Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 3, 2010

Book Worm

"Jo, you got a package!" Ah yes. The sweetest words to my ear whenever I'm at work. This time of year, I hear it a lot more often because I have some birthday and Christmas money to spend. "Whoo Hoo! mineminemineminemine" I say as I dash out of my office to claim my prize, scissors in hand so I can rip the box open immediately, if not sooner. And there's nothing like that rush when you see it's a large box from, full of books and DVDs and CDs we've been coveting all year long on an ever-growing "amazon" list.

I've been reading since I was born, practically. I don't remember a time when I couldn't read. I had my library card to the Sandwich Public Library the summer before I went to kindergarten, and I was still 4 when I started school. Isn't this a pretty picture of the library? I wish I could take credit for it but I found it on line. This is the way I remember Sandwich. My mom taking me down there at night after dinner, the soft glow of the lights against the twilight sky.

A few years ago, when I started ordering from Amazon more frequently throughout the year than I do now, I would get so jazzed when the package would arrive. Since I use my work address for all package delivery, I get a lot of packages. But there's something special about the Amazon delivery. I finally figured it out. It's the same rush I got when I was in elementary school when the Scholastic Book Club box would arrive in the classroom.
Once or twice a year, our teachers would pass around the Scholastic catalog, full of books, magazines for kids and tweens and sometimes 45 records too. I would peruse the catalog obsessively, sneaking peeks during class instead of paying attention, at recess, on the school bus home, before dinner, after dinner, then make my final selections. Said selections were then submitted to my parents for final approval & their check for the books, which I would dutifully deliver to my teacher the next day. Then wait. And wait. Where was that damn box? Maybe I should ask. So I'd ask my teacher only to be informed that they hadn't even sent it yet because the rest of the class still needed to submit their order forms. Crestfallen, I'd return to my seat and try not to think about it anymore. In the meantime, I'd make my weekly pilgrimage to the library. Finally, one day I'd get to class and the Scholastic Books Box was there! My heart would leap with joy! Openitopenitopenit! Why isn't she opening the box!?!?!? Oh sure, make us wait till the END of the day to distribute the books! How'm I supposed to concentrate on stupid math when my books are in that box?!?!?!

Finally....the unveiling of the box contents close to the final bell of the day. The teacher would begin to distribute the elastic band bound books to the students. I couldn't wait to get my stuff! You'd think I'd remember more of what I bought, but the only ones I remember for sure are the 1975 Guiness Book of World Records,
"Bread and Jam for Frances" which I know I got in the 2nd grade b/c I can remember reading it out loud to my class during 'story time'. Who knew I was so bold?

I was fond of The Littles and their adventures too.
And my personal all-time fave magazine published exclusively for Scholastic Books, Dynamite.
Puzzles, posters, stickers, jokes, articles, iron-on got A LOT of bang for your buck with Dynamite. By the way, I was OBSESSED with "Land of the Lost" when I was in 5th grade in 1974, and I remember that I had this issue, despite the fact that the Sleestaks scared me to my very core.
Sadly, back in those days, I was a notorious 'purger', and as I outgrew them, I would cut out the stuff I wanted to keep for my scrapbook and throw them away. I could kick myself, and my mom, when I think back to the stuff I and/or we got rid of. She's kicking herself too, when we talk about it now. I would be sitting on a gold mine of 70's pop culture instead of trolling ebay, trying to buy back my childhood one Dynamite magazine or Wacky Pack at a time.

My most recent Amazon purchase included the following books:

Leading atheist Richard Dawkins' new book "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution", for Brian.

A set of very cool surreal books by author Sarah L. Thompson and artist Rob Gonsalves. I love this kind of art and I'm kicking around doing a blog post just to share some of the amazing artwork with you guys. The 3 books are so captivating. I could stare at the pictures for hours.

We've been following a very irreverent comic strip for years, called "Pearls Before Swine", by Stephan Pastis. They center around a group of animals who have very distinct personalities. The strips are clever, and with really unexpected & offbeat dialogue and "breaking the 4th wall" with the characters interacting with we, the readers. He also takes a lot of really sick, but witty, shots at the old comic strips that are still running, like 'Family Circus' and 'Dennis the Menace'.

I started reading "Zeeba Zeeba Eata" the other day, thinking I could quietly smile at the cartoons. But it was not to be. I got 5 pages in when I had to stop....erm, was made to stop..... because I was just screaming with uncontrolled laughter. Brian actually took the book away from me because he was trying to watch the football game. Even after he took it away, I kept erupting into explosions of giggles as the cartoons I'd just read replayed in my mind, and Brian's pleading with me to keep it down to a dull roar.
I had better make sure I have my inhaler at hand when I get to this rather large anthology. I'm even cracking up looking at the covers.
And I could not resist this one. When I move someplace, I embrace it, including all the weird stories and folklore. I started reading this last night and it's really, really good. I would like to visit some of the places mentioned. I just love Americana and kitsch.
I haven't been making the time to read like I used to, in the pre-laptop days, and I wonder if being in front of a computer alllllllll day at work and allllllll night at home is contributing to my inability to fall asleep. But I am going to start making the time because I miss my books. There's nothing like falling head first into a good story.


  1. I read every chance I get, and have done since I was a small child, so I understand the 'thrill' of something new to digest :0)

  2. You should read minbe. It's a good read!

    *hint hint*

    maybe next time you get a gift voucher?

  3. I just cannot resist books. The reason for buying the e-reader was I didn't have room for any more books (or even, truth be told, for the ones I already have, which will take me more than the rest of my life to read) but STILL I buy them.

    My big memory of reading was getting Macbeth out of the Children's Library when I was 10 (it must have been a bowdlerized version) and being instantly hooked on Shakespeare.

    I remember going through the process of learning to read words, but I don't remember learning to read music. By 3 or 4, I just could.

  4. Diane - I used to read a lot more... then came the internet. I need to make the time for it.

    WR - You wrote a book??? :O I didn't know that! What's it called? I can't even google it by author b/c I don't know your real name. ;p

    Val - We have no room for our books either, sadly. No room for another bookcase. I should go to the library but I never think about it.

  5. Awesome selection, Jojo!
    The IMAGINE A NIGHT cover had me spellbound. What a stunning picture, not to mention the mindfuck behind it.

    I NEVER read.
    Honestly. I simply can not settle down long enough to read something, besides blogs ;-)
    And for all that, I have a huge book collection. I can not resist buying books, especially at antique stores and those second hand swop stores.
    I buy them, and then Nush reads 'em!

  6. I absolutely adore books and have discovered that I really can't part with them. I did sell a few years ago to a local book store but I have regretted it since then so now I just hold on to them. I have no issue reading most of them over and over again.

    One of my favorite things is the "Friends of the Library Sale" that our public library holds once or twice a year. They take books that are either to old or they have to many copies of, and sale them for dirt cheap. Sometimes 10 for $1.00. I always leave with a box or two. At that price if I end up with a dud or two it isn't a big deal.

  7. JoJo - I did indeed! Here is the UK amazon link - it will give you the general idea. The biographical stuff is out of date - i got divorced later :(

  8. oh i'm a real book-worm - nothing better than losing yourself in a good yarn - likely why i don't blog so much these days - the computer novelty kinda wore off, but beautifully crafted stories never will

    in my old house we had a large study where the whole wall, top to bottom, was books - sadly downsizing meant disposing of them - i now only keep a few at home and give most of them away when i'm done

    being stuck indoors today, i've just posted about my last three reads - have you got any good recommendations?

  9. Axe - Those 'imagine' books are pretty freakin cool, that's fer shure!

    Siobhan - We've had to cull out a lot of books too and it broke my heart but we just don't have the room anymore. :(

    WR - I found your book on Amazon in the US too so I will order it. It got great reviews on!

    Ann - I loved "The Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian. If you liked "The Great Gatsby" then this is a MUST read. (Gatsby is one of my fave books). I still need to read "The lost symbol". Anything by Dan Brown is great, have you read "Deception Point?" I love that one. And "Sea Glass" by Anita Shreve.

  10. Love Amazon, loved Scholastic, loved Dynamite and unfortunately purged as well... really regret the destruction of my K-Tel records also. And yes, I have an Amazon credit card and earn points to buy books. What miles? The Imagine books look very cool.

  11. i'll look up the double bind - never heard of it. I read the first dan brown, and admit it was a pageturner, but haven't bothered with any more of his although i think rachel has left her copy of angels and demons here

    i did read a few anita shreve but after a while they got very samey - i found that with jodie picoult too -