One of the books I bought with my wonderful book store gift-certificate birthday present was “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz, which I later discovered had been one of the books read in my Boston bookclub.  Boston Bookclub, we are in harmony even now.   How I miss you.

In other book-related news, I went crazy yesterday and ordered 3 books from Half.com.  Oh how I love Half.com, with its promise of $1.49 paperbacks, except that the price never includes shipping.

The books which are now headed my way are:

1)  “Dry”, by Augusten Burroughs.  I loved his first book, “Running With Scissors”.  I recently devoured his latest, “A Wolf at the Table”, about his life growing up with a sociopathic father.  It was terrifying but also reminded me how macabre and hilarious his writing is.

I recalled perusing “Dry” at the airport when it first came out several years ago, and deciding I couldn’t afford to buy it new just then.  So I was long overdue to read it.  (In airport news, the Raleigh airport has a used book store!  I KNOW!!  The last time I traveled by air in early May I bought and read “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, because I somehow thought I had never read anything by Edith Wharton, except I have– “The Age of Innocense” and “The House of Mirth”, both of which I loved.  So oops.  Anyway “Ethan Frome” was absorbing but kind of a downer.)

2)  “Nightwood”, by Djuna Barnes.  Highly recommended to me by my friend Donn, I have been meaning to read this book for over a year, but every time I was at the library or the bookstore, it slipped my mind– kind of like how I can never remember to pick up milk at the grocery store, but I constantly buy packets of Taco Seasoning like there’s a great Taco Seasoning Famine sweeping the nation, even though we have a stack of such packets in the pantry at home.  So in conclusion, I’m excited to read “Nightwood”.

3) “The Stories of John Cheever”, by Guess Who.  I recently read a review of a new biography of Cheever by Blake Bailey entitled “Cheever: A Life”, and the review made me extremely curious to read the author’s work.  (Although currently I’m reading “Rabbit is Rich”, by John Updike, and it’s kind of depressing me with it’s ‘lives of quiet desperation in the suburbs’ theme.  And since Cheever is apparently known as the ‘Chekov of the suburbs’, I’m probably in for a fairly downbeat ride.  But we’ll see.)

John Updike is one of those authors (along with Hemingway and Faulkner) whose work I know I should have read, or read more of, but just never did.  So I’m trying to remedy this one book at a time, although the Garner public library branch is not helping me.  Each time I go in there looking for a particular book by an author, they have a different book by that author that is not the one I wanted.  So last month I went in looking for “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand (don’t even get me started on my hate-hate relationship with Ayn Rand) and came out with “Anthem”, which I probably won’t read.  I went in looking for one of the earlier books in Updike’s Rabbit collection, and came out with a later one which probably spoils all the twists in the earlier books and presents a fairly depressed protagonists in his early 50s who feels that his best days are behind him.  Another problem I have with the Garner library (and I hate to dis on libraries, because I loves me some libraries) is that it shelves romance novels in with regular fiction, which means that every third book on the shelves has some variation of the word ‘passion’ or ‘rogue’ in the title.  I can see why they are shelved in this way though, since shelving the romances separately would only highlight how many more romance novels there are than non-romance novels.  Dang it.
Anyway.  Sorry for the rambling.  What are you reading right now?

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