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Book Swap

September 4th, 2011 (12:02 pm)
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current mood: contemplative

Yesterday I attended a lovely barbecue and book swap. There ended up being lots of books to choose from, including many I'd read already (and I'm not much of a re-reader) and several that were outside my wheelhouse (pagan how-to guides) but I still came away with four large volumes to dig into eventually.

I brought a recently read copy of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter; I also offered up our duplicate copies of LeGuin's The Dispossessed and Left Hand of Darkness and Matt Forbeck's Amortals (figuring someone else in the likely-geek crowd would enjoy it). Among the books Chris brought was a copy of a Magic: the Gathering anthology that he'd contributed to which was adorably snapped up by a sweet little 9-year-old geek girl who plays Magic and seemed quite excited by her score.

I decided to go out of my comfort zone on a couple of the books I picked up and try some more serious reading. I've been padding out my reading list with a lot of mysteries, thrillers, suspense novels, and easy-to-read fiction this year, so I decided to rescue a couple of non-fiction books from the table. I picked up Joseph J. Ellis' American Sphinx, The Character of Thomas Jefferson and a collection of Christopher Hitchens' essays called Love, Poverty, and War. I also selected a book I'd never heard of called Dance Night by Dawn Powell based purely on the fact that it was by a female author published in 1930. What little I know of literature of the early 20th century is dominated almost entirely by men, all the very famous male authors (Faulkner, Hammett, Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, etc). Since making my way through Their Eyes Were Watching God earlier this year I feel like I should further educate myself on women writers from the early years of the century. So, Dance Night went into my bag.

Then, in the interest of not getting too highfalutin with my picks, I snagged a lovely slip-cased volume of Stephen King's The Green Mile, which I've also never read. I have a mixed relationship with King, I read and enjoyed his Bachman books (which include The Long Walk and The Running Man), The Stand, The Dark Tower and his On Writing is excellent but I've often felt he has trouble ending a story. Curious to see if the serial format of The Green Mile made a structural difference in the act of writing it that might change my feeling about King's endings... oops, there I go getting higfalutin again. I meant to say "Stephen King blood-gore-scary-horror-fun". Heh. Whatev'.

Anyway, fun barbecue that results in good food, drinks, a firepit and giant marshmallows AND several new books to read? Awesome!