Monday, May 21, 2007

All is right with the world

I've been having terrible reading ADD lately--my sidebar says I'm working on Beyond Black, but that's a lie. The first 40 pages or so were pretty good, but they made me feel all squirmy and discontented--the image I get is like trying to feed a baby who doesn't want to eat--so I'm doing us both a favor and returning it to the library until I'm ready to try again. Some other time, I guess. I picked up Yann Martel's Life of Pi for the weekend, but I knew it was a false start even as I took it off the shelf. Again, I want to read it. The first three chapters were really good. I just don't want to read it right now.

Apparently, being in a bookstore on a budget does wonders to clarify the readerly vision.

You see, I lost my debit card last week, and I'm living on cash until the new one comes. I had to go to the actual, brick-and-mortar bank yesterday and talk to an actual person to get money. I have money for groceries and gas and bridge toll for the week. I do not have money for books, no matter how pretty they are or how nicely I think they would fit into my collection.

I'm not really a book buyer anyway--I like new books as much as the next girl, of course, but I get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices, and then I realize how many of the books out there are bad, and I end up buying books I've already read. At least I can trust them, right? But I was in Barnes and Noble last night, and the Fiction and Literature section owned me. I was all over the 20th-century female writers: there's this beautiful new paperback copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker that I've been eyeing, and it pained me to leave it there (reminding myself that I have a less pretty but perfectly serviceable copy of The Collected Poems of Dorothy Parker at home). They had a whole Dawn Powell collection, and I've been meaning to read Powell, but I don't know where to start. There was Simone de Beauvoir, and there was Flannery O'Connor, and now they're coming out with great editions of all of them, and I have no sales resistance when it comes to matte covers and rough-cut pages. It was ugly. I was practically snuggling the books.

In the end, common sense and the prospect of going back to the bank prevailed; I didn't buy anything. I feel so much better, though--I went straight home and curled up with Eudora Welty: The Collected Stories, and it's just right.


Sarah said...

You know, I have The Portable Dorothy Parker. My dad got it for me for Christmas a few years ago. And while I'm glad to have it, I've only read some of her short stories. I enjoy owning big anthologies like that, but ultimately, find them very overwhelming. I should take it off the shelf again and read some more. (And by the way, I've had book ADD for months now. It makes me sad.

Heather D said...

Someone gave me The Life of Pi a few years ago, and I looked at it, but don't want to read it. Books other people give you are so difficult! So let me know how it goes.

I'm pretty ADD myself right now. There's Hiding in the Mirror, about quantum mechanics, and this morning I picked up Wonder Tales, by Lord Dunsany. But I'm not *really* reading these books, even if I do look at them from time to time.

Liz said...

I'm kind of in the opposite situation--I have the Dorothy Parker poetry, but not the short stories and criticism. Actually, I think it's the criticism I'd really like.

Book ADD is a sad thing. Want to borrow anything?

Liz said...


I'll let you know about Pi when I get there long-term.

It's frustrating to be just picking up books to pick up books, isn't it?

Maggie said...

I recommend picking up the Life of Pi's slow at parts but gets really good at the end!

Liz said...


I'll pick it up again eventually. I just have to be in a different mood, you know?

Teri said...

Hope wasn't the contact solution you decided to use instead of the Target brand.

Liz said...

Sadly, that was my contact solution. D'oh. I went to Target and got non-Target brand, non-AMO solution, which I'm hoping will neither give me an infection nor make my eyes swell up.

Thanks for the heads-up!

(By the way, did you notice that your CH cheer last week was a WACKO acrostic poem? I meant to point that out.)

Teri said...

Hey, it is an acrostic! How did I miss that? I guess I was busy wondering why you were talking about flags furling, but I put that down to Memorial Day.

I'd also like to point out that when I previewed that last comment, the link didn't look stupid like it does now, and there was an extra word in there to make it a real sentence. I'm not as dumb as I look.

And for what it's worth, I read Life of Pi, and it's pretty good, except the very end, which I thought was lame. I'm realizing I have that problem with a variety of books.