March 19, 2009

Buying Books at Borders

I just got back from Borders, where I went to spend a gift card leftover from some occasion or another. Now, I don't buy new books in stores, unless they are of the bargain variety. I mostly buy books used or new on Amazon, and I've been borrowing more and more from the library lately (this semester, for the first time, I got my class books from the library). So, this was an experience for me. Of course, I was overwhelmed by all the gorgeous books on display in Borders, and I left with more than I intended. I went to get Jennifer Boylan's two memoirs, She's Not There and I'm Looking Through You. Borders claimed to have both, but neither a nice salt-and-pepper gentleman (I hope I age that well) nor I could find She's Not There. I had to settle for I'm Looking Through You, but now I'm anxious, since I can't possible read the memoirs in reverse chronological order. That's just not who I am.

I'm excited, though, because Jennifer Boylan will be coming to my school to give a talk. Our English Graduate Student Association, of which I am a part, is bringing Jenny to talk to us about memoir writing. Of course, people can't possibly ignore the fact that she is transgender, so the college's LGBTQ club will have its own separate event with her. Needless to say, I'm thrilled. I haven't read her work yet, but I'm planning to do so as soon as possible. Do you think she'll sign my books?

Borders has ordered She's Not There, but who knows how long it will take.

I succumbed to the buy-one-get-one-half-price table, as well. I bought two books I've been meaning to read:

I absolutely love Nicholson Baker, but I've been putting off Human Smoke since its publication a year ago. It's just so long. Plus, my school contacted Baker to see if he would speak to us about writing (he lives in Southern Maine, so it only makes sense), and his publicist said that he would give a one-hour lecture for $10,000, plus airfare. $10,000? Airfare from Portland to Bangor? The man's no Thomas Pynchon, but he's certainly living like it.

As for Moneyball, I've arrived at the point in my life when it's a must read. For some reason unknown even to me, I only recently, in the past year or so, started reading extended baseball writing. I don't know why I kept those two parts of my life separate, the baseball and the books, but I did. Until now. I've been reading some of Bill James's books, and my wonderful spouse bought me the Hardball Times Baseball Annual from last season. Next up, Moneyball. A lot of people have misconceptions about Moneyball, fed mostly by Joe Morgan and the like. While I'm interested in the Moneyball approach, I think the bigger issue at play in the book is the fight against the traditions of baseball and how deeply rooted in tradition on-field (and front-office) strategy really is.

Now that I'm done with the M.A. exam, I'm hoping that I actually have time to read for pleasure. My optimism is not based in any reality: reality is the dozen student papers that sit untouched on my computer. Perhaps I should get back to those and stop spending time writing about things I'll be reading when I have more time.


  1. I think I know the Borders guy you mention here.

    In other news, my pleasure reading consists of blogs, books about blogs, and cupcake cookbooks. I think that maybe I should use the impending life change to make my pleasure more a part of my wage-earning. Hm.

    In yet other news, how does a pear/gingerbread cupcake with creamy lemon icing sound for next weekend?

  2. I also knew exactly who you were talking about when you mentioned the Borders guy!

    Funnily enough, I just came back from Marden's-- I purchased TEN books for less than 3.50! They include trashy packaged YA lit from MTV, some (slightly) classier YA titles, a few adult novels, and some cultural studies books. AMAZING!

  3. A.: pear-gingerbread perfectly straddles the winter-spring divide. I say go for it!

    Kate: I love Marden's, don't you?

  4. Now I just want to go to Marden's....

    I'm glad you like the cupcake idea. I felt the same way about its seasonal appropriateness. All systems go!

  5. She's Not There is fantastic, both my husband and I have read it and are anxiously awaiting her visit. If Borders takes forever (be prepared!) you're welcome to borrow my copy until yours arrives. :) -Meg Abbott

  6. Thanks, Meg! A. lent me her copy, though. I'm going to hunker down this weekend and read She's Not There and some Canadian Lit. Joy!