Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Hauls: The Traveling Writer's Souvenirs

Lately I've heard about so-called "haul" videos, in which young women show off the clothing, shoes, and accessories scored on a shopping trip. I wondered what this might light like for those of us whose idea of a fab shopping expedition involved book stores. Talk about judging a book by its cover!

I spent yesterday in a typical college town, and while my son was busy elsewhere, I hunted down the requisite off-campus independent used bookstore. The guidebook said it was "Pennsylvania's largest" which left me salivating – until I arrived to find the air conditioning had broken down the night before. It was 95 and beastly humid. I lasted 15 minutes only because there was a big fan next to the Memoir and the Writing sections.

Instead of a video, I'll just list the title, author, a quickie synopsis, and then open to a random page and quote a few lines. Here are the memoirs. I'll be back tomorrow or the next day with the writing books.

The Exact Same Moon: Fifty Acres and a Family, by Jeanne Marie Laskas (Bantam/Dell 2003). Motherhood, adoption, family, farming. "I sit here staring at her picture, my feet digging into a snoring beagle, and I start calculating. I think about digging to China. I think about getting Billy in here with a backhoe I think of packing myself in a big wooden box and mailing myself to China. I think of the satellite dish on my roof, beaming TV in from outer space. Couldn't I rig it to somehow beam me up and then down to China? I think of Bewitched and Samantha and I Dream of Jeanie and My Favorite Martian and so many of the friends I grew up with who could just click and go. I think of the moon. I wonder if anyone has even shown her the moon. I think of writing her a letter immediately and telling her about the moon."

No More Words: A Journal of my Mother Anne Morrow Lindbergh, by Reeve Lindbergh (Touchstone/S&S 2001). Dementia, silence, mothers, daughters, notoriety, acceptance and loss. "I think she accepts what is offered out of ingrained politeness, but would be perfectly content to sit and stare and do nothing else. The rest of us are not content with this, however. It makes us uncomfortable. We want her to be doing something, thinking something, reading something, participating in some way that we can understand."

The Road Home, by Eliza Thomas (Dell 1997). Solitude, making a home, rural life, unexpected family. "This time, at least I stopped my car. He looked like the same dog, and though he was a bit shy, I coaxed him into my car easily enough. He was skinny and caked with weeks of muck, had on an old green collar but no tags, and was evidently lost. As I'd thought, people at work took it well in stride when I showed up with him; they had dealt with far worse emergencies than my dirty and excitable beagle puppy. I kept him under my desk, where he barked all day, and then took him home"

Have you had a good book haul lately?


Uli said...

Ah bookstores . . . Used bookstores? Even better -- reasonable prices, plus what you’re getting is more valuable because of the history of it. And I’m not talking first editions here -– any pre-owned book gives rise to potentially interesting speculation about its previous owner, especially if there’s a name or an address on the cover. If you’re lucky, there's an inscription. And you’ve really hit the jackpot if you've found note- or laundry-list- or grocery-receipt-turned-bookmark left inside. . . . I just wish I could read fast enough to catch up with all of the unread books I own and still want to buy. (I actually bought an Evelyn Wood Speed-Reading book once but never finished it!)

Enjoy the long weekend -- sounds like you'll be putting it to great use!

CherylT said...

Oh, but a video would have been much more comical, I'm sure.

Julie Jeffs said...

I have to keep myself away from used bookstores because I end up with far more than I could ever get to. Although after the Nashville flood I now have to replace several so I have a new excuse. My daughter found that the Books-a-Million has a table full of books from libraries (libraries from all over the country) and all the books are $3.00. She got hardbound copies of several that only recently came off the NYT Bestseller list including The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. What a great way for libraries to recycle their books and what a deal for booklovers.