Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Salon: Breaking All the Rules

This month has been very bookish despite the fact that fall semester has started for me out here in California. So even though I have almost no spare time to read that hasn't stopped me from acquiring books in any way that I can. Which really sucks since just last Saturday I signed up for J. Kaye's Ban-on-Spending Book Challenge. The premise of the challenge is not to spend another dime on books until you read the books you already own that are on your TBR list. I tried, I really did. But within a couple of days I had books in my mailbox from Paperbackswap and Amazon. Having a $1 bookstore just down the street from where I live doesn't help matters either. Every single book in the store is only one dollar and you can always find great finds.
Friday I promised my younger siblings and my kids that if they behaved well while we were school shopping, I would take them to our local $1 bookstore. Mind you, I forgot all about the the ban on spending. We went in and I came out with seven books for myself, which brings this month's total of books bought or traded to 26, a record for me. But can I really complain when I acquired Munro, Welty, Lutz, Smith, O'Brien, Hoffman, and the many other book covers you see throughout this post for one dollar each or for free? You will hear no complaints from me.

I felt guilty for about three seconds before hugging my new books protectively and pushing the thought out of my mind. I'll try the challenge again September 1st. Not a day before.
Too bad none of the books fit into any of the challenges I signed up for this week: Lambda Challenge and Carl V's 3rd annual Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Challenge. The Lambda Challenge is an ongoing challenge based on the Lambda Literary Foundation awards. Every year the foundation gives out awards to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender literature. Since this is a genre I totally forgot about, I'm in. I have no idea what I'm going to read yet.
Carl's R.I.P. Challenge is one of my favorite challenges. Every year I count down to fall and the chance to sign up and read as many scary stories as I can. I'm a chicken so I read more mysteries than thrillers. Because my list of potential reads is long, I won't list it here. You can read it here though.
This week I managed to finish three books and a couple of essays. Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby is a collection of essays about the books he's read for The Believer magazine. The collection is smart and funny, a great collection for any book lover's shelf. I've read several books by Hornby including About a Boy, How to be Good, The Polysyllabic Spree, and currently High Fidelity. You cannot go wrong reading Hornby.

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg was this month's re-read. It's a pretty simple story about a woman named Nan who leaves her husband, home, and life as she knows it to figure out who she is and what she wants. Along the way she talks to strangers who are almost always women to see how their own lives turned out and are they living the life they want. Written as letters to Nan's husband and also as diary entries, the book is a quick and enjoyable read.

Also read this week was Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by the Pearl Poet. This was required reading for my British Lit class, but I'm glad I read it. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is thought to have been written in the 14th-century by an anonymous writer. It's about a mysterious, huge, green knight coming to King Arthur's court to challenge any knight to a game he had in mind: he would let them strike a blow to him with his large, scary axe in exhange that in one year and a day that same knight will find him and stand a blow from the green knight. There's a lot of embrassment because no one was stupid enough to volunteer. Arthur ended up volunteering and before he could strike a blow to the green knight, his cousin Sir Gawain, offered to take Arthur's place. Gawain cuts the knight's head off thinking that would be the end of the game only for the green knight to pick up his rolling head, tell Gawain who he was and the name of his manor, before riding on his large green horse with his head in his hands. The rest of the poem had to do with Gawain's journey and what happens. I have to thank my professor for requiring this and holding my class's hands through this. For a minute I thought about changing my major from English to accounting.
Yesterday I started reading Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I was kind of wary about reading it since every book after Twilight hasn't been as fulfilling. But Breaking Dawn is proving to be as much of a page-turner as the three books before it. I plan on finishing this morning so I can start on my many pages of homework. I'll post my review later on this week.
Okay this post is so long. So I'm off to drink too much coffee and read while shouting at Bella to quit being so selfish. Have a great week.


gautami tripathy said...

I envy you! I only read one book in August!

Do check on my reading plans

Andi said...

Holy Moly would I love to read as fast and as much as you do. Nice work.

tanabata said...

You've acquired some great looking books! I can never join any kind of book-buying ban because it just never works. I am buying less this year but none? Impossible! ;)
Good luck!

N.Vasillis said...

Let's hope I do better this month!

Anonymous said...

Have you read Hornby's young adult book Slam yet? My wife recently read it and said it was great.

As for the no spending challenge, I joined it but now I'm getting a part-time job at a local bookstore!!!! Arrrrrrgh! ;)

N.Vasillis said...

Just a Reading Fool: I have no idea how you are going to manage that! I just broke the challenge again today by buying The Odd Sea by Fredrick Reiken. But I'm taking it back.

Stormfilled said...

Good book purchases!

You know, I think Hoffman's The River King would fit really well into RIP...

N.Vasillis said...

Stormfilled: Thanks for letting me know! I wasn't sure if River King fit the challenge. I'm adding it to my list.