Monday, May 23, 2011

May 2011: Book Buying

April 30, 2011:
Dear Book Spending Journal,
I am seriously going to hold down my book spending this next month. Enough is enough. Too much is too much.

May 1, 2011:
Dear BSJ,
An early Mother's Day lunch with The Spawn. We went to Outback in Cheonan and tore with hearty appetites into New York strips. Delicious as the food was, I couldn't help being distracted by the glimmering at the edges of my vision. Almost directly across the street was a Kyobo bookstore.

Spawn: Where to now?

Me: You know where.

Spawn: Yeah, the bookstore. I went yesterday, but c'mon.

[at the bookstore]

Me: This selection isn't doing a thing for me.

Spawn: I knew you'd be disappointed.

Me: Except...there's a copy of 127 Hours. I kind of want it.

Spawn: Did you watch the movie?

Me: Not yet. So that's a good reason to buy the book. I could read it first then watch the movie.

Spawn: I guess. Look, someone tore the cover of the Obama book. Do you think it was _______?

Me: No, because Obama's face isn't torn.

Me: [thinking] This Kyobo sucks, but it does exist. What if I couldn't get to Seoul or get online? Also I've lost my library card, so one of my options is gone. I should show this store some appreciation...

Me: [aloud] I've got my discount card. I can get the book for less than 10.

May 9, 2011
Dear Spending Journal:
Val came up with the brilliant idea that Cracked Spinz should read an Enid Blyton book. She was practically raised on EB, and I've never even read one page. Were her books even in the libraries I frequented? Anyway, I charged Val with finding the perfect title, and she came up with Shock For The Secret Seven (1961). What about that publication date? Nice work, eh? After that, it was run, don't walk to for a nice copy that was published in conjunction with the centennial of Blyton's birth.

May 11, 2011
Dear Spendy,
It's all Paul's fault. He lent me Hardboiled Hollywood, which discusses how the book and film versions of certain detective/crime/noir classics differ. I was doing fine until I got to In A Lonely Place by Dorothy B Hughes. I saw the movie with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame years ago and thought it was just OK. Then I read that the book is wildly different. Then I read that Dorothy Hughes was right in there writing noir with Chandler, Hammett, Cain and holding her own at a time when ladies just didn't do that. Then I read that Hughes was from Kansas City. Then I saw the gorgeous Penguin cover, which is a crisp b&w still from the movie. That did it. I'm not made of stone. Back to the internet. The seller hesitated. I can't ship to North Korea, due to postal concerns, she wrote in an email. Can't blame her. It's like I always say: The Republic of Korea sounds like the stern, unfriendly one and The Democratic People's Republic of Korea sounds rather approachable, damn near cuddly if you didn't know better. Happily, I wrote back, I live in South Korea. The book should be here soon, but I'm good for the rest of the month. I've spent enough on books already. This will do me for a while.

May 16, 2011
Dear Spendthrift Journal,
Last month, my co-worker, Megan, recommended a book to me. I almost forgot about it until I walked into her office today and saw a copy of it: Madeleine Is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. Her class is reading it this semester, and there was that one copy left over. I quickly gave Megan the money for it. What if she'd given it away to someone else? I like reason and logic as much as the next person, but that lone copy was there because I was meant to read it.

May 22, 2011
Oh Spendy --
Honestly, I only meant to get one book at What The Book? today. Last night on the EBS late movie, they showed the 1957 version of A Farewell To Arms with Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones. It was too Technicolor-y and Cinemascope-y and Jennifer Jones seemed a trifle too old, but it made me want to read Hemingway's novel again, since I can't remember it well enough to know what was left in and what was taken out.

Picking up that one book started a chain reaction. I went a little mad and also picked up Room by Emma Donoghue. I have the impression that I can read Room and count it for the Canadian Challenge. I might have the wrong book. Oh, well. Too late. I started reading it on the train and it's unputdownable. Of course I knew I'd be captivated the way I was in 2004 by her novel Slammerkin.

In addition, I decided to replace my old, beat-up, glued-together mass market copy of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao with a nice trade paperback edition for my Pulitzer shelf. I think I lent the old copy to someone at work who kind of likes to read but not really, so it's gone. I was tired of that forlorn gap between The Road and Olive Kitteridge on the shelves.

Stumbling into the EFL/ESL section of the store, I found the perfect book I need to teach a graduate class of Korean would-be English teachers next semester: How to Teach English by Barry Sesnan. It's got everything the chairman of my department says he wants me to cover. Thanks, Barry-- wherever you are. You've saved me a lot of headaches.

All in all, a good day's work, but spending must end. Really. Enough is enough. I am seriously going to hold down my book spending this next month.


Carrie K said...

I saw the In A Lonely Place movie and now I have to read the book too. Never even occurred to me it was based on a book! Spending sometimes just has to happen.

Unruly Reader said...

The book-gathering is a natural instinct, methinks. (This, from the woman who currently has 40 books checked out from the library. It's a problem.)

Excited to hear about the Enid Blyton pick. One of my elementary school teachers read us a Blyton book, and I was all bummed that I couldn't find any others at the library. It was tragic, really. (Makes me want to check out some Blyton from the library...)