Friday, February 26, 2010

"Heck no, techno!"

So last week there was a library book sale.

Yeah. This is a haul post.

Of course, the purchase I am most thrilled by is the two old VHS tapes of Mary-Kate and Ashley movies my sisters procured. But the books I got are cool, too.

• Flannery O'Connor: Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, Everything That Rises Must Converge
I doubt I've mentioned this in any great length, but Flannery O'Connor is one of my favorite American authors. Her stories are written so cleverly, with cutting philosophical and spiritual implications. She singlehandedly characterized southern gothic writing. Novels are cool, but my true love is short stories, and she was a master. It's not only her writing that awes me, but like Robert Frost, she was also a neat person with a remarkable life.

A Clergyman's Daughter, George Orwell
This was mentioned towards the beginning in Reading Like a Writer. I figured I should read it. It looks very dull. Actually, I lied, I just read the back cover and it sounds, in typical George Orwell fashion, appalling. But if it is, indeed, about dissociative identity disorder, it's going to be fascinating. Or at least, tolerable.

• "A Man For All Seasons" by Robert Bolt
It's a play about Sir Thomas More. That's all I know about it. I'm hoping it will increase my cultural literacy.

• Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
This is the sort of book one would never find at my library's book sale, which usually sports mostly Danielle Steele novels and cookbooks. So I spazzed when I saw it. I'm gratified, because this copy is a Dover Thrift Edition, which I like because they typeface is easy to read. The introduction is even a tolerable length! I am reasonably excited to read this, and optimistic of finishing it.

• The Aeneid, Virgil
This is the hipster sort of thing I buy to stick on my shelf to trick myself into thinking I'm intelligent. Unlike Nicomachean Ethics, I am less optimistic that I will ever finish this. It's filled with notes in lovely neat handwriting, the margins are nice and big, and the typeface is tolerable. But, it's rather thick. And because I'm already familiar with the storyline I'm skeptical it will hold my attention. We'll see.

The Giver, Lois Lowry
Our family has checked out this very copy numerous times, in fact, I think there's a stain I left on one of the pages. Our library usually only sells donated books in the book sales, but this poor copy of The Giver has its cover falling off, and I grabbed it for nostalgia's sake. And because it's a heroic book. I love this book. Every child ought to read it.

• Chekhov: The Major Plays
I feel the need to point out that this is the third Chekhov compilation book I've purchased, and I still have yet to read anything by Chekhov. Failure? Yeah. On the other hand, I'm convinced he's a genius having never read a word he penned. That either says something about me, or about him.

The Search for Delicious, Natalie Babbitt
I don't know how this book caught my eye, but let reveal to you what the back cover says. "What is the definition of Delicious? The King's all for apples, the Queen favors Christmas pudding, and soon the entry in Prime Minister DeCree's dictionary is a bone of contention throughout the court. Alarmed, the King dispatches young Gaylen, DeCree's foster son and Special Assistant, to take a poll of the whole kingdom. In short order, the country is on the brink of civil war." You see now, why I bought it. It looks adorable.

• George Herbert and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Poets
This appears to be a very interesting anthology. I've been slowly collecting these, poetry anthologies. It's easier to contrast across a genre, and the annotations are usually helpful, though distracting. I don't recognize the other four poets, which I think is a good thing -- broadening my horizons!

Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
I've never read this, and actually, I've disliked every Mitch Albom book I've ever read, but it's such a cultural fixture, I figure I need to read it to be able to converse intelligently with strangers. And I'm wondering what he means on the cover, what he thinks "life's greatest lesson" is. Plus, the copy matches the copy of The Five People You Meet in Heaven I bought the year earlier. I like having things in sets.

• "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams
I read this play in my 20th century literature class a few years back. I didn't like it. It was very sad, and very true. I've been referencing it a lot in preparation for my AP English Lit class, and I thought it would be good to have on hand.

Ellen Foster, Kaye Gibbons
I went through this phase last year where I read a lot of books about abused children [it's sobering just how many those sort of books there are] and this was one of the first I read. It was a terrible story, but worth it. It seems strange to say, but the stream of consciousness sort of way it's written is truly charming. Also, the copy I bought looks brand new. There's a bookmark stuck in page one, and the binding isn't even cracked. It's a shame that this copy never got read, because it's an important story.

The Memory-Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards
This is the first one I started reading, probably because it has the least literary merit of all these books, but also, I thought it would be fitting to read a story about Down's Syndrome in conjunction with working on my duo. It's very pretty, in language. But it's a slow read. The story feels so distant, it's about things I can't understand -- a mother's grief over the loss of her child, a doctor's confusion over lying to his wife, a nurse's helplessness over her task.

The beauty of all of this is that I paid three dollars for all these books. Barnes & Nobel's feels like a rip off in comparison. [Don't you like used books so much better than new books? I'm always so afraid of wrecking new books -- it's easier to be comfortable when the books are already gently worn.] So what I ask of you, if you are so inclined, to tell me which book I should start with?


K-Mac said...

you know what i was doing with the book titles the entire time i read this post.

K-Mac said...

you should therefore obviously start with "Everything That Rises Must Converge"