1. It's December 14 -- Shirley Jackson's birthday. The next couple of years are looking good for Jackson fans -- a new collection of short stories and a new biography. I think the biography will be markedly different than the 1980s one by Judy Oppenheimer, but not necessarily better. Still have to read it, though. I also want to reread Hangsaman and The Sundial.
2. I went to the Busan Book Swap last Sunday. Brought 10 books. Pulled them out of my bag and set them on the bar. The guy sitting next to me said, "Don't tell me you read all ten of those books in one month?!" Since I hadn't read those ten, I said, "Oh, no." Then I said, "I don't think I could read 10 books in a month." The guy, the bartender, everyone sitting around grunted assent. One guy said: "For me, maybe 10 books a year." I immediately thought: Why did I say that? Of course I can read 10 books in a month! I felt bad for a while, then I remembered that Clark Kent and Peter Parker go around dissembling about their superpowers all the time. Anyway, went with 10 books, came home with 4. One of them was The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. I've read the first paragraph.
3. Right after Emily Dickinson (December 10) and right before Shirley Jackson (see above), I too had a birthday. Me and Alexander Solzhenitsyn (December 11). For Merry Birthday and Happy Christmas, I requested a copy of Pioneer Girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder's long-unpublished manuscript. Thank yous go out to The Spawn for this much-wanted gift. In a fit of adultish behavior, I told him not to send the book to Korea; he should just wait till he sees me in the spring. Then, to reward myself for my fortitude, I hopped on the Kindle and ordered Lila by Marilynne Robinson. Ducked into a Starbucks and tucked into some carrot cake and a peppermint mocha. Started reading right away. So good. Everything.
4. 178 books. That's how many I'm sending home. The number changes every day. Goes up and down. Culling is hard work. I've sold the bookshelves. On Thursday, they'll be gone, then I'll really have to get serious about sending what I've decided to keep and donating what I think I can give up.
5. What I'm reading right now: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (reread) and A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary.
6. I've also had a DNF this month. There was a bad guy in the novel, but he bought the farm somewhere in the middle. Once he was killed off, I was relieved, but didn't feel compelled to continue.
7. I want to buy these two novels: Home by Marilynne Robinson and Euphoria by Lily King.
8. Oops, make that three books: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast.
9. I'm making a pile marked "Early 2015". This pile includes: My Own Two Feet - Beverly Cleary; The Book of Margery Kempe - Margery Kempe; Susan Spray - Sheila Kaye-Smith; The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro; Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin; and The Mosquito Coast - Paul Theroux.
10. I thought the local bookstore, Kyobo, was gone forever, but it turns out that it's just moved house! I stumbled onto its new digs today while walking back from the BEL. I was hungry for Quiznos, and then I saw the sign! I felt just like that woman from Ace of Base. This may be a signal from the universe that I should go back to eating sandwiches on a regular basis.