Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer Madness: Bybee's Book-Buying Binge, 2007

During my vacation, I was either a very bad girl or a very good bibliomaniac. You decide. Below is a full disclosure of everything (book-related) I bought. Such a confession requires photos, I realize. At some point, I'll get CanadaBoy to snap a picture. Meanwhile, enjoy my list!

1. DVD. "Word Wars" [I'm really fond of Scrabble]

2. Roger's Version -John Updike [I'm not familiar with this Updike novel. How is it possible?]

3. The Brothers K -David James Duncan [Big score! This title eluded me during Bybee's Book-Buying Binge, 2006]

4. Truth & Beauty -Ann Patchett [my Inner Completist Bookworm is vexed with me for not buying The Autobiography Of A Face to go with the Patchett book]

5. You Remind Me Of Me -Dan Chaon [the book for the September 16 Bookleaves meeting]

6. Tete-A-Tete: The Tumultuous Lives & Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre -Hazel Rowley [Sorry, I don't know how to do all those Frenchified accent marks, so just imagine them into the text, OK? I really liked Rowley's biography of Christina Stead, and I'm sure this will be just as good]

7. Winter's Bone -Daniel Woodrell [One of the books on the list Pablo sent me to the US with. It took everything I had not to page through this novel. It looks great]

8. Blonde -Joyce Carol Oates [Another one that eluded me during BBBB, 2006]

9. Fun Home -Alison Bechdel [Which of my beloved fellow bloggers recommended this? Thank you! I found it in the biography section at Barnes and Noble]

10. Slider -Patrick Robinson [A novel about baseball. Of course I wanted it, but the maraschino cherry on the banana split was a favorable review on the back jacket by Will "The Thrill" Clark, who played first base for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2000 as a replacement for an injured Mark McGwire. I loved Clark's intensity and the way he seemed to singlehandedly revive the team]

11. Skinny Bitch -Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin [Diet tips from two women whose prose reads like they were brought up in Deadwood]

12. I Want That! : How We All Became Shoppers -Thomas Hine [A little something for the sociological me]

Okay, that was the first round of shopping, which took place at Barnes & Noble and Publisher's Warehouse. The next books came from a garage sale that my friend Grace conducted in early August. Best part: Grace let me have first dibs on the books and she wouldn't take ANY money from me! Wow!
13. The Dictionary Of Cultural Literacy -Ed Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett and James Trefil. [If this informative and entertaining book weren't so damn heavy, I'd say it was perfect bathroom reading ...for years!]

14. Sacajawea -Anna Lee Waldo

15. Zarafa -Michael Allin [It's about a giraffe. Couldn't resist]

16. Dreams From My Father -Barack Obama

17. Encyclopedia Of An Ordinary Life -Amy Krouse Rosenthal

18. Facing The Wind -Julie Salamon [Manfred, Jr. likes true crime, so I gave this one to him]

19. The Mermaid Chair -Sue Monk Kidd [The Secret Life Of Bees annoyed me a little, but I thought I'd try this one anyway]

20. The Girls' Guide To Hunting & Fishing -Melissa Bank [I've been meaning to read this for years]

21. The Oregon Trail -Francis Parkman [It's one of those pocket-sized classics with illustrations. I couldn't resist]

22. The Peppered Moth -Margaret Drabble [I'm not exactly a Drabble fan -- hated The Waterfall, actually -- but I keep thinking that if I try another book of hers I'll become a fan]

23. Saving Milly -Morton Kondracke

24. The Screwtape Letters -C.S. Lewis [Again, couldn't resist. It's a really old copy in great condition]

25. Eventide -Kent Haruf [I have a copy of Plainsong, and Eventide is the sequel. My Inner Completist Bookworm is all warm and fuzzy about this]

26. The Piano Shop On The Left Bank -Thad Carhart

27. How Soccer Explains The World -Franklin Foer [I ALMOST bought this book during Round #1 of BBBB, 2007, but held off. Good thing, because it appeared at Grace's garage sale. I asked Pablo if he'd heard of this book and he said that he hadn't, it must be something written just for Americans]

28. A Son Of The Circus -John Irving [Although Irving is kind of hit-and-miss with me, I'm not gonna pass up a book of his, especially if it's free]

29. The Effect Of Living Backwards -Heidi Julavits [I like the title]

30. The Human Comedy -William Saroyan [Plugging one of my gaps -- American Literature from the 1940s]

Sunburned but deliriously happy with my haul from the garage sale, I sent these books to myself in Korea (and they were waiting for me when I returned!) and went right on shopping. The last round took place:

I. in my hometown used bookstore,
II. at Half-Price Books in Olathe, Kansas (the one just off Black Bob Road) and
III. during a return journey to Barnes and Noble in Columbia, Missouri:

31. Dearly Devoted Dexter -Jeff Lindsay [I really enjoyed Darkly Dreaming Dexter and can't wait to see the Showtime series based on these novels]

32. The Great War For Civilisation -Robert Fisk [Another from Pablo's list]

33. The Last Mughal -William Dalrymple [Ditto]

34. Bang The Drum Slowly -Mark Harris [I had to have this baseball novel after Sam Houston wrote about it in Book Chase]

35. The Mosquito Coast -Paul Theroux [Been meaning to read this for years. I used to see it just everywhere, then it became harder to find. Finally found it at Half-Price Books]

36. Travels With Charley -John Steinbeck [Eventually, I hope to read everything in the Steinbeck canon]

37. Zen In The Art Of Archery -Eugen Herrigel [I can't remember where I heard about this book, but it's been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years]

38. Letty Fox: Her Luck -Christina Stead [I've wanted to try another of Stead's novels since The Man Who Loved Children. I bought this, but I have a slightly uneasy feeling that there might be an old copy out in storage that I bought on eBay a few years ago. I couldn't find it when I looked, but my conscience isn't exactly clear]

39. Atonement -Ian McEwan [For the Unread Authors Challenge which starts...gulp...soon! Thanks to everyone who helped me by making suggestions about which McEwan to read]

40. New Choices In Natural Healing For Women -Editors of Prevention Magazine

41. We Need To Talk About Kevin -Lionel Shriver [Found it at the used bookstore. Yay]

42. Wickett's Remedy -Myla Goldberg [by the author of Bee Season, which I kind of liked]

43. My Life In France -Julia Child [I was strong and avoided buying this book during BBBB, 2006. Then I saw it this year, still in hardcover, still at the original price and just went, "Oh, what the hell. I don't care. I want it."]

44. Edwin Mullhouse -Stephen Milhauser [I've already read this "biography" of an eleven-year-old writer by his best friend, but I'd like to re-read it]

45. Heart Full Of Lies -Ann Rule [I seem to be acquiring a lot of Ann Rule books without really knowing why]

46. The Book Of Margery Kempe

47. A Conspiracy Of Paper -David Liss [This was the book for the August 26 meeting of Bookleaves, but I couldn't find it until I got to the Chicago airport, so I'm not quite finished. I'm so happy to have discovered this writer! The book is about, among other things, the first stock market crash, back in 1719. The narrator, Benjamin Weaver, is my brand-new fictional crush, and I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out who's worthy enough to play him in the movie version]

48. Comfort Woman -Nora Okja Keller [An upcoming Bookleaves read about a shameful chapter in Japanese and Korean history]

49. The Prizewinner Of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan [I bought this book and immediately devoured it. Loved it. Left it behind in MO for my mother to read, but she probably won't]

Although I looked carefully, I couldn't find We Are All Fine Here by Mary Guterson. Did I make a mistake looking for it in just the regular fiction?

The book I circled most often but didn't buy: Lover Of Unreason. It's the biography of Assia Wevill, the woman who helped to break up Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes' marriage. I want to read it, but not for $27.00.

A bookstore I visited often, but never bought anything: Sedalia Book & Toy in Sedalia, Missouri. I really hate how the fiction section has been cut back.

Next purchase: A new bookshelf. No joke.


lazy cow said...

Amazing list. That's a year's worth of reading right there!
You are all fine here is just a novel, so maybe try The Book Depository?
I HATED The Mermaid's chair, which I read before Bees (which I enjoyed very much).
My sister is reading Skinny Bitch at the moment and has just become a vegetarian because of it.
The Girls' Guide... and Encyclopediea... are both so much fun, and Atonement is a good place to start, but I prefer Enduring Love by McEwan.

Suey said...

All I can say is... Wow!

Tara said...

Wow - a very good bibliomaniac for sure. What amazing stacks of books you've aquired. Lazy Cow is right - that is (practically!) a years worth of reading. Congrats on your great finds, and welcome back.

tanabata said...

WOW! I was going to ask how on earth you got them all back with you, but I see you sent them on ahead. Good plan!
I have a few of them in my stacks but lots I hadn't heard of. Dexter, the show, started here recently and I was wondering about the books. Maybe I'll give the first one a try.
Enjoy all your new treasures!

Lisa said...

What they said! WOW. I am impressed, you have some great books on that list.

Eva said...

I'm stunned-that's is an incredible list. 've read the Soccer Explains the World book, and it was definitely interesting. :)

Coveting the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy-I've been wanting to read that for awhile. :) I've heard that Skinny Bitch is a lot of being a vegan, but I just can't handle that much swearing.

Looks like you have some great reading ahead of you. :)

Anonymous said...

You have made me wonder if doing a major bookshop once a year means you but less in a year than if you buy two or three every time you see a bookshop. Or do you do that as well?

Re 'How Soccer Explains the World' I believe is indeed aimed at Americans. Franklin Foer did 'How Football Explains the World' for the rest of us :-)

kookie said...

Whoa girl! That is a truly impressive list. I just finished "We Need to Talk About Kevin", and lots of others on your list are numbered among my favorites. Free books from your friend? Hooray for you! I'm jealous.

Sam said...

Wow, that is one heck of a book buying trip. Way to go.

Thank goodness that you were able to ship all those ahead of you because I can't imagine trying to lug them around in a suitcase...must have cost you a small fortune in shipping fees, but well worth it, I'll bet.

Anonymous said...
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Bybee said...

Lazy Cow,
I don't remember seeing Enduring Love anywhere.

Yeah...I don't know whether to be proud or appalled at myself.

Thanks. As much as I enjoyed the bookhunting, I missed blogging.

I haven't yet seen an episode of Dexter. I want to.

When I was disclosing everything to you all, I admit that I felt pleased with what I'd brought back.

I'm glad I got the soccer book, then.

Oh, I'm pretty bad/mad with the bookbuying most of the year. It's just that during vacation, I'm worse.

She was so stubborn, my friend with the garage sale. She wouldn't take any money. I tried.

I'm ashamed to tell about my shipping fees...I got to the post office that day and found out that surface mail had been discontinued on May 1. So I had to ship them air mail. Yikes.

John Mutford said...

Holy Moly that's a lot of books- funny that you also bought a book which will explain to you why you did!

Now I remember seeing McEwan in your confession post.

I just read a short story by Satre actually. I'll be looking forward to hearing more about his biography.

Lisa Jean said...

No question, good girl! I loved You Remind Me of Me. What fun you are going to have for the next few months.

Beryl Singleton Bissell said...

Yes. Add The Autobiography of a Face to your list and read it before you read Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett. I've gotten to know Ann personally since she blurbed my book, The Scent of God, and phoned to tell me how much she loved it and to make a few editorial suggestions. Ann recommended that I read Autobiography before reading Truth and Beauty and it was a great tip.

Bybee -- do you really get to read all those books or do they pile up next to your bed waking you from sleep, inserting themselves into meals, demanding that you live 100 or more years?

darkorpheus said...

What a haul! But you bought Skinny Bitch? LOL!

Oh, welcome back! And good luck bookshelf hunting.

joemmama said...

Good Job and welcome back!!!! I have also read some of those..loved some hated some. You are gonna have some fun girl!!

Bybee said...

"Holy Moly" -- that's funny. At least you didn't say "Wow"

Lisa Jean,
Thanks for the input about You Remind Me Of Me. I really haven't heard or read anything about it.

I find myself wanting your book as well -- I really like that title! How nice that Ann Patchett is so supportive of other writers. I'll take youralls advice about Autobiography Of A Face.

Such heavy book-buying *does* seem to indicate a more-than-healthy optimism about my lifespan, doesn't it?

Dark Orpheus,
I've been catching up on my blog reading, and yours is getting even more mesmerizing...what's your secret?

Re: Skinny Bitch -- how could I resist a book with a title like that? Especially since I'm neither. I thought it would be a lot more shallow than it actually is. My only complaint is that they seem overly fond of naming brand names.

Now I'm curious to know which ones you loved and which you hated!

Bookfool said...

Wowee, you really did kind of go hog wild. But, honestly, I probably buy a whole lot more than that, thanks to our perpetual library sale.

So, you got The Mermaid's chair, too! Cool! Everyone seems to hate it. But, I see that LC hated it and loved The Girl's Guide, which I thought was total crap. Sorry, LC. The Screwtape Letters is an all-time favorite. And, I have a couple of your titles on my TBRs. :)

Dewey said...

I wrote about Fun Home, and I haven't seen anyone else do so, so I bet it was me! I hope you love it.

Son of the Circus is the book I consider Irving's weirdest. And you know that's saying something!

Do you have a hard time finding English-language books there? If so, have you tried bookmooch?

Bybee said...

Hog Wild is so appropriate. When I wasn't hunting for books, I was eating all kinds of American food, and as a result, I'm nearly back up to slaughtering weight!

Fun Home... That was you! I should've known. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

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