Monday, May 05, 2008

6 Random Things

I was tagged for this meme by Amber and Matt over at Our Little Brown Blog and, before that, by Aaron at That's The Book. As always, I'm trying to keep it bookish since this is a book blog, and I'm so fond of you all that I feel compelled to spare you my other personal characteristics.

1. During most of the 1990's, I wrote a bi-monthly fanzine called In Today's Room. Books were discussed, but I also wrote about subjects as various as country music, religion, my ongoing succession of shit jobs, my kidney stone experience, Rootie Kazootie, and a transcript of an interview I taped with 2 friends who drove down to Texas and got tattoos. In 1997, I briefly sold the zine for $1.00 and got a friendly review in Factsheet Five, which boosted sales for a while. Then along came blogs. I love doing Naked Without Books! but part of me misses the physical act of putting together a zine.

2. When I was in middle school, I read a YA novel called Cowslip, about a young girl growing up in slavery a few years before the Civil War. Cowslip decides to put a curse on her owner by writing his name on a slip of paper and stuffing it into a dead bird's mouth. (In the main plot, a slave who was once a free man is secretly educating Cowslip.) As the bird rots away, so goes the superstition, so will the named person's fortunes and possibly his or her life.

A few weeks after reading Cowslip, I found a dead bird in the side yard and decided to try this with someone who had been annoying me. I checked on the bird for 2 days after that, then it disappeared. I carefully watched the person I'd cursed for weeks, but this person stayed 100% healthy. Whew. Upon reflection, I had decided that I didn't want to style myself as a murderess after all.

3. I loved Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason so much that I insisted for a time that *everyone* read it. When Whit, a guy in my 1980s book group came back and contemptuously pronounced it "boring, ordinary crap", all I could do was look at him and say "but...but..." until my voice broke and I began crying so hard that I broke out in a drenching sweat. Whit dropped out of the group a few months later because we wouldn't select The Sunlight Dialogues by John Gardner. To this day, I have an aversion that borders on nausea to The Sunlight Dialogues because of Whit, although I have nothing against John Gardner and have actually enjoyed other books written by him.

4. I got a new bookshelf last month. It's a five-footer. Here's how it's arranged (the picture shows a little different order; I was still working it all out) :

Top shelf: Nonfiction, no particular order.

2nd shelf: Pulitzer prizewinners

3rd shelf: Fiction arranged alpahbetically by country of author's birth. Books by US authors are arranged chronologically.

4th shelf: Books relating to Korea and graphic novels

5th shelf: The Mr. Bybee collection

5. I accidentally sold my son's copy of Election by Tom Perrotta on eBay back in 2003. I thought it was one of my novels. He's still indignant.

6. In late high school and early college I used to underline in my books in purple ink because I read in a biography that Sylvia Plath had done so. When I began dating my first husband, he actually looked in my books and sincerely wanted to know why I had found such-and-such line so interesting. He thought I had deep thoughts. The deception, though unintentional, was too much of a strain. I stopped underlining.

Now it's time to tag, but since I've dragged my feet on getting this post done, I'm not really sure who has participated. If you like this topic, please -- meme on!


Eva said...

These were great! And congrats on that new all we need is a picture. :D

Literary Feline said...

I loved your answers, especially about trying to curse someone. I am not a superstitious person, but I think I'd be too chicken to give that a try--just in case. LOL

darkorpheus said...

omg. you sold your son's book?

Anonymous said...

That's hilarious that you tried to curse someone. That sounds like something my friends and I would have done in high school. Maybe it's something we can try when I get home! lol

Bybee said...

OK, I went back and stuck the pic in.

Lit Feline,
Yeah, I had second thoughts after I did it.

Dark Orpheus,
It was an accident, honest!

You should've looked for a dead magpie here. Big birds, big mouths, room for several names! I must ask you more about your highschool friends!

Anonymous said...

Wow. That bookshelf is very organized. Much better than ours. I have to organize it every week or so...also thanks for the bookstore in South Korea. I have a friend who is living over there and can't find too many English books, so I sent him a link. Hope it will help him.

Susan said...

You tried to curse someone! cool! ok, not cool, but it took guts and then remorse when the bird actually disappeared....creepy! I love this bit! and then the guy who reduced you to tears - not funny, but that you hate the book associated with him! Isn't it funny how the mind works? and your bookshelves - envy because a) you have a new one! and b) they're organized and not in piles people knock over. Lovely meme!! Thanks for sharing it!!