Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Loot

I finally went to the library yesterday. This was the one thing that I told myself that I would start doing while I was unemployed to save money but it proved to be a lot harder to wean myself off of the bookstore.

And to be honest while I was at the library, I thought to myself a few times things like Oh man some of these books I really wish I could buy or The selection is better at the bookstore.

The second thought isn't so much true as that the selection at the bookstore is different. I mean the library as layers of books collected on its shelves, some more recent than others, some more widely-read than others but the selection is varied. I think maybe I'm just so used to the way that bookstores are laid out (brightly lit, buzzing with the sound of hushed conversation, books the publishers choose facing cover out, titles highlighted as must read, best sellers etc) that my immediate reaction in the library was to go to the bookstore.

But it was shortlived and before I knew it I was coming across too many books to take home. I had to be kind of selective. I'm going to try to read 75 books by the end of the year. I'm currently at 58. But we only have what? Seven weeks left of the year? I can't be squandering the time trying to finish the Hitler biography (as badly as I want to finish that sucker).

Here's what I came away with:

Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley. The story of how the author, his parents' only child, lost both his parents within a year. His parents were kind of a big deal and he had a good relationship with them and the last year was a tough one. But Christopher Buckley manages to write about them with humour, remembering their time together fondly. This is the book that I read yesterday. I laughed throughout the book- his parents were...well they were awesome. Of course by the end of it I was also in tears. But thats just the way it works with fantastic books.

Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn. I love movie star biographies and I'm not sure that it gets better than when they write their own. I've read about Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn etc but I have always shied away from Katharine Hepburn biographies. Now I know why. I was waiting to find the one that she wrote herself. Katharine Hepburn telling you how it really was? Please. You can't resist that either.

The Quest for Anastasia: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Romanovs by John Klier. I think I was about 10 when I first heard about the assassination of the Tsar and his family and have been fascinated by them ever since. But usually I come across the story as a footnote to bigger things happening around them. The closest I came to reading the whole story was in Five Granddaughters about the 5 granddaughters of Queen Victoria who each became a Queen. Tsarina Alexandra was one of them. But here again, the actual assassination was mentioned in passing, how it affected the other cousins. I figure this book will be an excellent way to find out what really happened.

Spellbound by Jane Green. Oh come on, at least one of the books had to be an easy read. I'm expanding my mind with my other choices, with this last one, I needed something light, something to pad the reading numbers. I always come across Jane Green's books in the bookstore and I have just never taken the plunge, even though I suspect I will really enjoy them. If I'm right, the library has a bunch of her other titles for me to motor through. Oh right, the plot. Married woman, unhappy with her fabulous life, moves to The States into the house of a famous romance novelist, things get better or do they? Like I said, something to pad the stats. But I'm not-so-secretly looking forward to it!

What are you reading?


  1. I totally mean about the library being different from the bookstore. I went today for the first time in quite a while, & I noticed that there are so many of those books by authors that write like a thousand in ten years - Sue Grafton, for example. But it's definitely a treasure trove. I had a nice time wandering around and looking at all the options (even those that I didn't consider a real option for me).

    I'm currently reading Catch-22, which I've been picking up on & off for the past month & a half. At the library, I checked out An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke. I also grabbed two audiobook: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan & Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence (recommended to me by a friendly older man).

    You're all about the non-fiction this week, aren't you? They all sound very interesting, especially The Quest for Anastasia! P.S. I'm super jealous that you can read a book in a day!

  2. TOTALLY all about the non fiction this week. Actually I'd say thats been the case for the past year maybe? It all started innocently enough with some Malcolm Gladwell and some Freakonomics. I've always had a thing for history though.
    As for reading the book in a day- it was only like 250 pages and I don't work!