What a great week this has been for books, here in my little personal corner of the world. I refer not so much in terms of books completed (just one - the audiobook of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which I really enjoyed) but in terms of books acquired.
Aside from my occasional Kindle e-book purchase, typically $2.99 or less, book buying has become a bit of a luxury around here - and some days, even that $2.99 splurge feels like I'm buying a yacht. Still, that didn't stop me from wandering into Paper Kite Press and Books of Kingston, PA this week while I was in the Scranton area for work. (C'mon ... the store's motto is "Unusual Books for Unusual People and Other Literary Oddments, Amusements, and Geegaws." YOU try resisting that.)
I spent I-don't-even-know-how-long chatting with owner Dan Waber (that's him there, partially hidden behind the counter, hard at work). We talked about books, Paper Kite's publishing ventures, the store's history and "pay what it is worth to you" philosophy, blogging, 'zines, his writing, his wife's writing (she would be one Jennifer Hill-Kaucher), the arts ... and probably a bunch of other stuff. I perused 'zines and literary journals and chapbooks, relived yesterday once more with countless of my childhood favorites all together on one tall bookshelf, read some of the best poetry ever, photographed the ephemera of the shop, and (you know resistance is futile when one's mental immune system is down) treated myself to several books.
Mother Love, by Elizabeth Cohen
Questioning Walls Open, by Jennifer Hill-Kaucher
Book of Days, by Jennifer Hill-Kaucher
Echolalia, by Dan Waber
September 11, 2011 - American Writers Respond, edited by William Heyen
Writers and Company: In Conversation with Eleanor Wachtel
My Own Two Feet: A Memoir, by Beverly Cleary (I didn't realize this was the second volume of Beverly Cleary's memoirs, so now I'm going to have to be on the hunt for the first one.)
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt
The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets, by Ted Kooser
Writing From Life: A Guide for Writing True Stories, by Heather Robertson
I'll have a much-longer and more detailed post up this week about the awesomeness that is Paper Kite Books and Press (and Dawn from She Is So Fond of Books has so kindly agreed to feature said post in Wednesday's Spotlight on Bookstores), but suffice it to say that my visit to Paper Kite made my spirits soar ... even before I spotted the Free Encouragement quote boxes sprinkled throughout.
As if that wasn't enough to fill one's soul, yesterday was our library's semi-annual book sale. Autism-speaking, it was a rough beginning to the day ... so Betty and I went to the library so she could study for a math test and to escape what was three continuous hours of Boo's monologue. (He was reciting entire back-to-back episodes of The Muppet Show verbatim, shows that first premiered in the 70s, nearly three decades before he was born. And while this sounds utterly charming, I assure you that three hours of this most definitely is NOT.
So we retail-therapied ourselves with these treasures from the library sale (Betty bought five books, not pictured).
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, by Anne Lamott
The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Lerner
Dance Me Outside, by W.P. Kinsella
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: November 10, 1975, by Frederick Stonehouse
Encounters with Chinese Writers, by Annie Dillard
A Mind at a Time" America's Top Learning Expert Shows How Every Child Can Succeed, by Mel Levine
Driven to Distraction, by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey
Traveling with Pomegrantes: A Mother-Daughter Story, by Sue Monk Kidd and Anne Kidd Taylor
On Writing, by Stephen King
The Doctor's House, Ann Beattie
If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino
The Passage, by Justin Cronin (This is one that I am very iffy about ... but I caved because the price was certainly more than right and because Justin was, at one time, a writing teacher of mine.)
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard
A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick (I think I own this, but it is buried in storage, so I am not sure.)
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (I realized afterwards that I have this on my Kindle.)
A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen
Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance, by Lloyd Jones
The Virgin and the Gipsy, by D.H. Lawrence
Skeleton Hill, by Peter Lovesey
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers
Ransom, by Jay McInerney (I think this might be the only McInerney that I haven't read. Love, love, love him!)
Starting Out in the Evening, by Brian Morton
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
Accordian Crimes, by E. Annie Proulx
The Edge of Impropriety, by Pam Rosenthal
Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger
Luncheon of the Boating Party, by Susan Vreeland
Madame de Treymes and Three Novellas, by Edith Wharton
Summer, by Edith Wharton
As for this upcoming week, I'm planning on listening to The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson and there will likely be time for a second audiobook, too. I have several out from the library now (The Time Travellers Wife, Three Junes, The Maytrees, and Anne Frank Remembered). In print, I am thisclose to finally finishing up Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables (this is going on two weeks now ... ridiculous) and have two books due back to the library on Friday, without any more renewals. (Those would be the short story collection, All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones and Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want, and Buy by Juliann Sivulka.)
Speaking of the library, we're heading there now for our second visit of the weekend. Betty wants a quieter environment for studying for her math test, but if I know my girl, she won't be able to resist taking another look at the book sale .....
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