June 1, 2008

On Books (and other B words)

Beloveds, this is rated a little rate-ier than my usual PG in spots. We are discussing lit-tra-chure. SO. Either cover the eyes of your children and forge ahead, or come back another, gentler day when I don’t spend a solid seven paragraphs talking about buttholes.

This is one side of my basement bookroom. Books come here to die:

For the record? You can see maybe 25% of the books actually present in the room. Maybe less than that.

Here you will find all my manly gunplay books---I keep going down and shoveling through and digging out Lehane and Connely and Child and rereading them, OH! and also Gruber. You will find Georgette Heyer from when someone told me she was like Jane Austen. I liked THE NONESUCH fine, but she isn’t. I know because you will also find the Jane Austens I read to tatters and replaced with the new ones upstairs.

You will find books I started and abandoned and think I may one day go back to. Books I started and finished and threw down the stairs in a pet of anger. Books I finished WEEPING with joy or rage and could not bear to part with. Books for loaning out. Books that remind me of a certain period in my life. Books given to me as gifts from people I love or at least remember fondly. Books in genres I thought I might want to write in and then realized I didn’t even like to READ in them. ARCs scammed from tradeshows. Books from the way back back, as far as MIDDLE SCHOOL. Even about 9,000 dollars worth of old theatre textbooks.

You could dig out every Robert Heinlein space opera up to and including Stranger in a Strange Land, but not much that came after. DIGRESSION: SiaSL is a watershed book. It’s where Heinlein stopped being an excellent writer and crossed over into genius. He blew some sort of brain fuse doing it, alas, and his post-Stranger books are mostly intergalactic porn, BUT OH BUT, what an exceptional thing he did. *clapclapclap*

Here you will find almost fifteen dollars worth of the classic literature books I got out of the FOUR FOR A DOLLAR bin at the now defunct OXFORD BOOKS to prepare myself to take the GRE. I read 100 great books in 50 days, and this is why I violently hate D H Lawrence. No one should have to read ALL of The RAINBOW in a 12 hour period. It is wrong. I suspect Heinlein may have attempted it after SiaSL, and it was the thing that broke him.

BUTT-Y DIGRESSION: After I typed the words THE RAINBOW, I had a memory surge, and I MEANT to send the following the e-mail to my friend Lydia:

“Lyd! Did you ever blog about that strange moment when you were reading The Rainbow where someone is poking around in someone else's butt for PAGES AND PAGES and it is this LONG LONG overblown astonishing prose about falling into and exploring the DARK MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE and after it went ON for a bit you had forgotten what he was describing because it was so WINDY AND LONG, so on about page four you suddenly came to and went, WAIT! WAIT! IS THIS A BUTTHOLE??? And it was. Do you know where that blog is? I am just now blogging about D H Lawrence and want to link to it.”

EXCEPT instead of typing out a new e-mail with her addy, I LAZILY pulled up the last email I had from Lyd, where she was introducing me and Sara to her friend Tracy. AND Then I accidentally hit REPLY ALL instead of reply. Lydia and Sara are used to me, but this was in RESPONSE to an INTRO…. NEAT! A summary of the exchange would read like this:

Lydia: Tracy, meet Joshilyn.
Tracy: Hi. Nice to meet you.
Lydia: Joshilyn, meet Tracy!

Super. The final irony being that of course THAT BLOG NEVER HAPPENED. I JUST got an email back from Lyd that said:

Uhhhh, I’m going to say that was a phone call. Garsh, I had forgotten all about that. Looking forward to reading your genteel and refined treatment of the subject.

SHE IS CORRECT! The butt-description thing was a PHONE CONVERSATION we had about 5 years ago. And here Lydia has earned the right to sniff, if she so chooses, and she may even say, “Because SOME of us have SCRUPLES about what we e-mail to total strangers.”

Heh. Or put up on the internet, for that matter.

ANYWAY, I have gone down to the Book-ephant Graveyard many many many times to try to sort through and ORGANIZE and CULL, and it always ends when, after 3 hours, my husband comes down to see if they have collapsed and buried me in a page-y grave, and he finds that I have spent 90% of the 3 hours sitting flat on my bottom on the concrete floor totally engrossed in some BOOK I forgot I owned.

SO. Scott said some sort of solution MUST BE FOUND.

I may have found one. Sort of. It sure doesn’t involve throwing out any BOOKS or anything CRAZY like that. Or not buying new ones or anything ABSOLUTELY RAVING FOAMY MAD like that either. I will tell you about it later though because I got sidetracked yacking about bottoms –-- HEY! IT HAPPENS --- and now my husband is taking me out to drink pink beverages and eat naughty fried foods and play billiards and I am NOT COUNTING WW POINTS. I AM NOT> YOU CANNOT MAKE ME!

Because it is our 14th Anniversary date. *preen*

I will virtuously begin to parse out my meager points again tomorrow. Tonight, I am going to rip my wig off and eat whatever I want. LA!

Posted by joshilyn at June 1, 2008 5:55 PM

I can't take you anywhere.

The thing about DH Lawrence is all the darkly veiled references to the darkly veiled orifice, you know, you're reading along and hearing about the "secret mystery" and the "hidden darkness" or whatever. I mean he does go on. I can't remember -- was it The Rainbow or was it Lady Chatterly? I know they are both rampant with buggery.

For everything you've ever wanted to know about DH Lawrence and the dark mystery, go read Doris Lessing:


Or if your name starts with Joshil, you should probably just put your fingers in your ears and say LA LA LA at this point.

Posted by: Lydia at June 1, 2008 7:10 PM

I have a suggestion! Bookmooch.com
A neighbor of mine introduced it to me a few weeks ago, and I LURVE IT. How it works is, you list books that you have that you want to give away. People that have those books on their "wishlist" then "mooch" them from you, which means you agree to mail your book to them. In return, you get a point for every book that you send out, and you have your own wishlist that when you "mooch" a book you get a point deducted from your account. So far I've sent out 10 books and had to delay about 15 more, because damn that's a lot of postage, even in media mail. And I've received, oh, probably six books to add to my pile of books that I will hopefully someday get around to reading, and have at least another five in the mail to me.

And PS... NO, gorgeous, I am NOT giving away my copies of Gods, Between, and TGWSS. Nevah.

Posted by: jenn at June 1, 2008 8:13 PM

The Rainbow has been on my to-read list for a couple years now. I'm not sure if your entry has moved it up or down in priority...

Posted by: Jessica at June 1, 2008 8:37 PM

I hated "The Rainbow." The end. (pun intended!) I had even blocked out that part you mentioned. I had to read it for my master's comps, and it wasn't even a test question!!!

I second the "Bookmooch" comment and add Paperbackswap.com to the list of wonderful trade sites. None of the others compare. In fact, I can't even remember them because I get zero traffic from them.

The "downside" is that you get credits for new books. Your Hubby may not like your giving away books only to get credit for MORE BOOKS. (Shhh, my hubby hasn't figured that part out yet! I might have as many books as you, but half my collection is boxed and in storage in our Missouri house. Here, they're double-stacked and boxed and everything else. What can I say, I don't have a basement space as luxurious as yours!)

Posted by: Pattie at June 1, 2008 9:13 PM

I wouldn't want the discussion of plumbing of dark mysteries to completely distract us all from wishing you a happy anniversary -- so, happy anniversary!

Posted by: RuthWells at June 1, 2008 9:45 PM

Happy Anniversary!!!

Posted by: Heather at June 1, 2008 10:32 PM

Buttholes. Heh.

Posted by: Heather at June 2, 2008 12:36 AM

Happy anniversary!

I wish I had a basement for all my books. Instead, I have a garage, which is where most people park cars. I, on the other hand, store books in the garage. Too many books. Enough to open a small bookstore, I should think, but I can't bear to part with even one book in the garage.

I do sell books regularly to Half Price Books ~ but only those that I can never imagine re-reading. Unfortunately for my darling husband, the "sell" pile is less than 1/10 of the "read" pile...and so he doesn't have a workshop in the garage (like so many other men) ~ instead he has a library in the garage. ;)

Love your books, BTW ~ they are in the "keep" pile and will always remain there. I refuse to even loan them out ~ for fear that recipient of such a loan might love them as much as I, and decide to keep (!!) one!

Posted by: Kim at June 2, 2008 12:42 AM

I thought I was the only person who had that many books. I feel so much better.

Posted by: Ann at June 2, 2008 8:14 AM

Slightly belated Happy Anniversary!!

Your Heinlein comment made me wonder if my two favorite Heinlein books (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Glory Road) are pre- or post-SiaSL and they are both from after-after. What that says about me, I don't know (and probably don't WANT to know...heh), but there you have it. :-)

And about Heyer, I like a lot of her books (The Grand Sophy, Devil's Cub, and The Inconvenient Marriage being faves of mine) but no...anyone who thinks she wrote like Jane Austen is delusional.

I've never read The Rainbow and hope to continue to avoid it indefinitely.

I'll be curious to hear your book solution, since my books are currently reaching critical mass. Again. (It happens every few years. sigh...)

Posted by: DebR at June 2, 2008 9:04 AM

OH yeah -- love Glory Road. No no I am talkign more about the books where Lazurus Long keeps appearing and humping everyone. EVERYONE. And he says teats a lot.

Posted by: Joshilyn at June 2, 2008 9:10 AM

Happy Anniversary!

I think the solution is more bookshelves. Both my husband and I studied English. I also studied Journalism, he, History and Psycology. We have books.

Posted by: JulieB at June 2, 2008 9:47 AM

Happy Anniversary. WE celebrate 15 on the 12th. . .hope you enjoyed the fried foods. I have not read THE RAINBOW, but I DO follow the LOLCATS, and could it could have inspired the delightful white fluffy kitty who POOPS rainbows?

Posted by: Roxanne at June 2, 2008 10:20 AM

Yeah, I'm with ya on the DH Lawrence dark mysteries. I was an English major in college and my senior seminar was on the man himself. It was 10 weeks of reading everything he ever wrote--all his novels, letters, essays, heck, if he put pen to paper, we read it. We even had to watch bad movie adaptations of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Yep, 10 horribly, dreadfully long weeks of my life I'll never get back. Funny thing, though... all those books are somewhere in my basement gathering mold these 20 years later.

Love your books, love your blog. Makes me laugh out loud and spew coffee on my keyboard everyday.

Posted by: Marla at June 2, 2008 10:21 AM

Totally agreed re: Heinlein and SiaSL. And I'm going to be giggling all day over Lydia's comment. "Rampant with buggery." Heh.

Posted by: Aimee at June 2, 2008 10:46 AM

Happy Anniversary, Tulip! And Mr. Tulip, of course.

BTW, I'm still waiting for you to call me back. Did you fall into a book? This would explain a lot...

Posted by: Amy-Go at June 2, 2008 11:03 AM

Oh your own personal library in one room. Too kewl. Now you just need a librarian, is Maisy considering bids yet?

Scratch rainbow off list.

People park cars in garages? Really?

Posted by: Cele at June 2, 2008 12:34 PM

happy anniversary! (and calories don't accumulate on special days like that anyway, so no worries there, right?)

and I would go with more bookshelves. definitely.
would offer to come organized (because I'm all weird like that with alphabetizing) but it would probably be too internet-stalker-ish. and nobody needs that.

Posted by: elizabeth at June 2, 2008 1:15 PM

Happy Anniversary !
I want your books.
Like my garage doens't look just like that, except in boxes.
Nothing like a good book or a thousand.

Posted by: desi at June 2, 2008 2:59 PM

I got rid of about 75% of my books before moving last summer and have regretted it deep in my heart ever since (like the time I was 21 and got all my hair chopped off because it was a brutally hot day). I am going to hoard books completely unapologetically for the rest of my life.

Posted by: sara at June 2, 2008 3:47 PM

We've been selling our older books on amazon.com. I pay the kids a percentage to list, sort, stack and ship them. Nice project for summer. The heavy ones we bring to the used book store to accumulate credit points- so we can buy MORE books.

Posted by: lindasands at June 2, 2008 3:50 PM

That picture made the OCD Virgo in me have a slight seizure.

My husband probably has as many, if not more, DVD's, but those are thin and slim and are arranged alphabetically on a coupla six-by-six foot cases that he built, and he needs to build a third, and it makes me twitch to think of.

Posted by: Jess at June 2, 2008 4:41 PM

And happy anniversary! WW points don't "count" on anniversaries.

Posted by: Jess at June 2, 2008 4:41 PM

I can't can't can't throw away any books. And even though I'm technically a Virgo I was born without any of those really handy OCD tendencies I hear so much about. I'll be looking forward to how you sort it out. Then I will pretend that I will do something with my mess too but will really just sit and eat contriband chocolate while flipping through the stacks.

Posted by: carolyn at June 2, 2008 7:54 PM

Maybe I'll show hubby the picture. No matter how many times I tell him, he doesn't believe that there are LOTS of other people out there who love and hoard their books like I do. He just doesn't grasp it at all.

Posted by: Brigitte at June 3, 2008 5:04 AM

Must alphabetize...must clean...must sort by size/style/color...must check to see if you ever put "Mental Floss" trivia game on top shelf in yard sale...must go back to work...

Posted by: Jill at June 3, 2008 8:27 AM