Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bookshelf Blues

Good morning!

One of the best and the worst parts about working in a library is the daily access to millions, M-I-L-L-I-O-N-S of books. For free. It sounds pretty obvious but you wouldn't believe how excited I still get about poaching titles from the wild during the course of my working day.There's really nothing comparable it to vocationally because the "free" aspect of it never gets old. If I worked in a Dairy Queen, it might, might become possible, faced with daily and unfettered access to ice cream, for me to lose my interest in double dipped cones. If I worked in a Kinko's, I might eventually run out of things I thought would make interesting photcopies (my head, Charlie McCarthy puppets, fifties' copies of Better Homes and Gardens, etc, etc). Being at the library, and forever curious, however, I NEVER run out of books I'm interested in reading or lose the will and want to read those books!
I work here! Get jealous! :)

The end result, when coupled with my new, super busy work schedule, my die-hard inistence on not taking any of the books home because-I'm-here-more-than-I'm-there-plus-I-have-MANY-books-at-home, and my stubborn refusal to leave a book I like unchecked out? I have ten books in my cubicle workspace that are waiting, both patiently and unpatiently, to be read! I thought I would share with you some of the titles in case you're interested. Maybe the sheer shame of the volume of books here will encourage me to read them in a more timely fashion. Also, do you ever notice how much you can tell about a person by the books they have checked out? See if you learn anything new about me!

NB: I have no blessed idea what the Blogger editor is going to make this page look like! Maybe I was too ambitious with my layout? Have pity on a poor, web design-illiterate blogger! I should add "HTML/XML Design for Dummies" to my list.

  • The 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make by Dr. Arthur Freeman 
  •  "The earliest lesson most people get on the subject of criticism is just to accept it...Children are taught to believe that when parents, teachers, and other authority figures criticize them, [they] are always right." (p. 103) 
  • When I started working at the library, I spent a lot of time reading self improvement books (etiquette, manners, how-to-throw-dinner-parties, how to cook, etc) and gradually shifted towards the occasional self-help book. This one, and Don't Take It Personally! are two of the best. I hate when the psychologist/author says something like "add your personability quotient (x) with your score from the predictive compatibility quiz"...and LOVE when the book just tells you, in plain talk and case study examples, how to re-think aspects of your own personality so that you're happier with yourself and others. Who doesn't want to be both?
  •  Parisian Chic by Inès de la Pressange
  • "The trench: the intended look: You've been wearing it forever, like a second skin." (p. 26)
  • I always get jealous when I see how girls in magazines like Cosmo look when they pair a striped bateau neck top with slim khakis and black ballet flats. "Simple" is weirdly enough not something I'm very good at! I feel more at home in a flowy, chiffon, jungle print hostess gown and clip-ons the size of a dinner plate than I do in jeans and a t-shirt, but maybe this book will help me learn how to do low-key in a non-plain-Jane-y kind of way.
  • How badly do I want to look like Charlotte Gainsbourg? Let's just say BADLY.

  • Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst
  • "Lauren Hutton called earlier today to RSVP to Anthony's gala..." (p. 171)
  • I'll read anything about someone's dysfunctional, overly rich, eccentric family. Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden is in the top five of my all time favorite books (a branch of the Vanderbilt family tree slowly falls apart during the young, Edward-Gorey obsessed heroine's adolescence). I'm hoping from the reviews this onewill be similarly dark, hilarious, and shabbily opulent?
  • "The Lower Garden district has a distinct faded beauty that isn't seen in its counterpart. You can see the remnants of a more vibrant past beneath the crumbling facade of the aging mansions." (p. 107)
  • We're going to New Orleans in less than a week for a vacation! I haven't had two seconds to even crack this book. Still, I'm sure we'll find some trouble to get into whether or not I do end up referencing and cross referencing it. Any tips for you retrophiles out there who've already been? I'm pretty much obsessed with doing a "shark attack" after hearing about them on Eartha's blog, but that's where my "must-do" list begins and ends. I hope I see someone walking an alligator down the street on a leash. There! I said it! And a jazz trumpeteer doing what he does best. Fingers crossed!

  • Hot Toddy by Andy Edmonds
  • "Thelma started crying hysterically. Somehow she felt, once again, that she was the cause of the problem." (p. 146)
  • Thelma Todd, the "ice cream blonde", was an actress in the twenties' and thirties' who worked mainly in comedy movies (Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, etc). Spoiler alert: She was found dead in her car in her garage under mysterious circumstances. Possible suicide/homicide AND golden age of Hollywood? This will make a fine follow up Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon entry on the murder. Sometimes these "true confession" style Hollywood biographies are a little's hoping this one is just the right mix of glitz and macabre detail (like me!). Speaking of macabre detail....
  • Bone Voyage by Stanley Rhine
  • "Humans share with all of their mammalian cousins a nifty method of growing bones, epiphyseal. In the young, the bones are ossified nots as a unity, but in pieces." (p. 83)
  • I started this book about a year ago, got throught the first two or three chapters, and had to return it because there were some outstanding holds on the book (I think it was on some forensic anthropology course reading list?). I came across it again in the stacks the other day and decided to try again. The grisly, solving-murders stuff appeals to me on an Unsolved Mysteries level, while the stuffiness of some of the technical information is alleviated by the author's intentionally corny-at-times prose style (see the title and the use of the word "nifty" in the passage above). Rhine's business of working primarily with crime scene corpses has not stripped him of his sense of humor! Also, I love learning new medical terms (see me, at dinner parties after a marathon Grey's Anatomy viewing, trying to work in words like "contusion" and "intercranial" into conversation).
  • Cheerful Money by Tad Friend
  • "My mother would wryly say 'Smiling, the boy fell dead' to call attention to how she was bearing up (p. 114)
  • ALL ECCENTRIC BLUE BLOODS ALL THE TIME! I ran through the first two chapters of this at Panera down the street, using a soup bowl to prop open my book as I chowed down on a sammie and read about the author's founding father ancestors. In a similar fashion to royal families, it's always interesting to hear the different weird, weird permuations families of great wealth take on. All the funny little WASP rituals are fun to jot down as well, such as Friend's mother's retort (from a Browning poem on a boy soldier's last moments with Napoleon, I mean, naturally).

  •  Eccentric Glamor by Simon Doonan
  • "Your thirtieth birthday is an important landmark. ou are now ready, after ten years of dicking around with your personal style, to select a signature lipstick." (p. 118)
  • All eccentric, all the time! They had me at the cover! I like to look up titles I'm interested in on Amazon and then check "People who bought this also bought" for recommendations (which, naturally, I turn around and grab from the shelves. Sorry, Amazon! You already got all my textbook money), and this one came up I think when I looked up the Wendy Burden book. The quote from this one alone is worth picking the book up, right? Right. I still have three more years of blithe disregard for "signature style" before I have to choose my signature lipstick, but it's good to start thinking about it early.
  • Let's Bring Back by Leslie M.M. Blume 
  • "Mechanical desks...each desk has all sorts of hidden compartments and secrets, and, by pressing a button, could automatically be changed from a writing desk to something else." ( p. 143)
  • #1, I now want a mechanical desk, #2, I agree with just about everything listed in this book as something to be "brought back", from men wearing hats to Sunday picnics. Bid time return! There're probably even some things I haven't heard of that I'll wish would come back in style. If I could only find the time to read the book!

  • My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt 
  • "I sometimes think of Judy in the week her television series recorded its final show in 1964, and wish for a way to reach out to her." (p. 75)
  • After reading who knows how many books about Judy Garland (one of my all-time idols), I'm interested to read about someone who's as interested as me! If not way, way more so. From Amazon: "In this unique book, Boyt travels deep into the underworld of hero worship, examining our understanding of rescue, consolation, love, grief, and fame through the prism of Judy. Her journey takes in a duetting breakfast with Mickey Rooney, a munchkin luncheon, a latenight spree at the Minnesota Judy Garland Museum, and a breathless, semi-sacred encounter with Liza Minnelli. " YES?!
  • Incidentally, did you guys see Sex and the City 2? I would skip the whole thing entirely, in spite of my (shoe) closeted love for Carrie, except for the small cameo appearance by Liza Minnelli. This all the way happened:

What's on your "to read " shelf lately? Have any die-hard recommendations for a bibliophile in a sea of books on a daily basis? Do tell!

Tomorrow, I'm going to (hopefully) get my act together and take pictures of the rest of the weekend finds. See you then!


  1. Oh my goodness! That's fantastic! And what a great bunch of books you've got! I'm adding to my list from your list. Particuarly interested in the Parisian fashion book and that FICTION RUINED MY FAMILY one. Awesome!

  2. Hollywood Babylon is one of the best books Ive ever read. I have Hollywood Babylon II but didnt read it yet, this has inspired me to pull it off of my shelf.

  3. Anyone who gets to work in a Carnegie Library .. I am jealous of!! I am photographing all the Carnegies in the state of Kansas as one of my projects this summer (yes, for fun!). We have lost a number of them, so when I see one that is being utilized for the town library or at least something useful, I get pretty excited. That building is a beauty!



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