Friday, September 28, 2012

Floor Books

Here is what I don't like about e-books: if I want to judge someone's intelligence and taste, I have to find their e-reading device and stealthily peruse its contents while the person is not looking.

That's not really my style, though. I much prefer that we all keep our books out in the open, where we can scan their spines and gain an understanding of what kind of treasures and trash we have all allowed to enter our brains. That said, I would like to invite you to my floor, which is where I keep an ongoing stack of books. (I usually read in bed, and whenever I finish a book, I just set it on the pile next to me. Apparently, I haven't cleaned in a year.)

So, in full disclosure of what I have allowed into my brain this year, I present you with a brief write-up of my current stack of floor books. (Please feel free to judge my intelligence and taste based on this stack.)

Book 1: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I fell in love with Barbara when I read her amazing nonfiction book Animal Vegetable Miracle many years ago, which inspired me to start gardening. Discovering that Barbara Kingsolver is NOT just a gardener and is in fact a world class fiction writer was a great literary treat. I especially enjoy her fledgling Arizona-based books, like The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven. The Poisonwood Bible seems to have been a turning point for her writing. She took her plot line to Africa, and this book is long and dense and far more disturbing than her earlier work. But it is breathtaking in scope, and horrifying in a "flesh-eating ants" kind of way.

Book 2: Role Models by John Waters. John Waters signed this book for me, and then I read it. It's weird and disjointed and uncomfortable and I love it, just like him.

Book 3: The Garden Primer. A very thorough book on gardening. (See Book # 1)

Book 4: Sweet Valley Confidential by "Francine Pascal". Yeah right, I'm sure this was written by Francine Pascal. This book was written by a 9th grader. It's the Wakefield Twins all grown up! Elizabeth moves to New York to work in the thee-a-tah, and know what? I don't even remember. I just had to read it. (P.S. It was so good.)

Book 5: Emma by Jane Austen. Purchased for its pretty embroidered cover; enjoyed for its awesomeness. I still haven't re-watched the movie Clueless, which Julie told me was based on Emma. Did everyone know that but me?

Book 6: Bossypants by Tina Fey. This was a delightful read, and it made me wonder if I would have wound up being on SNL if I had just gone to do improv at Second City after college. (BTW, that was never in the plans.) She just makes it all sound so easy! Be funny, go to Second City, get on SNL. Boom. Also of note is that I bought this book in an airport terminal on my way to Spain. It was this or The Hunger Games, but Robb convinced me that The Hunger Games would make me feel anxious while traveling. He knows me so well!

Book 7: Nancy Drew's The Sign of the Twisted Candle by "Caroline Keene". This is one of the O.G. Nancy Drews. Written in 1933, she's got style, she's got a fabulous updo, and she has a big mystery to solve! Which she does! Are you surprised?

Book 8: Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Lilac Inn by "Caroline Keene". See Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Shark Submarine.

Book 9: The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins. This book is freaking fascinating. A curated collection of fun facts about the history of everything, from champagne, to hot air balloons, to ballet to the Bartlett pear. You will feel smart and smug as you read this book, and you will have lots to talk about at cocktail parties and on uncomfortable first dates.

Book 10: The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book blew my mind when I was in college so I decided to read it again. Still blew my mind. If you haven't read it, READ IT. Now please.

Book 11: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. Six years ago, my sister insisted that I read this book. I started it, but then my life promptly went bananas due to a break-up and subsequent move. Let's just say I was not in a state of mind to read about golems. But try try again, and I did. And once you figure out what a golem is (I had no idea), it's really an amazing read. And I don't even care about comics.  


  1. I'm a kindle reader i will admit, but it's only cause i don't want to carry my giant sci fi/fantasy tomes on the subway, i promise. And yes yes yes to the Poisonwood Bible...loved that book

  2. I love that your choice in books is so eclectic- like little treasures! I don't see too much trash in that pile! You must have removed those books.

  3. I'm so glad you finally read Kavalier and Clay! I need to read that again. Although first I need to read Chabon's new novel because it's all about Berkeley, woohoo.

    OK, so here's my "floor books" (actually "bedside table books") list:
    -The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Chris Carrico's copy, or the one he gave to you, complete with 1990s-era email tucked inside)
    -The Bible
    -Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (I'm trying to read a six-book series, ugh)
    -Tales of a Fifth Grade Nothing
    -Bossypants! (which I haven't read yet)

  4. Wow, you guys are all the nerdiest readers of all time! (Just kidding!) I love how much sci-fi is represented here. Erin, I seem to recall that there were a lot of typos in that copy of The Gunslinger, which I thought was strange because it was on its bajilliionth printing. Did you see those too?

    What did the 1990s era email say???

    Also, mom, that Sweet Valley High book is the biggest piece of trash on the planet. It's small but dense, like a moon rock.

    1. Wasn't that a little innocent junior high book that you used to read? Piece of trash? Well now, dense- like a moon rock...ha ha

    2. Yes!! There were SO MANY typos in The Gunslinger. Totally weird (and annoying -- like, a typo per page, practically).

      To be perfectly honest and kind of annoyingly decent: I didn't actually read the email. I was afraid it'd be, like, private.