Loung Ung. I borrowed this book from one of my coworkers back in 2005. Harrowing reading. I learned a lot about Cambodia and the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. Everyone should read this and also Wild Swans.

14. When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After The White House - Patricia O'Toole. TR had an eventful life. I'm sure his emeritius years were just as fascinating, or maybe more.

15. Confessions of an Econimic Hit Man - John Perkins. I'm not sure why I picked this up. The fever was upon me, no doubt.

16. His Excellency - Joseph J. Ellis. A biography of George Washington. His birthday's coming soon.

17. Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 - Stephen E. Ambrose. I didn't realize that some of this construction went on during the Civil War.

18. John Adams - David McCullough. I've been circling this one for a while. I want to read it then watch the miniseries starring one of my main crushes, Paul Giamatti.

19. Truman - David McCullough. OH MY GOD YES!!!!!! I'm so happy to find this biography! I started a library copy back in 1997 after visiting the Truman Library in Independence but didn't finish it before it was due. I've seen it in several bookstores here, but even patriotism couldn't induce me to overcome my laziness and tote the 1,117-pager home. Now it's mine and I will finish! Probably not a subway book, though. Of course, it's been so long since my last attempt, I'm going to have to start over.

Thanks so much to Faulkner Guy, Alex, Arlene, Amy and Dan. I'll miss you all like hell, but I've got your books here to comfort me.


Teacher/Learner said...

Wow, great haul! I'm envious :D I've been looking for Catch Me If You Can in bookstores. The movie was so great, I hope the book is too. Enjoy!

Brenna said...

Lucky you! I'd die for all those free books! Titles that I'd be especially happy to find are The End of the Affair (I've had this on my TBR for ages), The Story of Edgaw Swalleite and First They Killed My Father.

Good work, Bybee!

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

quite a coup! i'm interested in 'catch me if you can'--i saw the movie a few years back but didn't realize it was also a book. let me know if you enjoy it.

Kathleen said...

Amazing that these were abandoned. They left so many good titles behind. I would love to check out the Monty Python book!

Gentle Reader said...

That is quite a haul! Have fun with it. I loved The End of the Affair, by the way. I think they made a movie out of that, too.

Unruly Reader said...

Those presidential biographies sound grand. The 2 by McCullough are remarkable as all get-out -- they're long but they pull you right into the lives of those fellows.

Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) said...

I get that anywhere but here feeling a lot, but I can't leave at the moment. :P

Great haul, btw. I highly recommend rereading Madame Bovary and Pride and Prejudice which I also intend to do soon. And, wow, Truman. My grandfather had a copy, and I started but didn't finish it a couple of years ago.

Bookfool said...

Wow, cool haul! But, I'm sure it sucks saying goodbye to so many people. Does it? You got some good ones. I've read Graham Greene but haven't gotten to The End of the Affair, yet. I need to read more of his work. Haha, love that bit about your contrarian streak. I gave into the Jane wave, but I have a tendency to rebel against the "in" thing.

Susan said...

Fabulous books, Book-twin! I'm glad to see some Stephen King on it, and Pride and Prejudice! did you know that there is a new Annotated version of P&P? I just bought it. It has pictures of the styles and houses back then, and I love Georgian 'stuff. Everything. Jane Austen NEVER goes out of style!!!

I like how you inherited all those books, too. I always think of it as giving them homes :-) like they are strays in need of love and comfort and being read.

Stephen Page said...

What a cache. Congrats. Much more lasting and useful than finding a ten-year-old eReader.

Monica said...

The expats where I live are buying kindles!!! the horror.
I'm very envious of your bounty.

Nan said...

In one fell swoop you mentioned my three favorite Presidents - well, TR and Adams definitely and the biog. of Truman is out of this world wonderful. I own but haven't read the Trumpets book. Somehow I think that he might be alive and I don't want to read of his death. :<) And oh, the John Adams book. The man makes me swoon - all these years later.