The AAUW holds a Used Book Sale in our town every summer, and every summer I miss it. Until this one.
I refused to go the very first day, when the entry fee was $6.00 just to walk in the door, but I made sure my butt was there yesterday. First thing.
I barely made it out of the collector’s room where I started. There were old, old, old books; the kind that crumble when you open them, and it takes a real expert to know their value. But, there were also these:
The Cabin by Dale Mulfinger and Susan E. Davis: “The cabin presents 37 inspirational cabins from all over the country, showing how people are building, reclaiming, and transforming this unique American dwelling for a chance to enjoy the best that cabin living has to offer. Based on design, shape, age and material, the cabins are divided into four distinct styles: rustic, traditional, modern and transformed. Whatever the style, each is a classic American getaway.” (I’m going to build, and live, in a cabin one day. Just see if I don’t.)
The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg: “Some of Minna Shaw’s neighbors don’t trust her clever broom. “It’s dangerous,” they say. “It’s a wicked, wicked thing.” Minna disagrees. She appreciates the broom’s help around the house. She enjoys its quiet company. It seems perfectly innocent and hard-working to her. But one day two children get a well-deserved thrashing from the broom. For her neighbors, this is proof of the broom’s evil spirit. Minna is obliged to give up her dear companion.” (This, in anticipation of Carl‘s RIP IV Challenge.)
Accordion Crimes by E. Annie Proulx: “Accordion Crimes opens in 1890 in Sicily as an accordion maker completes his finest instrument-nineteen polished bone buttons, sleek lacquer-and dreams of owning a music store in America…Within a year, the accordion maker is murdered by an anti-Italian lynching mob, but his instrument carries Proulx’s story into another community of immigrants the German Americans, founding a town in Iowa…The music of the accordion is their last link with the past-voice for their fantasies, sorrows and exuberance-but it, too, is forced to change.” (It’s a first edition!)
Realm of The Dead by Uchida Hyakken: “Realm of the Dead is set in a dark and mysterious world where logic and reality are subject to constant chance and where ideas about identity and self and continually questioned.” (You guessed it, for the Japanese Literature Challenge 3, and quite possibly one of the prizes.)
Baudolino by Umberto Eco: “It is April 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors and proceeds to tell his own magical story.” (I have to know more about my Italian heritage, even if it’s fiction, and all I’ve read of Eco so far is The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna.)
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: “This wildly inventive comic masterpiece exploded on the literary scene like a time bomb in 1980. The rest is publishing history. Critics and readers adored A Confederacy of Dunces, and the book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize…In the center of it all is one Ignatius J. Reilly, an obese genius from New Orleans, a flatulent frustrated scholar deeply learned in Medieval philosophy and American junk food, a brainy mammoth misfit imprisoned in a trashy world of Greyhound Scenicruisers and Doris Day movies. Minding his own business on Canal Street one day, Reilly gets hauled off by a cop for no worse offense than looking suspicious. The experience is so traumatic that Reilly and his long-suffering mother repair to the Night of Joy bar, drink themselves to the fringes of oblivion, and promptly plow their old Plymouth into a building…” (For the ongoing Pulitzer Prize Challenge, plus, I’m thinking of Chris at Stuff as Dreams Are Made On here with the setting.)
The Day My Mother Left: by James Prosek: “When Jeremy is ten years old his mother walks out o him, his father and his sister and never looks back. Jeremy discovers that his mother took his Book of Birds, a collection of his painstaking drawings of the wildlife surrounding his home, with her when she left. As Jeremy struggles with the anger, hurt, and loss he feels at his mother’s abandonment, he throws himself into re-creating his Book of Birds. While he does so, he discovers more about himself than he ever knew.” (I have a long going interest in parental abandonment, unfortunately from experience, and I’m always hoping to grasp something new about it.)
Being Perfect by Anna Quindlen: “Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion…What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” (Again, I have long term experience with this topic which I still haven’t quite achieved. 😉
My mother, and one of my closest friends, sent me a clipping last summer from the Chicago Tribune. It showed a couple on their patio each engrossed in a book. The author wrote about how this couple read All Summer Long. I hold that image in my mind, not only because it gives me a connection, but also because it gives me an excuse.