The most dangerous place in the (sort of) great state of Idaho isn’t anywhere in the woods, nor the mountains, nor the uncomfortably high waters of the river, but the warehouse across the street from the library during their spring booksale. It isn’t exactly a monetary danger; I got seven books today for a little over a dollar. No, this is rapidly becoming a spatial issue, as well as a timing and attention span issue. Am I going to run the risk of letting my shelves grow unorganized and crammed once again? Yes. Am I going to want to read all of these new books immediately and at the same time? Also yes.
But, of course, I’m not going to stop any time soon. So, without further ado, let’s see what I hauled home in my bag today.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
- Diary by Chuck Palahniuk
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
- The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
- Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
- Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
(And here’s the real miracle: every single one of these were either books on my reading list or books I already love but didn’t own!)
First of all, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is my favorite book of all time, and until now, I didn’t own a copy. Blasphemous, I know. But I must have checked it out from the library dozens of times.
The unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.
This book borderlines on hard to talk about because of how much I love it. It has some of the most amazingly fleshed out and human characters, and Nurse Ratched is one of the most formidable villains classic literature has to offer. Plus, the movie version made me feel weird things about Brad Dourif and pretty much launched my disturbing taste in men (he was my age when he made the movie, I definitely could have hit that, but I digress). My obsession with it started in high school, where, even though I was in AP English and we weren’t reading it, I was given it by my journalism teacher, and did the worksheets she had her regular-level English class do. Just for fun.
This edition (from 1964) is in pretty good shape, although it does have some sections marked up and circled, but it’s in pencil so I might try to gently erase them when I get around to rereading it. I probably should be upset that it’s marked up, but honestly, with used books, I like when they have personality. Especially with a book I love as much as this one, because I know that someone else experienced it, too.
I’ve really been wanting to get into Chuck Palahniuk after reading and loving Haunted. I still haven’t read anything else of his (no, not even Fight Club), and honestly, this was one I hadn’t even heard of. It’s never on the shelf when I look at the Palahniuk selection at Barnes and Noble, so it is a mystery to me.
Misty Wilmot has had it. Once a promising young artist, she’s now stuck on an island ruined by tourism, drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but that doesn’t stop his clients from threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they’ve found on the walls of houses he remodeled.
Suddenly, though, Misty finds her artistic talent returning as she begins a period of compulsive painting. Inspired but confused by this burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives. What unfolds is a dark, hilarious story from America’s most inventive nihilist, and Palahniuk’s most impressive work to date.
Sounds interesting enough. I’m not entirely sure I would pick it up if it wasn’t Chuck Palahniuk, and even now since I’ve only read one of his books, I’m not sure I’ll like it, but I think his style is hilarious, so I’ll certainly give it a try.
Honestly, this was the victory of the day. I thought if I ever wanted a copy of this, I was going to have to order it from Amazon, so stumbling upon this had me quite literally squealing and alarming everyone around me. Listen, okay, the animated Don Bluth movie The Secret of NIMH is something I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid, but I’ve never read the book it was based on, so I’m beyond excited.
Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.
It’s also quite old; not first edition since it has the Newberry medal on it, but the publishing date says ’72, only a year after it was first published. So daaaang, vintage.
Another Chuck Palahniuk, only this one has a plot that I would probably read even if it wasn’t Chuck Palahniuk. I also have always loved the cover art of this one; it reminds me of a lot of vintage medical textbooks I’ve collected (from sales just like these) over the years (I told myself no hardcovers this time around, though).
Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send checks to support him. When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park.
Maybe I have a dark sense of humor but this sounds absolutely hilarious to me.
This one has been on my to-read list for a really long time, up to the point where I forget it’s there. I really, really love biblical mythology, so any sort of fiction revolving around it is something I’m interested in. I’m not very familiar with the story of Dinah (although quite familiar with the story of Joseph and her other brothers), but I love the look and feel of this, from the little bits I read while flipping through.
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons.
Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers: Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah, the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a damaged youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.
I also hear that this is a miniseries now, but it’s on Lifetime, so I’m gonna proceed with caution. I’m glad I found this edition, though, because the tie-in cover with the miniseries art isn’t nearly as pretty. I also noticed from the back reviews that this novel is loved by both Jewish and Christian publications, which I think is pretty cool.
This is another that’s been on my list for a long time, but I haven’t taken much of a closer look at. I’m both entranced and horrified by anything related to the Salem Witch Trials (thanks, Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost) so I had to read this eventually. It got really good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so that makes me happy too!
Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha’s courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
As if that story isn’t cool enough, the author, Kathleen Kent, is a direct descendent of Martha Carrier, so this is obviously a really personal project for her. I love reading female authors, so I’m quite excited to start this one.
I saw the movie Trainspotting a long, long time ago, and honestly I don’t remember anything about it except for the fact that Ewan McGregor was smokin’. I want to rewatch the movie now that I’m older and will understand it better, but before I do, I’m gonna try to read the book. I hear the prose is quite weird, so I’m curious as to how it’ll feel to read.
Irvine Welsh’s controversial first novel, set on the heroin-addicted fringe of working-class youth in Edinburgh, is yet another exploration of the dark side of Scottishness. The main character, Mark Renton, is at the center of a clique of nihilistic slacker junkies with no hopes and no possibilities, and only “mind-numbing and spirit-crushing” alternatives in the straight world they despise. This particular slice of humanity has nothing left but the blackest of humor and a sharpness of wit. American readers can use the glossary in the back to translate the slang and dialect–essential, since the dialogue makes the book. This is a bleak vision sung as musical comedy.
So that’s it for this time. Maybe someday I’ll stop buying all these books I don’t need every time I’m presented with the opportunity. Probably not, but maybe.
See you next time!
gossip girl Kell