9.18.2006

Goodwill (Book) Hunting

I still have two weeks to go on my self-imposed book-buying ban. This weekend, however, while J.C. was supplementing her fall wardrobe, I did a little book shopping at the Goodwill; and since I was able to slip the books into her cart (beneath an orange sweater and a pair of gray wool pants), technically, I didn't buy them and am thus maintaining said book-buying ban (though I have had a few slip-ups). My finds:

Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney--I have a Vintage Contemporaries copy of this somewhere around the house, but the one at Goodwill was the mass market paperback with Michael J. Fox on the cover. At 88 cents, I couldn't pass it up.

The Other Side of Dark, Joan Lowery Nixon--She won the Edgar Award for a couple of her YA novels, and I've been meaning to check one out. Now I have the chance.

The Men's Club, Leonard Michaels--I always like his stories, but haven't ever tried his novels (I'm not sure, even, if they're in print). I read the first few pages of this while behind me, a ten-year-old girl modeled high heels for her impatient father. Though they couldn't decide on a pair, I loved the opening of this, and came to the conclusion I should have it.

Crash Diet: Stories, Jill McCorkle--I love finding hardcover editions of story collections by great writers, especially when I find them at the Goodwill, where hardcovers go for $1.38.

Three Genres, Stephen Minot--A "How to Write" resource, from which I'm sure I'll find a worthwhile story or exercise or two.
* * *
And since I'm on the topic of my self-imposed book-buying ban: My interlibrary loan of Tom Drury's The Driftless Area arrived a few weeks ago, and I devoured the thing. I wanted to write a long review/post about Drury in general and The Driftless Area in specific, but when I tried, all that came out was how much I liked him and his latest novel.

Here's why I like everything by him I've read (in general) and this book (specifically), in a nutshell: I'm a big fan of "strangeness" in literary fiction, and Drury manages plenty of strange while also consistently being funny and poignant and presenting three-dimensional human beings on the page.

I tried to think, too, of how this book would be cast if a movie were made of it, but I came to the conclusion that it's a novel, by god, and the way Drury so beautifully manipulates time and character and situation deserves to be read on the page, not viewed on a movie screen. I suppose a fairly cool art-house flick could be made of The Driftless Area, but right now I like it as is: a bunch of magical black marks on no-less-magical, off-white paper.

Do yourself a favor and read this book. But before you run out to the bookstore, you can go here for one of Mr. Drury's stories.

3 comments:

Southern Writer said...

Have you ever seen The Gods Must be Crazy? What a hoot.

They just opened a Goodwill bookstore in our town. I've been meaning to get by there. Next month is the annual library sale. Paperbacks are a dime or a quarter / hardbacks fifty cents or a dollar. I'm a Friend of the Library so I got first dibs last year and loaded up.

fringes said...

I added these to my list, both on blog and off. Thanks for the recommendations. I hope school is going well for you.

Chad Simpson said...

Lesia--I haven't ever seen The Gods Must be Crazy. Why do you ask? And I do love those library sales. This year, I actually had a woman, a complete stranger, hand me two books. Then she said, "You should read these." They weren't exactly the kind of thing I would usually read, but I bought them anyway, just because I appreciated the sentiment.

Fringes--Do check out The Driftless Area. It's fantastic. And school is going pretty fantastic; thanks for the well wishes.