Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Booklahoma And Everything After

Every month is a bookish month in my universe, but July was bookish-bookish. It's been a stressful spring and summer on the Mom front, so it's obvious that I sought solace and relief from stress in bookstores.

My Spawn (AKA my son AKA that bookworm I made that one time back in 1984) took me around to Gardner's when I visited Tulsa. I love the feel of Gardner's. It's so comfy and sprawling with that sweet smell of book dust but it's insanely organized. I always go in with the idea that anything is possible as far as treasure-finding goes.

He also introduced me to a new bookstore in the downtown area called Magic City Books. What can I say about perfection? I was reminded of another sublime experience -- my trip to Prairie Lights in Iowa City back in the late 80s or early 90s. Clean, pristine, tasteful, quirky...I loved it, and can't wait to visit again. I bought some books and the cool t-shirt pictured above. I offered to buy The Spawn one, but he turned me down. His bookish light shines so brightly, he has no need of apparel that accentuates the fact.

The following books are the deluge that was July.

 I must be stern with myself and rein in during August. 

Yeah, right.

True Grit - Charles Portis. The 50th anniversary edition. Now I have three copies of the novel. One of my great finds at Magic City Books.

Fevre Dream - George R.R. Martin.  Borrowed from The Spawn.

Conviction: The Untold Story of Putting Jodi Arias Behind Bars - Juan Martinez. This case happened while I was in Korea, so I'm not really familiar with it. All part of my True Crime reading spree. Bought at Barnes & Noble.

The Good Son - Jeong You-Jeong. I am over the moon when a Korean author breaks through and has a bestseller in English. Looking forward to reading it. Another purchase from Magic City Books.

Born a Crime - Trevor Noah. I can't say enough good things about this audiobook. Narrated by the author. Smart, sharp, funny, moving -- but those are just words. Have a listen for yourself. I'm loaning it to The Spawn when I see him again soon. Bought at Barnes & Noble.

Coming To My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook - Alice Waters. This memoir by the godmother of the foodie movement is on my 100-book resolution list, so I was quite excited when I found it at Barnes & Noble.

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South - John Edge. I'd never heard of this book, but Magic City Books cast a spell over me and I had to have it. I love books about food. Someday I'm going to compile a list of all my foodie reads. The Potlikker Papers won the James Beard Award.

My Life in Middlemarch - Rebecca Mead. A BIG SCORE from Gardner's! I've been dancing around this book since it came out in 2014. Since I'll be reading Middlemarch again next year -- once every ten years since 1999 -- I might set this aside and make it my last book of 2018 or the first of 2019.

They Went Thataway - Malcolm Forbes. I got this 1988 capsule look at famous people's demises for a friend. He's been reading through, and was especially troubled about Hemingway taking his life with a shotgun. "There's no way a person could survive that!" he exclaimed. Well, no. That was probably Hemingway's take on it.  I'm going to borrow this book when my friend is finished with it. Found it  on Gardner's  bargain rack.

Cell - Stephen King. I wish I hadn't bought this audiobook. I quickly realized my mistake after a few chapters and bought Born a Crime. Usually I love to listen to Uncle Stevie on long trips. This time, no. Zombie novels aren't my thing. To make matters worse, I chose it over a book I really wanted to listen to. It was a memoir called Educated by Tara Westover.

Oh, well. Even bookworms can have missteps. I regret not buying My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh from Magic City Books. I haven't found it here in Sedalia. To add to the misstepping, I bought Eileen by the same author for five bucks at Wal-Mart and discovered when I got home that I have it on my Kindle. Read it last year and loved it. Enjoyable whiffs of Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith. So impatient to read the new one. Why did I pass it up? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy? I had it in my hand, I opened it, I smelled it, I tasted...no, not that, but you get the idea.

Another thing I'm miffed at myself for is not checking out Gardner's audiobook section. I don't know for sure if they have one, because I went right instead of left when I came through their doors and stayed right. Which seems wrong now.

Returning home from Tulsa, my book-buying engine was still fired up. 

In addition to the abovementioned Eileen, I bought the children's classics The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith and Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Both are on my 100-book Resolution list. They are on my Kindle. I never realized how much less expensive children's books are. Perhaps I should make it my main genre. Nah.

Browsing a book about the best of cult fiction, I came across the title Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse. Are you there, Amazon? It's me, Susan.

Always on the hunt for an audiobook, I bought Dad is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan from Reader's World in Sedalia. I thought this was another bad buy, but after a sluggish start, it's growing on me. If you're a parent and you don't take yourself too terribly seriously, you'll enjoy this one. Especially as Gaffigan's five (!) children get older in his stories.

Right after finding Dad is Fat, I looked at the biography/memoir shelf and gasped aloud. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood was beaming out at me with attitude. People have been recommending this book to me since it came out.  O my Fellow Readers, you know me. This book ticks all my boxes. Lockwood, a poet bends language into the most beguiling shapes and having an unconventional family to write about adds to the hilarity. I'm trying to read Priestdaddy slow, to savor it, but one chapter calls for another. My ribs hurt from laughing. My neck hurts from nodding in admiration for her quirky prose. It's not too often I get that pleasure/pain thing going on while reading.

My final buy was a book from Dollar Tree, Here and Now, a small collection of letters between Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee over a three-year period. I like writers. I like it when they like each other.

I shopped more than I read, but I had a good month with that, too. Next post.

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