create_destiny: (Road To Karma)
1. The thought of our next president being that Mc guy.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

3. Remembering how I used to sing this song to my nephew Curtis when he was a baby:

create_destiny: (Bird Eye)
bookpile3

Total Spent: $13.25

P.S. Yes, I am addicted to buying used books. No, I haven't read all the books I last posted a photo of. Yes, I'm still on a short story kick (in theory). No, Mary Karr's memoir is not a short story. Yes, I do get easily distracted and yes, I do have too many damn books. Do you want to make something of it? We could, you know, because I'm just doing laundry right now and waiting for Family Guy to start, so I've got like, five hours.
create_destiny: (Caper Acres Mosaic)
buddha&bks1

I'm going to devote my summer to reading short stories exclusively. This urge came on when I stumbled upon a short story called "The Bee's" written by Dan Chaon found in the innocuous-looking book at the bottom of this pile, The Better of McSweeney's Volume One - Issues 1-10. The bony fingers of this story have crept into my flesh and stirred my creative juices, I hunger and long, now more than ever, for the art of the short story. So come on Nabokov, Salinger, Munro, Carver, Lahiri, Moore, McSweeny's and the Pushcart Prize people, show me whatcha got!

However,

I received an urgent e-mail from my Dad this morning telling me I absolutely must read Sherman Alexie's new novel, Flight. "An exceptional example of American Indian Magical Realism, if there is such a thing," is how my Dad described it.

Therefore,

I must drop everything and devour this book before I embark upon my thorough study of the short story. The day is coming, dear readers, when I will unleash upon the literary world my own collection of short stories. This is the destiny I am creating.

PS: Buddha Met Someone! )
create_destiny: (Default)
vonnegut1

My parents with Kurt Vonnegut, April 18, 1985, University of Toledo.

This is what my Dad has to say about meeting one of his "literary heros":

...the meeting was fantastic; [Vonnegut] did not disappoint me as other authors I worked with in my long and checkered career selling books have. [Specific person] was the manager of the [big chain bookstore] in Toledo, I the district manager. When she told me that the University of Toledo had approached her about selling books at the lecture and after I changed my pissed in pants I put into motion the idea of a reception. This was not a gig from corporate but one of my own making. I, as district manager, supplied the wine and cheese ([Big Chain Bookstore's] money), [Specific person] and her crew of booksellers assisted: I had them all wear a name tag that included the phrase “HI-HOst” or “HI-HOstess”. Kurt got a kick out of that. We had an amicable chat, both of us decrying the affect of the big chain book stores on the literary scene. After he left, I pilfered a long cigarette butt of his from an ashtray. I still have that Pall Mall, stuck in the base of a bust of Mark Twain. “So it goes.”

It isn’t often that one gets to meet another human to whom one assigns the status of “Hero”, approaching godhood: further it is all too often that upon meeting one’s Hero that there is disappointment or often a tremendous let down at griping the flesh (shaking hands). I was not let down nor disappointed; Vonnegut continues to rule in my pantheon of literary gods.


In the late 1970's - early 80's my Dad owned and operated his own bookstore in downtown Jefferson City, Missouri which he named, "The Mark Twain Bookstore." I was just a kid but I remember he also used the big room upstairs as an art gallery. My Dad was forced out of business when a new concept came to town called "the mall" which came complete with a big chain bookstore and essentially killed most of the downtown businesses. Because he had three young daughters to support he had little choice but to go and work for big chain bookstore. I remember this being a very difficult time for our family because my father's dream of having his own bookstore had been shattered. I also remember going to see my Dad at "the mall" where he took me to my first arcade and taught me how to play this crazy fun new video game called "Pac-Man." He was promoted up the ranks pretty quickly and we followed his promotions to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His career with big chain bookstore only lasted for a few years before he moved on to other work but his passion for books never waned.
create_destiny: (Default)
Books scored last Saturday at Friends of the Library Book Sale.

Amount Spent: $10.25

EDIT: Paul Fussell can bite me for being a pretentious prick and the California Wines book is a piece of crap.

Score From Week Before )
create_destiny: (Default)

EDIT: OH HOLY GODS OF ALL HIPSTERS FORGIVE ME FOR BUYING AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF LE MIS! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, I SWEAR, I'LL BURN IT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!
Total Amount spent: $4.50
create_destiny: (sunshine)







*****************

One of my favorite contemporary writers, Pam Houston, did a reading tonight at a locally owned bookstore in downtown Chico. She was promoting her new novel, Sight Hound.

Several years ago I read her best-selling book Cowboys Are My Weakness, a collection of stories about backpacking and trips into the wild with various boyfriends. It's a great read.

After she read selections from her new book she answered questions from the small audience of about ten people. Someone asked her to name some of her favorite books and writers. She said: Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee, Paradise by Toni Morrison, anything by Alice Munroe, Richard Ford (especially a short story called "Communist"), Russell Banks and Amy Hempel (but not her latest one).

Houston is currently the director of the Creative Writing Program at UC Davis. She described herself as "a writer of found objects" and talked a bit about how writers need to believe in their ability to "conjure reality." She told us about a four-day writers' conference that UC Davis is sponsoring in Marin County this fall. I would *die* to go but it costs $1250.00! Money needs to fuck off! (Or "Come to mama." I'm not sure which.)

After the talk, she signed copies of her new book and was kind enough to let me take her picture. I asked her if she's ever tempted to steal ideas from her students. She said no, but when they write a really great line she wishes she had written it.

I milled about in the bookstore for a bit and somehow began conversing with an old man in his late 70s. There was something really special about him. He was sharp and open and searching. I asked him if he writes and he said no. He said he had been in a shell his whole life and was just now beginning to come out. I wanted to say, "Me, too!" But I didn't. I wanted to ask him to go for a cup of coffee with me at the greasy spoon down the street but I didn't. I didn't, because I'm still trying to break out of my own shell, I guess. Something tells me that before I can believe in my ability to "conjure reality" I first need to muster the courage to participate in the reality unfolding all around me.
create_destiny: (Default)


The top section is the American author section.

The bottom section consists entirely of books that have been named "top ten favorite books" by my bibliophile friends and family.

Read more... )
create_destiny: (Default)
Well, I wanted to relax and unwind from the tension of a long work week so I decided to watch a dvd my dad sent me for my birthday a couple of months ago-- Baruka.

Not a good choice for a person perpetually staving off an existential crisis. Gee thanks dad.

After the flick I had to get away from my thoughts so I went to a used bookstore and found a few things:

-The Collective Family: A Handbook for Russian Parents
I'm not Russian, or a parent but I am fascinated with Russian history, particularly Soviet histroy. This book was published in 1937, 20 yrs. after the Bolshevik Revolution, and approaching a time when young school children were encouraged to nark on their parents for "counter-revolutionary" activity such as praying, owning icons, or basically saying anything that questioned the wisdom of the Soviet leaders. Read 1984 by George Orwell for a picture of life taken straight out of Soviet Russia.

--One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I already have a copy of this but I picked up another one to give to some unsuspecting bibliophile in the future. I haven't even read the copy I have. I read a short story by this author in a lit class a couple of semesters ago and was compellingly attracted to his magical realism. Which is odd because I usually don't go for anything "magical."

--The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
Jack London is one of my dad's favorite writers, mostly for The Call of the Wild but I picked this one up because a monk friend of mine told me this is one of his favorite books. I tend to love "men at sea" stories for some reason.

--The American Transcendentalists: Their Prose and Poetry.
I guess I'm somewhat intrigued by Transcendentalism even though I absolutely detest the "godfather" of Transcendentalism, Emerson, that pompous son-of-a $%#@*!

--The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change the World Around Them. I love to hear stories about amazing teachers who are literally able to be a catalyst for change in the lives of students.

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