Books 6/24/05

Every couple of weeks, my sister brings her kids over to my house and one of the possible treats of going to “auntie’s house” is going to the library. My nephews are 2 and a bit, and for them the library is a magical place full of any kind of book they could ever want. As we walk up to the entrance they tell me what kind of book they’re going to get, “zebra book” and “giraffe book” being the most common. Once we get inside, auntie and mommy are at their beck and call to find books with whatever animal comes to mind on the cover. They each get to take one home, and last time we went one of them picked Hola Jalapeno (about Mexican food), and the other one chose a book about Jewish food. They called them “dinner books”. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

I mention this because I went to the library by myself yesterday, and had the same kind of experience that I assume they have. I walked leisurely down the aisles and found books by my favorite authors as if by magic, books that have never been at other libraries I’ve frequented. “Some Colette I haven’t read would be nice,” I thought, and lo and behold, there’s Retreat From Love. How about some Nancy Mitford? Pigeon Pie and Don’t Tell Alfred good enough for you? Yes, thanks! The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark which I’ve been meaning to read forever? There it is! Every title in the Daisy Dalrymple series? Well, I don’t know if all of them were there, but a bunch that I hadn’t read were. It was a beautiful day.

On the bus home I read the book that I’d actually gone to the library to pick up- I had it on reserve- Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeny’s Humor Category. It is as the titles describes, a collection of the best humor pieces from the McSweeney’s literary journal. I finished it last night. It was a quick read, with each piece ranging from super short to a couple of pages long. A decent percentage of the book is made up of silly lists, my favorites being Possible Follow-up songs for One hit Wonders (including “Bust an additional move” and “Seriously, Eileen, Come On”), First Lines to books I won’t write and Names of squash that also make good terms of endearment.

The best pieces were laugh out loud funny, while some didn’t work for me, but I guess that’s the nature of a compilation. Fire: The Next Sharp Stick? by John Hodgman brings corporate-speak to early man as fire is introduced to the world. I Know What You Did Two Moons Ago (The Revenge) by Brian Kennedy takes the teen horror movie and makes all the characters Native Americans, who ultimately discover they’re being tormented because they built their burial ground on top of … an ancient Native American burial ground. Unused Audio Comentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002 for The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Editon) Part One by Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell is bitingly funny as Zinn and Chomsky present their suprising political and sociological reading of the film. Overall it was a very entertaining read.

I have so much great stuff to read, I don’t know where to begin. But I HAVE to finish The Zahir first, because I said I would.

Current total: 44
Just Finished: Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category edited by Dave Eggers and more
Currently Reading: The Zahir by Paulo Coelho

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