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Okay, so I’m a little late posting this, but here we go.

Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (257 pages) was good, but… (Spoiler!) everyone says it was the first lesbian pulp fiction novel with a happy ending, and, well, it didn’t feel that happy. It seemed like they were in a borderline abusive relationship, and she came back.I dunno. Well-written, though. 3.5/5

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (185 pages), which was a re-read, but I just adore this book. It’s a little utopian gay society. I may be re-reading it soon, with all the kind of depressing lesbian fiction I’ve been picking up. 5/5

Stir-Fry by Emma Donoghue (240 pages) I liked. The bantering between the three was something I could relate to, definitely. It was nice. It didn’t really wrap up, though, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose. 4/5

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson (232 pages) turned out not to be a lesbian book, but it was fairly enjoyable. No real plot or wrap-up or anything, but interesting. I love Jeanette Winterson’s writing style. 3.5/5

I also finished Cake or Death: The Excruciating Choices of Everyday Life a collection of essays by Heather Mallick (240 pages) that my former co-worker L recommended. It was, indeed, excellent, and also made numerous references to Stephen Colbert, which I always enjoy. 4.5/5

February I went for the first time to the Times Colonist annual book fair. I loved it! So many books! So cheap! I ended up getting 30 books for $40. I’ll definitely be going again next year.

Febraury reading:
Books read: 12
Pages read: 2,260
Nonfiction: 4
Fiction: 8
Male authors: 4
Female authors: 7

Money spent on books: $69.40

(Two books were by the same author, which is why there’s more books than authors.)

Looking pretty good! Hope I can keep it up for March!

Well, Lesbian Reading Month is a go, but a bit delayed. I had to finish the Peak Oil Survival guide first, and then during some slow time at the store, I ended up finishing two other books, so there’s more male non-fiction than I was hoping for this month. Oh well!

Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life After Gridcrash by Aric McKay (128 pages)

Well, I did take a lot of notes, but it wasn’t all I was hoping for. It didn’t really say the important things: how to stay warm in the winter, and most of all, how to get food. That’s what was really lacking. It was okay, but not worth buying. 2.5/5

Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me edited by Ben Karlin (240 pages)

Great book to pass the time. One of the main reasons I bought it, though, was for Stephen Colbert’s contribution, and his story turned out to be pretty much just the gag of haivng it edited by his wife, with very little remaining, which was disappointing. The stories are entertaining, though, and well-written. 3.5/5

Other People’s Love Letters by Bill Shapiro (192 pages)

I loved this one. In the same vein as Postsecret and Found, this is a collection of love letters, but they’re not all happy ones. I was grinning like an idiot for some of them, but many were quite sad. It also has convinced me I should get a typewriter, because I love the look of those letters. If you like Found and Postsecret, you’ll probably like this. 4.5/5

On to the lesbian reading!

Another Kind of Love and Love is Where You Find It by Paula Christian (304 pages)

This is two books in one volume, but I’m counting them separately. I decided I’d start off Lesbian Reading Month with some lesbian pulp fiction, so I was very happy to see that the library right across the parking lot from my work had this one. I quite enjoyed them, though the obligatory “Being gay is a mental disease!” were tiresome. 3.5/5

Deliver Us From Evie by M.E. Kerr (192 pages)

This one I whipped through in a day. I like little books sometimes. It’s a sweet story about a farm boy whose sister is a lesbian. Light read, nicely written. I really liked the character of Evie. 4/5

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho translated by Anne Carson (~50 pages)

This book is technically 416 pages, but it is a collection of all of the fragments of Sappho’s work in the original Greek and the translation on the next page, so half of it doesn’t really count (I can’t read Greek) and many, if not the majority, of the pages would have only a couple words on it. I’m glad I can now say I read all of Sappho’s remaining works, even if one fragment was just “sinful” and another was “rosy-fingered Dawn” (each with a page of its own). My favorite fragment seems nearly complete on its own. Ann Carson’s translation is this:

He seems to me equal to gods that man
whoever he is who sits opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking

and lovely laughing–oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears

and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead–or almost
I seem to me.

And another fragment I love (I’m starting it mid-fragment) (square brackets represent missing bits):

]among mortal women, know this
]from every care
]you could release me
]
]dewy riverbanks
]to last all night long

and just one more:
]frequently
]for those
I treat well are the ones who most of all
]harm me

and others, too. Ah, Sappho. ❤ 5/5

I also bought a few books from a bookstore on Fort street: Shepherd Books.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger for $8
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk for $9
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield for $11

for a total of $29.40 after tax.

Now I’m reading the Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith and have a stack of library books to get through. (There’s a lock-out starting at the library on Sunday! Damnit, library, when will you realize you should pay fairly? Graaagh.)

Well, I finished reading The City of Words. I didn’t completely understand it, but I did like it. Alberto Manguel seems to humble me. Or at least, the two books I’ve read by him have. Good stuff.

I bought some books at Chapters with the gift cards I got for Christmas (Sigh. Why can’t people get them from Munro’s instead?). I got one for $50 from the uncle, with which I bought The Life of Pi illustrated edition (that was a couple weeks ago), because it’s gorgeous, but I can’t really afford it without my discount. Then a couple days ago I spend the rest of that card plus the $25 card from on of the my friends. (Prices are all including discount)

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Audio (Live) (CD) for $11.16
On Literature by Umberto Eco (Hardcover) for $6.99
Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman (Hardcover) for $4.19
Feeding the Future edited by Andrew Heintzman and Evan Solomon (Hardcover) for $4.89
and
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (Hardcover) for $4.89
for a total, with tax, of $34.83 leaving $6.78 on my card.

I got the Hodgman book recommended to me early the day I bought it, though I had been wanting to read it beforehand. “I just want to read it because he’s on The Daily Show,” I said to a customer buying the trade copy. He said, “In my opinion, his humour far surpasses The Daily Show.”, which impressed me.

Well, that’s it for this year!

Eep, I’ve been lazy in updating. Ah well. I finished Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide, which I really liked, especially the accounts of zombie attacks. One thing really irritated me, though, and it was the five or six times in the book he used the word “ironically”, and as far as I could tell, not once was the  situation actually ironic. “Ironic” and “literal” are the two words I can not stand being used incorrectly. Despite that, I still really want to read World War Z by him, since that’ll be all zombie accounts.

I also re-read The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. I couldn’t remember if I actually finished these books when I was younger, I just remembered that they went over my head and that I never read The Amber Spyglass, in fact, I didn’t even own it. Re-reading them, though, I really enjoyed them! Exquisite writing, fascinating plot, and best of all, the ideas being presented! Fantastic. I hate how many books have been written about these books ‘really’ being Christian. No! Pullman said himself that he’s an atheist and his books are about killing God. Just because it has morals doesn’t mean it’s a Christian story! People do the same thing with Harry Potter, though Rowling is hoping that outing Dumbledore may counter that. Sigh. Can’t people enjoy books without conforming them to their religion?

Anyways, I’m still reading The Amber Spyglass (for the first time). After that, I think I’ll read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I regretted not doing any Halloween reading, so I’d like to do some Christmas reading. I haven’t forgotten about re-reading HGttG! I’m still looking forward to it.

Oh, and I bought The Amber Spyglass at Munro’s for $14.27 with tax (it was 25% off). I like the cover a lot (I’ll probably buy the matching Subtle Knife and Golden Compass  eventually), except that it has a stupid “A Major Motion Picture Holiday 2007) circle on it. Bah. Maybe I can find a sticker to cover it with.

Well, I’ve finally finished Big-Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell! (Great book, though it was a little difficult to finish. Easy reading, just dragged on a tad by the end for me.) Well, I’m convinced. I’d obviously already had a distrust of big-box/chain stores, but now it’s just solidified into the conviction that I’ll be avoiding them from now on. Perhaps not a full-out boycott yet, but fairly close to it! And that’s why today I went shopping downtown at indie stores. First stop, getting shoes (mine had actually began to disintegrate). $175 is pretty steep for Made In China sneakers in my books, but they’re vegan, bought at a local store (Not Just Pretty, which in addition to being local, is also an organic clothing store), and 99% recycled! Then, it was off to the fun purchases.

I’ve been meaning to go to Munro’s Books for a while now (the only time I went was to drop off a resume, and I obviously didn’t get the job). So I went today, with the remainder of my money. I spent about $100 on books, all but one of them from Munro’s.

  • A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’engle (hardcover, used) at Books On View for $3.99
  • A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson (pocket paperback) for $11.99
  • Rats: Observations by Robert Sullivan (trade) in bargain for $5.99
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (small trade) in bargain for for $4.99
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (trade) in bargain for $5.99
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy Original Radio Scripts (Volume 2) by Douglas Adams (trade) for $24.95
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (pocket paperback) for $8.99
  • The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams(pocket paperback) for $8.99
  • The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams (pocket paperback) for $8.99

For a total of about $90 with tax. I then spent the rest of my money at Green Cuisine, a vegan buffet in Market Square (I plan to go from vegetarian to vegan starting in June). Mm, they have excellent food there.

Unfortunately, I have run out of shelf space! I’ve been using a narrow metal bookshelf by my door to keep the books I haven’t read yet, but it’s full now. My Worn Again shoebox encouraged re-use, so I used it as a mini bookshelf for my purchases today. But I guess the only long-term solution is to stop buying so many books or start reading faster!

Next book to read: a loan from L at my store. Susie Sexpert’s Lesbian Sex World by Susie Bright. Whew, that’ll be a book to hide the cover of when reading on the bus. Should be fun, though.

Well, my books that I ordered through the kiosk (using the gift card) came in. I like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy boxset, though I’d probably prefer that the first one wasn’t the movie tie-in. Oh well! They’re still awesome. 🙂

And the other books I got were:

  • Expletive Deleted by Ruth Wajnryb (hardcover) for $4.99
  • Everything Bad is Good For You by Steven Johnson (hardcover) for $5.99
  • How To Be Alone by Jonathon Franzen (hardcover) for $2.00

All cheap non-fiction! Plus, that last one is a book about books, so I’m looking forward to it.

I’m still plowing through Big Box Swindle, but I’m getting a little impatient to finish it already!

Well, I finished the two library books I checked out: Thirst by Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman, and Michael Fox and Look Both Ways by Jennifer Baumgardner. I liked both of them.

I was against water privatization from the start, but Thirst really gave me the info to be against it intelligently. There were some hopeful stories of communities fighting back, but also a whole lot of defeats: The water/sewage company that turned off their pumps to save electricity and sent sewage flowing into the Great Lake, for example. And all the under-handed manipulation of the government to prevent people from being able to vote… It was infuriating, but very informative. I’d recommend it.

Look Both Ways was also good, but not exactly in the way I was expecting it to be. First of all, it’s really a book about the politics of being a female bisexual, not bisexuality in general. Look Both Ways I think was much more of a memoir than I was expecting. One thing I liked, but hadn’t predicted, was the discussion of feminism in this book. It’s a huge theme. And I am very much a feminist. Of course, I did balk a little bit when she sometimes suggested that bisexuals are somehow better than bisexuals, but that was just me being defensive: she fairly weighed the pros and cons (and besides, like it matters what the ideal choice would be. We are who we are). Overall, quite good, but I don’t think I’ll be suggesting it for Friends of Dorothy because it’s so personal, related mostly to people in a very similar situation (same age, same gender, etc).

Big-Box SwindleAnd the two books I’m reading at the moment are The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (beautiful, but so sad) and Big-Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell. More on those when I finish them, but I’ve already pretty much resolved to stop buying at chains as much as possible. I know shopping locally is expensive, but I’ll be trying to do so as much as possible. This means no more buying at my store! Unless I get a gift card there, I’ll be making my book purchases elsewhere. I’ve always felt vaguely guilty about buying from such a huge chain when I adore local bookstores, but reading Big Box Swindle really solidified it. Now I’ll be buying less books, yes, because I won’t get the discount, but at least I’ll feel better!

I did, however, buy some books at my store a couple days ago, because everyone in the store got $35 for winning the Harry Potter decoration contest in our stores (thanks to L). So I bought a couple books through the kiosk, but I don’t remember what at the moment. I know one was a box set of Douglas Adams, because I’ll only read Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy once, and I’d love to re-read it, but I have this giant hardcover omnibus that’s pretty much impossible to lug around, so hopefully I’ll be able to more easily tackle it this way. I also bought a lesbian movie (Better Than Chocolate, for just $7), but I forget what else. They should come in a week or so.

I better get to reading now!

So, I bought a couple more books at my store recently. And I finished two of them, and they’re both excellent.

Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi for $4.99
A Lifetime of Secrets by Frank Warren for $27.50
and 2 copies of
I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert for $29.99 each
for a total of, after tax, with my 30% discount, with a $10 iThank You from my work for good iReward sales, $58.60

Icarus Girl was a promising-looking bargain book, so I went for it, but it’s not too high on my reading list. M from my work said it was good, though, I believe.

I go to the Postsecret website every Sunday to see the new secrets, and frequently through the week to see the new email responses. I have all of the books, and they’re absolutely wonderful. Some secrets are heart-wrenchingly sad, and some are inspirational, and some are hilarious. One secret that really spoke to me in this collection was “I’m going to die alone and happy.” ❤ I cannot recommend these books and the website highly enough. Beautiful.

Great book? Or greatest book?Now, on the the obsession. I am a little obsessed with The Colbert Report (a show on the Comedy Network that parodies guys like Bill O’Reilly). The Daily Show is awesome, too, but Colbert is just so fun. So I’ve been counting down when his book was coming out, and finally, yesterday was I Am America (And So Can You!) day! (The release date) I got a copy for my friend A, since her birthday is in a couple days, and of course, one for myself. I finished it today and it was excellent. I also ordered the audio book, which should be arriving any day now. I can’t wait! I also got a life-sized cut of Stephen Colbert from my work! Aaah, it’s so awesome! (Colbert is my man crush. Every lesbian is permitted some, just like straight girls are permitted girl crushes.) My work got it in, but we don’t have room for it, so I get to keep it. Anyways, everyone should buy IAA(ASCY!) because it’s hilarious and because Colbert is amazing.

I love used books. A) They’re cheaper, B) They’re usually sold in small, independent stores, and C) I love the idea of other people reading and enjoying the book before me. So me and my friend AM have been planning to go used-book shopping on Friday (yesterday). With $100 in my pocket, we first hit Books on View and spent, I think, about an hour perusing the stacks. Even then, I didn’t get to see everything. I didn’t learn until we were leaving that there are two sections for fiction, and I was only looking at one. I left there with five books: four fiction, one nonfiction.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews in hardcover for $9.99
Angels & Insects by A.S. Byatt in trade for $6.99
The Color Purple by Alice Walker in hardcover for $6.99
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant in trade for $9.99
and
Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky (New, not used) in trade for $9.99
for a total of $46.59 after tax.

A Complicated Kindness I’ve heard good thing about from a few people, most notably L at my store, who has repeatedly recommended it.

Angels & Insects seems vaguely familiar to me; I must have heard the name before, but I don’t even remember if it was a recommendation or not. I just picked up the book and felt like I had to buy it. Strange.

The Color Purple is, of course, a classic, and I haven’t read it yet. I’ve also seen it on a lesbian reading list, and I do want to expand my lesbian book repertoire (Is that the right use for that word? I was impressed just to be able to spell it.). Inside the cover, on the first blank page in the upper right corner, someone has written in blue ink:

Xmas ’86
Dear Bridget,
I feel I have found a
new friend, in you,
best wishes,
love
Alex.
xx.

I wonder why Bridget got rid of the book. Was Alex wrong? Did Bridget get scared off by the unnecessary commas before and after “in you”? Or did she just not like the story? Mysterious.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about The Red Tent, and I got yet another vouch for it from the girl at Books on View, so I’d be surprised if it turned out not to be good.

I’ve been meaning to read Noam Chomsky for ages, so when I was Hegemony or Survival by the counter I snatched it up. We read a little Chomsky in English class, and I think I’ll enjoy it.

Next up we went to Russell Books, the parent company of Books on View. It’s bigger, but I didn’t stay as long. AM had to leave fairly quickly to get to her job and I was getting a little nervous about time (unnecessarily, it turns out. It was only 5.), so I just got two books.

Places I Never Meant to Be edited by Judy Blume in trade for $6.99
and
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers in trade for $9.99
for a total of $18 even, after tax.

I read Places I Never Meant to Be when I was younger and liked it, but I mostly got it because I hate book censorship, and it’s a collection of stories by censored writers.

A Heartbreaking Worst of Staggering Genius I’ve had recommended to me by a few people, so I didn’t think twice about grabbing this one. And he apparently rates himself as a three on a scale of 1-10, 10 being straight and 1 being gay, so that’s a plus.

But my real victory was when I finally went to the Salvation Army (I pass it every day on my bus route) to look for books. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to look through all of them, since I got there about 8 minutes before closing, but I did manage to pick up five books, all in paperback.

Speaker For the Dead by Orson Scott Card for $1.29
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card for $1.29
Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel for $1.29
Sunwing by Kenneth Oppel for $1.29
and
From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives by Robert Fulghum for $1.29
for a total of $6.45 after tax!

The Orson Scott Card books I already had at one point, but I tried to read them when I was younger and got really confused, so I gave them away. Recently, however, I re-read Ender’s Game and loved it, so I wanted to give them another shot.

I actually already own Sunwing in trade, but I thought it’d be better if I had both of them in the same format. I’ve already read them and remember liking them. I’ll have to re-read.

I loved All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum a ton. It’s just a feel-good book. And later I got It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It and loved it, too. And I read a bit of Uh-Oh and felt the same way, so hopefully this one is more of the same.

Yay! Lots of books! For a grand total of 12 books for $71.04, so I still have money left over! The only problem now is getting off those little stickers… they’re impossible when you bite off all your nails.

I thought I’d finished my book-buying for this paycheck, but I bought another little pile of books. 5 of “The Peebles Classic Library”: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Only $5 each, and they look gorgeous in my opinion. I snatched them up from the antiques table that’s up for a little while in the mall I work at. L let me buy them while I was working, since it wasn’t busy. So that’s $25 in all, which isn’t too bad.

I’ve just started The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. I have to read it for English class; Ms. R is really into existentialism. Everyone else in the class seemed irritated by it, so I couldn’t concentrate, but I liked the first couple pages.

Still reading Pride and Prejudice! I’m going away for a week with my class (we’re camping/canoeing). I’m bringing Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, though I’m not sure how much reading time I’ll get it. Better to be prepared!