Sunday, August 30, 2015

Books Added August 2015

 Every year, I celebrate the high holy days of "The Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale" organized by the Greenville Literacy Association.  It takes place over a three-day weekend inside a former mall, the fruits of a year of book donations and donors sorting and pricing books. I come armed with a wishlist and have a route of trade paperbacks, literature, sociology (this seems to be where the ethnographies and religion books end up), and then I flit through science fiction on my way to the cash register. I don't bother with any other sections because I know where I will find the good stuff. Books range from 2 for $1 to $5, and this is largely determined by publication date (newer is more expensive.) This means an out of print book or a signed hardcover might be only $1, and I did find a few of those!

The list is LONG this month, my apologies. I will try to write a short summary of why I brought home what I did. There are two more books that I added this month, down at the bottom of the page.

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
For the Time Being by Annie Dillard
Skinned Alive: Stories by Edmund White
Veronika Decides to Die: A Novel of Redemption by Paulo Coelho
Life Is So Good by George Dawson
Rhythm of Compassion: Caring for Self, Connecting With Society by Gail Straub
The Keeper of Lost Causes: The First Department Q Novel (A Department Q Novel) by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
American Rust by Philipp Meyer
The Company: A Novel of the CIA by Robert Littell
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists by Terry Gross
Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season by various
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

From my wishlist and snapped up immediately - Isherwood, O'Nan, Lethem, Dillard, Adler-Olsen, Lippmann, Meyer,  Lamott. Technically the Winter book fits too, as there are four Dillard essays in it.  I'll save it for a snow day.  The Adler-Olsen and Lippmann were brand new to the wishlist after talking to Ann VanderMeer for the podcast, and I was happy to find them at this sale.  I had a premonition I would find something by O'Nan, which is why he was on my list.

I was pleased to find the Gross and the Campbell. The Campbell is always expensive at the used book store (I believe they price it high because it is a standard text for college anthropology classes, maybe?) and the Gross fit recent conversations about wanting to learn more about interviewing. The Dundy I have read but it was in great condition and I love those NYRB editions. The White, Dawson, and Straub just sounded interesting, and the Littell fits my 2015 reading goals. Overall a very happy reading day, and all those books came in under $30!

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng
Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

Two more books came home this month. I arranged for a tour for the librarians in my group of the new M. Judson Books on Main Street in downtown Greenville before they had had their grand opening. This beautiful bookstore has a narrow focus - cookbooks and food writing, childrens-YA, southern writers, and travel writing. And then a sprinkling of indie fiction titles like the Tseng. It checks off so many boxes, I had to buy it - cold weather islands, librarian main character, and an indie press. Not to mention that I'd never heard of it (for a serendipitous book moment, this makes finding a book so resonant even better.) The VanderMeer came in the mail from Ann VanderMeer after our podcast episode. That was so nice! I will be adding it to my VanderMeer shelf (I really do have one.)

Which books have followed you home this month? Anything you're excited to read? I haven't included review copies today but maybe I'll post about those in the near future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reading Envy 037: Breakdancing to Bach

On a repeat trip to Berlin, I sat down in the Reading Envy pub with Juliane Kunzendorf to talk about what she has been reading. We found a shared childhood television program and common musical ground, and were always able to finish our sentences.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 037: Breakdancing to Bach

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner

Or subscribe via iTunes by clicking: Subscribe

Books discussed:

Improvisation: Its Nature And Practice In Music by Derek Bailey
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde
Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1) by Louise Penny

Other links:
Luke Burrage at SFBRP Podcast
Georg Friedrich Händel
A Guide to Arvo Pärt's Music from The Guardian
Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters
Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell
The Swarm by Frank Schätzing
Flying Steps - Flying Bach (video)
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
South Dakota Historical Society Pioneer Girl Project
Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton
Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton
Stargate (tv series)
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
Dr. Siri Paiboun mysteries by Colin Cotterill

Stalk us online:
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter

Juliane's Website
Juliane at Goodreads

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Library Books August 2015

Five Good Minutes in the Evening: 100 Mindful Practices to Help You Unwind from the Day and Make the Most of Your Night by Jeffrey Brantley
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
The Garden Angel by Mindy Friddle
Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine: Poems by Jesse Graves
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda
Indonesian Cooking: Satays, Sambals and More by Dina Yuen
A Field of Greens: African Gourmet Slow Cooker Soups and Stews by Ivy Newton
The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld
The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Baranbaum
Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease by Rozanne Gold

This looks like a giant list but I have reasons for all of these! Actually one day I was looking at my bookshelves in Goodreads, namely my to-read shelf, and noticed I had quite a few cookbooks on there.  I decided to go ahead and get a handful from the library so I could take a look and get them off my to-read list. I have made one noodle dish from the Indonesian cookbook and one dinner from the Gold, but haven't even peeked inside the others yet.

Only one of these books is for a book club, although two started out that way. The Graves is one of the picks in my Southern Literary Trail group and since I was not going to read Go Set a Watchman I thought I could at least read some poems. I was pondering joining a local book club about classics, which is why I got the Dirda, for research! I ultimately decided I didn't really have the capacity to join another monthly book club, and also I wasn't overly excited by the classics idea. I think I just like book clubs. I may finish skimming that book but may return it unfinished.  I like Michael Dirda and recently enjoyed a review copy of his upcoming book, Browsings, a compilation of his book columns (not reviews) from the Washington Post.

Many many friends have waxed eloquently about the MacDonald so I want to give it a try, despite feeling no particular interest in hawks. Heck, I read an entire David Foster Wallace novel about the IRS, so I clearly will read about anything.  I checked out the Friddle because she is a graduate from the university where I teach, and will be on campus as an adjunct this semester. It looks to be similar to Sarah Addison Allen and Sarah Hoffman, which I enjoy from time to time.

The Chodron and the Brantley are all connected to my newly forming interest in mindfulness and contemplative pedagogy. The Brantley is hands on and the Chodron is a bit overly steeped in Buddhist jargon for me, but still has such great moments! That's one I'll end up buying so I can have it on hand.

A professor here recommended the Schumacher to me, and as she guessed, I laughed my head off; the Murakami I decided to read after listening to the audio and not quite getting to it - definitely not my favorite from that author. The Powers I got in anticipation of a podcast discussion (posting mid-September, recorded Thursday night) but I was overly optimistic about the amount of time I would have to read.

Have you discovered anything interesting at the library lately?