Sunday, January 28, 2007

Nothin' like a good book or two or nine

We had a mid-term conference for JET on Friday. The conference itself was pretty forgettable, as they tend to be. But the book sale which was also going on there (JETs could donate books which were then re-sold for cheap).

So here's What We Bought and Why (in no particular order other than this is how they are currently stacked up on my living room floor):

1. Tom Holt, Mighter than the Sword = Because I enjoyed Falling Sideways, this book is actually comprised of two of Holt's novels (more bang for my buck), and it was cheap.

2. W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence = Because it's "real" literature, I enjoyed Of Human Bondage which I read many years ago, and it was cheap.

3. Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic = Because I figured I'd have fun confessing to the fact that I actually bought it, I hear it is funny, and besides, it was cheap.

4. Joe Haldeman, Forever Peace = Randal's pick. Because this is (apparently) one of Haldeman's best books, and it was cheap.

5. Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha = Because I have always wanted to read this, and it was cheap.

6. Pico Iyer, The Lady and The Monk = Randal's pick. Because Pico Iyer is just a good, good writer (I agree on this wholeheartedly), and it was cheap. It's also about Japan, incidentally.

7. Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost = I convinced Randal to pick this one up, because Ondaatje is better than God. He was willing, because it was cheap.

8. Charles Bukowski, Tales of Ordinary Madness = Ummm, because Randal likes Bukowski? (I certainly don't.) Also cheap.

9. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient = See Anil's Ghost above.

We paid 100 yen (about $1) for each of these. Sweet.

I have given up on the other books I was reading recently (though I plan to go back to Dogs and Demons, and probably Cryptonomicon, sometime soon, I never want to crack open the cover of The World is Flat ever again), and I have been devouring The English Patient. If you only know the movie, do yourself a HUGE favour and read the book instead. The movie blew chunks - a number of key things were changed from the book, and it just sucked. The book is magical.

And now, I must go decide whether or not I am recontracting to stay here for another year. My school is expecting a decision tomorrow, though technically I have until Friday to let them know. I need someone to cause a diversion, please!


Mark Reynolds said...

If you really want a diversion I could start a literary flame war on your blog. Like this: The loathing for Ondaatje to which I cling is of an intensity completely out of proportion to the actual harm he has done me, yet I treasure it nonetheless, sheltering and feeding it like burning coal on which I might roast his flabby prose. On the other hand, Amynah has read Anils's Ghost - as well as Shopaholic and Iyer's book - and liked them all. She is a woman of intelligence, learning and taste. I, on the other hand, am an unregernerate crank.
Aww... I kind of backed out there. I'm not cut out to be a troll I guess.

Marie-Lyne said...

Beaucoup de livres cheap!!!

Waterlily said...

Don't the Japanese have public libraries? You could borrow Japanese books. Start at the grade 1 level. Hum... maybe the pre-school books... the toddler books? The infant books?

julie said...

Mark - I count you as among my favourite people in the whole world. However, I have only four words for you in response: You. Like. Salman. Rushdie.

Marie-Lyne - Je sais! C'était vraiment fantastique - une pièce chacun. Needless to say, I was happier than a pig in shit. :)

Waterlily - Now you're starting to sound like my mother. One dollar! $1!!! That kind of price can't be turned down. Besides, the proceeds from the sale went to charity (house-building in India, which some JETs here are involved in), so I was really just exercising my humanitarianism.

Mark Reynolds said...

Hey! Only Midnight's Children - never read anything else by him. Or if I have, I've blocked it from my memory. I would kill for single dollar books - there's an English bookstore here, where even the pulpiest of pulp detective novels (for which I have an admitted weakness) cost 15 Euros, minimum. "Real" literature starts at 20, and they've no non-fiction at all, except for "The World is Flat" in which I already had no interest; less after your reaction to it. Of course, you do like Ondaatje....