28 June, 2011

I'm sure there's some Ben Franklin quote that would just be a killer post title for this.

When I someday make my thunderous slide into financial ruin, I will at least have things to read and listen to on the way down.  And I won't have to blame something vague and confusing like the stock market. (Which hopefully means that I will never have to learn anything about the stock market.  The only reason I would do so is if I wanted to complain to people about how it did me wrong.)  I'll just point a long, bony finger to the bookcase and the ipod and the whole story will be told.  I am the most gluttonous book and music buyer I have ever met.   I never want to find out how much money I have spent on music downloads.  Never, never, never.  Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I could have had a car instead would make me feel too guilty.  I like my happy ignorance.
I don't know why I feel more guilty about buying music than I do about buying books.  If the books and music I own were sort of graphed together, it would clearly show that the music has got more use.  I guess I feel less guilty because books can theoretically make me smarter.  The music I listen to can only boost my self-esteem a bit, give me tinnitus and make my brain cells burst in tiny, multi-colored explosions.  (According to Bill Bryson, you only get one lump of brain cells - and they don't get re-made or replaced.  So I really don't have any to spare for math.  I need all the cells I can get for other things.  It's vitally important.)
I would like to say that I am making a solemn vow to knot the purse strings and be frugal from now on.   No more five dollar amazon albums for you, Kelsey! Put down that paperback!  But the honest truth is, I don't feel particularly repentant. At all.  

Wait a moment, I thought I felt... No, not a bit. 

Now that I can practically smell my own room approaching (29 days to closing), I have decided to recommend a bit of prudence to myself.  Just suggested it.  You know, avoid buying tatty paperbacks of The Complete Works of Sophocles just because I know I ought to read it, and instead go for things I know I will read for sure.  Right now my bookcase gives off a much stronger aura of well-read girl than I actually deserve - I've bought stacks of learned looking paperbacks en masse at sales and never got around to reading them.  Shameful, but there it is. 

So, when I go to the library sale this weekend, I solemnly swear that I will not to grab every book I see, nor will I purchase any of the dubious "surprise" boxes that I know, deep down, will mostly contain murderously boring old textbooks.  I swear.  Or may I be chopped up and made into soup. 

I must impose some moderation.  Otherwise it's all going to end in some sort of turn on the body in the library theme. 

06 June, 2011

books about death and crime, mostly

Hey, my dashboard changed! My hands are flapping about in a helpless manner. This feels weird. Unsettled whimperings.

I started reading Rebecca this evening - whoo boy.  Danvers has just taken her on the horrible tour of Rebecca's room.  The atmosphere is incredible.  I'm sure a lot of people probably say they relate to the main character - but I'm going to say so too.  Maybe because she's young and awkward, I just see a great deal of similarity between us.  I feel a bit desperate to please people sometimes, and I bump into things and hide from people.  Schoolgirlish, self-concious. And I'm not good about clothes and hair and things like that.
Maybe I'm in a morbid kind of mood or something, but I'm getting terribly wrapped up in the story.  I need to see the movie after this.  I think Hitchcock is almost the only person who could have got the particular feel of this book right in a film.  It sometimes seems like he's driving off fumes, if you know what I mean.   He can put a fat lot of sinister thoughts into your head with a quite remarkably tiny pinch of scary images.  (Of course, I'm saying only he could have done Rebecca right and I haven't seen it, but I'm basing this bold and completely un-researched assertion on the feel I've gotten from the Hitchcock films I have seen.  And didn't it get an academy award?  The only one he got?  Or am I making this up?)

Okay, I have an awesome life.
Last night I went to a meeting of the Orient Express book club at Barnes and Noble.  Oh yes.  On the way there, I decided that I wanted it to be either:
1. So horrible that it was funny
2. Young-ish people obviously reading scary psycho books, so I would know after getting a peek at them that I shouldn't even sit down
3. Or actually good.  Pleasantly geeky

It was the latter.  They're all at least fifty years old, and have been meeting for twelve years.  They were very friendly.  The leader lady told me that they read for pleasure - don't dissect things (yessss!).  They go to mystery dinner theatre shows.  The leader asked me if I'd read any mystery books lately, and I mentioned Dorothy Sayers.  "Oh, which version of him do you like better?" She asked me.  And - get this - I KNEW WHAT SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT!  I felt like a genius.  (To explain - when Dorothy Sayers wrote Lord Peter Wimsey, she made him a cross between Bertie Wooster and Fred Astaire and intended to do a few books and then marry him off and be done.  But, from what I've read, she got attached to him and, in the later books, made him a more complete character.  Some people like the early, more Bertie Wooster LPW more than the more human later one. I don't know which I like better.  From a pure, shallow enjoyment standpoint, the Bertie Wooster version is more fun.  But I am hugely attached to the more human version too.  So I don't know.  That's what I said to the leader lady.)

I am so going again.  I have to find a mystery book involving some sort of royal personage.  The club reads books by topic, so you don't have to buy anything.  Nice, I think.  It's a sort of title-swop, I suppose.

Also, I am reading A Short History of Nearly Everything.  You already know, dear blog, that I adore - worship - Bill Bryson.  I have dithered about how hilarious and witty he is, and how I feel well-traveled and somewhat brainier when I come away from his books.  Now, I can say (with incredulity) that he is actually capable of making me take an interest in science.  Or at least make me want to keep reading a very long book about it.  Right now I'm reading a bit about how Yellowstone park is basically one enormous volcano. (The sort that look like a champagne glass below the surface, from what I understand.  The name begins with a c and sounds like caldera or something similar.)  From the hints he is giving, I think we will probably all die if it blows.  Oh well.  At least it would be quick and exciting, what?