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Book recycling 2009


Though I once praised my restraint at last year's Will County Book Recycling Event, having only taken home nine books, yesterday my self-control showed signs of strain. My take is most of the left-hand pile: Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Nevil Shute's On the Beach, Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon, Richard Condon's Death of a Politician, Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain, Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, William Leuchtenberg's Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, Frank Norris' The Octopus, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Andre Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog, John Cheever's Falconer, Calvin Trillin's Runestruck, and Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run?

Random thoughts:
+ Whitman, Amis, O'Neill, Norris and Flaubert were absolute no-brainers.
+ Shute's book has been recommended repeatedly around the web as a post-apocalyptic classic, a genre which I find myself compulsively drawn to.
+ Condon wrote The Manchurian Candidate, which I absolutely loved.
+ Obama's neo-New Deal policies have me thinking I don't know nearly enough about the original New Deal, and Leuchtenberg's book is supposedly one of the better single-volume studies of the subject.
+ Trillin is one of my favorite writers, and I think this is one of only two novels he's written (the other being the wonderful Tepper Isn't Going Out).
+ Falconer gives me one less excuse for never having read Cheever.
+ I already read and loved What Makes Sammy Run? in a cheap paperback edition, but this one is the 50th anniversary edition in hardcover, which includes Schulberg's magazine short stories that were the genesis of the novel.

Julie picked up a few sci-fi titles, and the entire right-hand pile is Maddie's. And that is her, of course, doing some sort of book recycling interpretive dance.

Oh, and if picking up fourteen books in one day wasn't enough, we're going back today. But only to drop off six more boxes of old books that have been sitting in our basement for six years. Really, I swear.

June 14, 2009 in Books | Permalink


Damn, you put me to shame. I've only read (or tried to read) some of those. Denying my grief over not making enough time to read is one of my main coping mechanisms.

Posted by: Tim at Jun 14, 2009 11:55:49 AM

I can see why your resolve weakened. Good choices, all, though I've read only maybe a third. "On the Beach" IS good; the movie's not bad, either.

Posted by: Marquis of Graustark at Jun 14, 2009 5:08:32 PM

haha I understand the feeling. Here in Houston we have these yearly library book sales and I can't help but by at least 100 books. This year though I only bought about 70 so that's something. :)

Posted by: Lisette at Jun 14, 2009 9:50:14 PM

These are some great titles. I too am reading up on the New Deal in relation to Obama's policies; my used-book source has been Arthur Schlesinger's The Coming of the New Deal.

Dubus's book is quite good -- structured almost like a classical tragedy, where small mishaps turn into a big misunderstanding -- but skip the movie, starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.

Posted by: Kinohi at Jun 15, 2009 7:19:21 AM

Good catch you pulled in, there! Are the 6 boxes the remainder of the Janicek Archives?

Posted by: beth at Jun 15, 2009 8:39:08 AM

Tim, don't be shamed until I actually read one or two of them. Grabbing free books is the easiest thing in the world, and not much of an accomplishment.

Beth, it's a good chunk of the Janicek Archives - 11 boxes, in fact, including what we took over on our second trip yesterday. While we were there, I didn't exactly see any of Helen's books being snapped up. I suspect most if not all of them will be pulped soon.

Kinohi, I've seen the movie and actually liked it, so I'm expecting even more from the book. I've wanted to read it for several years now - my wife read it and said it was great.

My will weakened even further yesterday, and I picked up three more: Stendhal's The Red and the Black, a Flannery O'Connor three-fer (Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and The Violent Bear It Away, all in one volume) and Eric Schlosser's Reefer Madness. I'm now vowing not to buy another book for the remainder of 2009, though I'll probably cave in a month or two.

Posted by: Pete at Jun 15, 2009 8:54:50 AM

I'm just wondering when we can expect a photo of you engaging in interpretive dance. That's not too much too ask for, is it?

Posted by: Ben Tanzer at Jun 15, 2009 1:02:58 PM

I assume your request includes my stepping on Julie's toes, since that's the only way I know how to dance.

Posted by: Pete at Jun 16, 2009 1:50:06 PM