Thursday, January 31, 2008

This May Be Getting Out of Hand

More Books to Burn a Hole in my Wallet

Just slalomed home from another trek to the bookstore.

Went out specifically to buy books for my classes; came back with a bag a bit heavier than planned.

Ah, hell. I don't feel guilty, precisely. Just aware that I'm fairly stocked up for now. At least on new books. They'll eat the lining right out of the old wallet if you're not watching. And by you, I mean me. My sin, however venial.

Anyway, here's today's haul:

Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982

Both picked up for classes. The Lawrence for Advanced Fiction; Oates's journal for Dreams & Fiction Writing. Haven't read much Lawrence, so I'm into that, especially since it comes in place of reading Lolita for the fifth time. (Nothing against Vladdy the Great; you can't beat the "killer prose style" of maybe my favorite book; but stack of haven't-reads is growing tipsy on the shelves here, might as well dive in.) You can't swing a cat in a bookstore without hitting Oates. (I know, Katie: but why would you swing a cat?) And her journal is a great example of how that form feeds process. Hell, is process.

The Best American Short Stories 2007

Tales from Margaritaville, by Jimmy Buffett

What can I say? Borders, you have foiled me again with your Buy 1, Get 1 Half Price table. I probably own too many Best American collections for my own good, but they're always a great read. Katrina Kennison, when she was series editor, probably populated a quarter of my bookshelves with her picks for the annual: Rick Bass, Robert Olen Butler, Sherman Alexie, Corey Doctorow, Alice Munro, Philip Roth are among those I read first in these pages. And I slowed down long enough at the bargain dumps to see Stephen King guest-edited this year's edition -- pretty interesting -- and that after 16 years, Kennison had moved on in favor of Heidi Pitlor. All right. The Buffett book was suggested by my Parrot Head bro, Jake. And it was half price. So I took the bait. Short stories by the Bard of Key West? Well, it ought to be a good antidote, to say the least, for Munro and Oates.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Martian Chronicles

Dandelion Wine

All by Ray Bradbury, natch. I'd only intended to come home with Martian Chronicles, but... . These are the books I read and reread as a kid, checked out over and over from the library. It's a shame Borders didn't stock better, hardback editions, because for keepsakes like these, I would have bought them. But I've always been more about substance than style when it comes to stocking my shelves (hence the trail of broken spines marking my favorites), and I'm looking forward much more to owning these editions and having them at my fingertips whenever I want than helping the Borders cashier make like a Vegas day-tripper dinging the bell in slot row. When you can come home with three Bradbury classics for around twenty bucks, there's no reason to moan.

Not a bad day's haul, all in all.

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