Monday, August 25, 2008

I accidentally spent $113.00 at Barnes and Noble today-- knowing I had a $60 Amazon order on the way...

A well-read coworker, C. of mine had a grand idea: A company book club. In fact, I joked to another coworker a few weeks ago when we said we were going to start reading on or near the hammock in our courtyard that we should have a club. But that was just a joke in passing. Proving great minds really do think alike, a new book club has newly formed and our first book was just selected: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It's been on the best seller list for about 80 weeks now- and is the inspirational story of a man who built schools in Pakistan.... and way too much more to write here...

So, I went to Barnes and Noble in Wilkes-Barre to pick up the book. It was right there at the front of the store in the New in Paperback/Bestsellers area. I could have picked up the two copies I went in to buy, walked to the register and have been home and reading. But no. I did the deadliest thing you could do in a Barnes and Noble. Yep. I browsed. I ended up saying to the clerk, " I think today is the day I should sign up for the Barnes & Noble membership." I saved 10%! Woo hoo and thank goodness.

I decided to see what was out there... so I checked out the books they keep on the tables. The cover of The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: a novel of war and survival by Louise Murphy caught my eye. I was always a fan of a modern spin on an old story. This story is about a brother and sister in Nazi Poland whose dad and step-mom leave them to find safety in a forest-- they are renamed Hansel and Gretel to hide their Jewish roots. They are taken in by an older woman, Magda who tires to save them, despite a German officer who is looking for the kids-- and has plans for them. Wow. It sounded riveting. I picked it up and added it to my armload shopping cart.

On the same table, Erica's Nightstand, I saw My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands by Chelsea Handler. I read an interview with Chelsea Handler in the Weekender by my pal Nikki Mascali (an incredible article) and had wanted to pick up Chelsea's book since. I am working on my coming-of-age memoir, but have some tales I want to tell about my adulthood adventures, so this book by this new comedic genius has long been a book I've been meaning to get- for both research and enjoyment. I love her humor and her openess. I figure this could be like a female Augusten Burroughs type humor.

After I picked of My Horizontal Life, it dawned on me that I really should be reading more memoirs, so I went to the Biography section. A whole crapload of titles jumped out at me. I picked up a few, read the descriptions, held them for a while and then finallly settled on one. Since I am working on a childhood memoir and am struggling a bit with some scenes and building some family members as characters, I thought this one would be interesting: Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History by Helen Stapinski. The book is billed as humorous, which I like in a memoir. It's a "story of an unforgettable New Jersey family of swindlers, bookies, embezzlers and mobster wannabes."

I thought I was done. I thought that was it. But even after getting four new books, as I walked to the front, another title jumped out at me: Reading the OED: One Man, One Year 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea. It's a book about a man who read the Oxford English Dictionary, something I've always wanted to do since I began playing Scrabble as a small child, something I believe my mother does every night. The book is 26 chapters long- you guessed it- one chapter for each letter. It's full of little tidbits about what he discovered while reading the God of All Resource Books. I figure since I love words and vocabulary, this would be a quick, fun read- much quicker and 'funner' than reading the dictionary myself. I like quirky and absurd stuff, so it's really right up my alley.

But guess what? Before this trip to Barnes and Noble, last week I ordered four books from they shipped today, as per an email I received on my phone a few hours ago. So, I now have 9 brand new books. I should read Three Cups of Tea first, but what next? What do all you book lovers think?

Oh yeah- here's what I got at Amazon: The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam- I bought this because in my "idea box" at home, most of the paper where the ideas are written are on bar napkins. (Maybe there is even one to write a book and call it The Back of a Napkin!") Amazon didn't know that part, but somehow it was recommended to me and it looked pretty interesting.

A Working Stiff's Manifesto: A Memoir of 30 Jobs I Quit, Nine that Fired Me and Three I Can't Remember by Iain Levinson- I ordered this one because again, Amazon knows I buy A LOT of memoirs so it suggested this-- successfully I may add. This sounded like a funny read.

Indexed by Jessica Hagy- Again, a recommendation from Amazon. I love bloggers and blogging and love how books can come from blogs, like Tucker Max and Diablo Cody. At any rate, the cover of this book attracted me from the get-go. She has a blog at indexed.blogspot.gom where she drawns charts and other things to share her thoughts on life. So this book is her greatest blog posts, as well as new material.

Unrealiable Truth by Maureen Murdock- I am very excited about this one- again, recommended by Amazon since I buy so many memoirs and writing books. It is a craft book (as in writing, not arts & crafts) I wish I found earlier. Many memoirists struggle with their memory -- what we write may be different than what a family member will remember- memory is a fascinating thing and this book is there to help. In Unreliable Truth, Murdock shows us how to deal with this beast called memory.

As I write about these four books that are coming in the mail, I am getting more excited for them. So now I have nine new books, not to mention a slew of other books I have yet to read like Tobias Wolfe's This Boys Life and Bastard Out of Carolina.

What I have learned just by sharing these nine titles is that I have one helluva wide range in book tastes. Funny. Satirical. How-to. Memoir. Wartime thriller. Absurd. Inspirational. Nearly Pictoral. So yeah, I'm different.

1 comment:

Old Bogus said...

My wife said:
Read what YOU wanna read. Or put the names in a hat and draw one.

I say:
You have moral obligation to read the company bookclub selection first. But I'd pick "My Horizontal Life" but that's REALLY just me. ;)