Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Book Hunter's Christmas Part II: Attack of the Zombies

Jyg mentioned that my gift was a two parter, much like the one I got her. The second part of the gift, however, wasn't given to me on Christmas Eve like the purple flannel shirt was (also seen in the photo above). The second one was way cooler - mostly because I love zombies.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! has been an entry in my Amazon Wishlist since I "liked" the Facebook page. And now Jyg, the best girlfriend ever, has added it to my collection. What a joyous occasion that was.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Book Hunter's Christmas

I'm not a big Christmas fan. What I mean is, I'm not a big fan of the Christian concept of Christmas. That whole reason for the season crap. Not a big fan of it. But I come from a Catholic family and so I put up a front. Most of my family still thinks me as Catholic and I've more than once told them that I am not. Either way, I celebrate Christmas with them because it's the only time you get us together.

Now there's a misconception of book hunters. We love books and everyone expects us to want books for Christmas. This is true, but we also love other things. I got a new computer from my mother and a purple flannel shirt from Jyg. That's right, I said purple! (Love it, by the way.) I also didn't give books away for Christmas. Well, save one. I got Jyg a copy of Freud's letters.

The day before Christmas Eve, I went into a panic, realizing I didn't get my mother a single damn thing. I wasn't much in the holly jolly spirits this year because of the death of my old computer. Either way, I went on over to Hastings and snatched up a copy of To Wong Foo, on of her favorite movies starring the late great Patrick Swayze.

While there, I stumbled upon a copy of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. How could I resist? The book was only $5.49 used. It looked unread as well.

Also, while there, I saw my friend JD who was having some problems looking for Russell Brand's book. Well, ladies and gentlemen, if all goes well. I have a new book to hunt for the New Year.

Happy Holidays from the Book Hunter.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Do Nothing But Read Day

So I heard about this blog called Do Nothing But Read Day - set to take place this coming Sunday (20 December) - and I got to wonder how this would differ from any of my regular days. It won't, with the small exception that I probably won't be blogging about it.

I'm not mocking it, by the way. I know my tone can get to the point that I sound like I am. It's a great idea and I'll do my best to have others follow along. Just be sure to mark your calendars and don't forget! I'm putting it in my schedule the moment I hit Publish Post. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A book hunt comes to an end

The book hunt for Interview with the Vampire comes to an end. Mike Marino, who runs Bargain Book Store (located inside Georgia's Thrift Shop, 1305 W. Pecan, McAllen, TX), e-mailed me yesterday to tell me the book had arrived. It's a book I've been anticipating for quite some time.

Like all visits to any thrift bookstore, I leave with more than expected. Thankfully, they're all cheap. Along with the mass printing of Interview, I bought first printings of In The Flesh by Clive Barker,  Misery and Pet Sematary by Stephen King. The total price came out to be only $4.33.

In other news, I've been working on a how-to guide of hunting for books. It's pretty basic, filled with common sense, but I thought it might be useful to some of you.

Order by 12/20 to receive FREE shipping in time for Christmas!  See site for details.
Order by 12/20 to receive FREE shipping in time for Christmas! See site for details.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I've fallen in love with Sony Reader

Forgive Me For I Have Sinned

 A few weeks ago, I hung out with Jerry and Esmer (the half of Jyg and my Friday nights). We weren't going anywhere in particular, but we did land ourselves at two different bookstores (Hastings and Barnes & Noble) and two different Best Buys, Targets and a Wendy's. It was at the first Target where I saw the Sony Reader and its less costly pocket edition.

For quite sometime, I've taken a stand against electronic book readers such as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook because I love holding the hard copy in my hand, being able to flip back to a previous page, make notes (on sticky notes) and basically tear the book apart (in the less literal sense). I was asked by a creative writing professor what I thought of the future of the printed word. My answer was plain: "Books are never going to go away."

To this day, I still see that the printed word is better than the animated one. Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto, wrote a book about the effects that technology has on us. The irony of this, of course, that its avaible in Kindle edition and Nook edition. But there is something special about the Sony Reader that I loved. And it's hard to explain what, though. Is it all the public domain books I can read? The fact that I can store up to 350 books? I really don't know and will probably never understand. In the meanwhile, however, I'm going to stick to hard copies and shelves.

Il Decameron/ The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio

I stumbled upon this the other day while cleaning one of my many bookshelves. I don't know where I got it, or when, but I own it. First off, I know I didn't spend money on it because I wouldn't buy something I couldn't read, despite its novelty (which is strange, because I'm more than willing to buy something that I wouldn't read). Published in 1953, Il Decameron contains a introduction by Vincenzo Pernicone along with footnotes in the text. It's also much slimmer than my English copy of The Decameron, I book I was lent but never return - I doubt that its original owner even knows I still have it.

Because of its condition, I'm afraid this Italian printing of the book will once again find a place on my bookshelf, along with all the other books I cannot read - I have a German copy of a Simone de Beauvoir book - don't ask me which one, because I've misplaced somewhere in the study.

Don't forget to pick up your favorite copies of classic and contemporary literature, the perfect gift for the holiday season. Check out Abe Books store and save!

Returning Hitler's Art Book

Via Yahoo News:

DALLAS – After fighting his way across Europe during World War II, John Pistone was among the U.S. soldiers who entered Adolf Hitler's home nestled in the Bavarian Alps as the war came to a close.

Making his way through the Berghof, Hitler's home near Berchtesgaden, Germany, Pistone noticed a table with shelves underneath. Exhilarated by the certainty of victory over the Nazis, Pistone took an album filled with photographs of paintings as a souvenir.

"It was really a great feeling to be there and we knew, by that time, he was on his last leg," Pistone told The Associated Press.

Sixty-four years after Pistone brought the album home to Ohio, the 87-year-old has learned its full significance: It's part of a series compiled for Hitler featuring art he wanted for his "Fuhrermuseum," a planned museum in Linz, Austria, Hitler's hometown. (Read More)

 I think, to be honest, because I'm a book hunter, I wouldn't have been able to return it. That's just me, though.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"A worried man with a worried mind"

I've only read two books by Michael Chabon,  have only owned two and only one that I read yearly now, since 2007. The first book I picked up by the author was Wonder Boys, the book from which one of my favorite movies was adapted. (Side note: The film introduced me to Robert Downey, Jr. in a light I had never been able to see him in, becoming the first movie with the actor that I deeply enjoyed.) The second book I read was The Mysteries of Pittsburgh which has since been adapted into a movie of its own. The unread book, sitting upon on my shelf, is The Final Solution.

Because I've only read two books by the man, it's a long shot for me to say this, but I believe it anyway - Michael Chabon is quite possibly one of the greatest writers alive. Every time I pick up nearly dog-earred copy of Wonder Boys and turn to the first page, first sentence - "The first real writer I ever knew was a man who did all of his work under the name of August Van Zorn." - I am quickly sucked into the novel, no questions asked. There's something about the way he works his words in it, the way he breathes Grady Tripp alive, limping through life with James Leer and Terry Crabtree. These are people I want to know, want to be around with, despite the high levels of self destruction that may come in toll.

There's a lingering theme with the two books I read, however. Homosexuality is present in both Wonder Boys and Mysteries; however, in the latter it's an element of the plot. While Grady Tripp isn't gay, he's editor and long time friend, Terry Crabtree, is. When meeting him at the airport, Grady Tripp narrates, "He reached up with both arms to embrace me and I held on to him for an extra second or two, tightly, trying to determine from the soundness of his ribs whether he loved me still." Later, he states that all male friendships are quixotic in nature.

As with most books, I turn the page to examine my life through the narrator's or central character's. Here is a man who wakes up to see his wife has left, learns that his closest friend's career is hanging by a string (and is entirely his fault), feels like he's accomplished nothing in the last seven years, is jealous of the blooming relationship between his student and his editor, lusts after the female student living in his basement and learns that his mistress is pregnant with what would be their only child. Because I am nothing like Grady Tripp, I have to read between the lines of his three-day trek into a brave new world, a brave new Tripp. In the end, it's uncertainty for him. Uncertain that his wife, Emily, will return to him. Uncertain if his friendship with Crabtree will be there on Monday. Uncertain that he's half the writer he used to be. Uncertain if he wants to start a relationship with Sara and be the father to their love child. And it's the central uncertain theme is what brings me back to the book every year to coax me out the door and brave the world.

And in some ways, Grady Tripp reminds me of David Kepesh in the movie Elegy:
I think it was Bette Davis who said old age is not for sissies. But it was Tolstoy who said the biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age. Old age sneaks up on you, and the next thing you know you’re asking yourself, I’m asking myself, why can’t an old man act his real age? How is it possible for me to still be involved in the carnal aspects of the human comedy? Because, in my head, nothing has changed.
With Tripp, his third marriage ended the same way his first two. A continuing pattern of infedility is what leaves him standing in the rain, pondering, while Sara offers him the ride after his entire life has sailed down the gutter. In the end, after he only has that Lovecraftian (August Van Zornian?) tuba beside him, he must ponder if there will be more.

"Things Have Changed" by Bob Dylan from the Wonder Boys Soundtrack

Photo sources:
Photo Three

Order by 12/20 to receive FREE shipping in time for Christmas!  See site for details.
Be sure to order by 12/20 to receive FREE shipping in time for Christmas! See site for details.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hot for Teacher

Desiring The Professor of Desire

I started my love affair with David Kepesh when I first read a criticism piece by John Gardner - a entitled The Breast after the novel it was on. Never before had I heard of Philip Roth - I must've been a sophomore in college and still toting around genre books as if they were the most literary thing I've ever seen. I was interested in becoming a writer myself and picked up a copy of Gardner's On Writers & Writing by mistake, thinking it was something about teaching me to be a better writer (in a sense, I suppose, it was).

I had only read the Kafka's short story, The Metamorphosis, solely because I had to - like I said, I was younger then. I never before read something like that before and thought that I would never see or hear of anything similar again. Imagine my surprise when I picked up that Gardner piece and read that some guy named Philip Roth had written something in the same vein, only the dude had woke up, not a giant grotesque bug but a giant breast!

I bought The Breast for only eleven cents on Amazon (obviously, not including shipping) and lost myself in the banal life of David Allen Kepesh and how he one day woke up to being a breast. About a year later, I decided to give Roth another chance and picked up The Dying Animal and found myself, once again, reading about David Kepesh. Looking through the also by Philip Roth page, I found that there were three and I had purchased the last one - according to the list - so I set off to buy The Professor of Desire.

Years past since I last ventured into the world of Professor Kepesh - though I had watched Elegy, the adaptation of the novel The Dying Animal - before I picked up The Professor of Desire. I had my attempts in the past with reading the book, but nothing came out of it. I just returned into the shelf it lived for the past years. Just last week, however, I decided that the season was right and I was in the mood for a little desire of my own. I quickly got myself into it, losing myself in Roth's magic.

The man is a genius. How he manages on creating such "banal" characters who have more than banal lives is beyond me. In the novel, Kepesh returns to his childhood, mapping his sexual origins from a crude Herbie Bratasky to a wild and crazy gal in Europe to his estranged wife and finally landing on the possible love of his live, Claire. It's a semi-different Kepesh from Animal and Breast. Nevertheless, he still has the same fears, the same desires and the same thoughts streaming through his mind.

However, it makes sense that he seems more down to earth in the sexual world in his latter days in the novel, simply because these are possibly pre-The Breast memories and narration and obviously pre-The Dying Animal Kepesh. Nevertheless, it's still an enjoyable read, worth of more praise that I am giving it, but this laptop I'm on isn't letting me express myself further - it's a loaner.

Order by 12/20 to receive FREE shipping in time for Christmas!  See site for details.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let Direct TV make your holiday season right

It's that time of the year again, when cable companies want to take more out of your pocket and give you less programming. Is that fair? Of course not! But nothing's fair when it comes to cable TV. Never, fear, however. I have just the site for you that promises better direct satellite TV for the holiday season.

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Be sure not to miss a second of your favorite shows, sports and movies this holiday season, as satellite Directv offers the best in DVRs. Better yet, get into the action with the best HD channels money can buy.

Leave the Grinch of a cable providers behind and get yourself Direct TV satellite.