Sunday, March 15, 2009

Barnes and Noble Binge

I was feeling a little blue this morning, so I decided to drown my sorrows at the bookstore. Some folks drink too much. Others go on an eating bender. I buy books. I really should be saving my money now. The annual trip to Florida for baseball spring training is coming up in a couple of weeks, plus the long lean summer months will be here before you know it. But that's the thing with going on a beat-the-blues do things you probably shouldn't and things you might regret later. As I look at my purchases, I don't think there will be any regret, at least from a reading enjoyment perspective.

I walked into Barnes and Noble and immediately cheered up. Kim Harrison's new book was on the shelf. YAAAYYYY! Kim Harrison is one of two authors for whom I will cheerfully cough up $25 for a hardcover. The other is Laurell K. Hamilton. Kim's book titles are always fun. She had a Clint Eastwood theme going for a while. (The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, A Fistful of Charms, and my fav The Outlaw Demon Wails) Her latest is called White Witch, Black Curse. I'm not aware of a Clint Eastwood reference on this one, but I love the cover. Her series is set in an alternate Cincinnati, and this cover features Fountain Square in the Ever-after. In a previous life, I lived in Cincy and ate lunch almost every summer day on Fountain Square, so I'm digging the cover.

So...Kim Harrison...feeling better. I move from the new releases to the table marked "Reading Club Selections," and suddenly I'm feeling shallow. Everything on the table was so...literary. My pleasure reading tends to be commercial, genre, mass-market fiction. I actually browsed over a couple of the Reading Club Selections and decided I should form my own reading club. I know there are a lot of urban fantasy/paranormal romance readers out there.

Dismissing the pretentious, literary titles (yeah, I know, I'm an English teacher), I moved on to the the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section. I'm somewhat aggravated that several of the authors I like have become so successful, they are now being published in hardcover instead of mass-market paperbacks. I'm happy for their success...really, I am...but I hate having to wait for the paperback. I buy a LOT of books, and I can't justify buying them all in hardcover. I had to wait three months until I got a gift certificate for Christmas before I bought the last Charlaine Harris book. I do have a library card, but I don't like giving my books back, and libraries frown on that. I could actually start my own library because I have boxes and boxes of books. Anyway, I digress. I skipped past the new hardcovers and picked up a book by Karen Chance. She's good, and I haven't read the third book in her series yet.

On to the romance section. Paranormals are dominating the romance section now. As a lover of paranormal romance this is a good thing, as a writer of paranormal romance, I wonder if it's working against me. The market seems a little glutted now. There were a lot of authors I hadn't read before, and one cover in particular caught my eye. I read the back cover and had to suppress the urge to cry. Seriously. The book looked really good, but the male love interest had the SAME NAME as my male love interest. *sigh* I was so depressed, I left the section without buying anything.

Now I'm in a total funk, the initial excitement over Kim's new book overshadowed. I drifted listlessly to a table in the middle of the store. There was a sign, but I don't remember what it said. What stood out to me was the book title, Why we Suck: A Feel Good Guide to staying Fat, Lazy, Loud, and Stupid. It seemed to fit my mood so I picked it up. Denis Leary wrote it. He actually calls himself Dr. Denis Leary on the cover. The chapter titles alone were laugh out loud funny. I stood in front of the table and read almost a whole chapter. At one point, I was laughing so hard, a total stranger stopped and asked me what was so funny, so I showed him and we laughed together. (It was a diatribe on America's fascination with Britney Spears' vagina.) I'm grateful to Denis for the laugh, but I have to admit I didn't buy the book. For $27, I can go to the comedy club with my girlfriends and have a couple of drinks to boot. I will get it when it goes to paperback. Funny stuff.

On the table with Denis was a small hardcover called Barak Obama: The Inaugural Address 2009. His inaugural address is bound with both of Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address. However, what induced me to buy it was the last piece in the volume, Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance." My eldest son recently read this in his English class, and he was impressed by it. This is the passage I saw when I opened the book. "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as is his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till." Amen, brother.

My last stop was the bargain table. All authors eventually end up here. I saw Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Harlan Coben, etc, etc. I grabbed a hardcover Sherrilyn Kenyon I haven't read for $5.

My stack of books to be read is taller now. Several of them will go to Florida with me. I haven't completely overcome my blue mood, but Ralph is right. I have to keep tilling the ground if I want to enjoy the nourishing corn. I'm going to check in with my characters (whose names are inextricably tied to who they are), and then settle in with Kim Harrison and a bag of Dove dark chocolate.

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