Sunday Salon (06/21/09)

Hey there folks! It is sweltering HOT here in Florida. We were warned all in the beginning of the week about "record highs" and yesterday there were a couple of heat advisories. The Weather page indicates that it feels like 103 with a 58 percent humidity level. And it's not even noon yet! You know what this means, right? A perfect excuse to stay indoors and READ. *smile*
In which June turned into Graphic Novel Month!
So a couple of weeks ago I went to the library to pick up travel books. D & I are going on a road trip through the southern states at the beginning of July and I wanted to check out noteworthy places to hit. While there, I decided to check out my branch's graphic novel selection since I've really been getting into them. Every time I came back to D I had more and more books piled upon my stack. I felt like I was doing weightlifting training. (Also, it kept occurring to me that this was my small area's branch library, not the big one downtown - I could only imagine what they have to offer).
Needless to say, I've devoured my stack. I have eight graphic novels to review. Some I totally loved and others I was pretty mediocre about. (American Born Chinese...similar to Fun Home. *Everyone* else seemed to love it, but not me!) I'm going to divide them up and do mini reviews. Mainly because I can remember the generalities of them, but the minute details, unless written on post-its have long been forgotten. I have five more graphic novels to read before they get returned. I will more than likely get to those this week. Three of them are the continuation of the manga series Death Note. I will likely not write reviews about them since I wrote a review about my initial reaction to book one and feel that it's going to be difficult to write reviews over a series. I could be wrong?!
Oh, I also read two books that I will give full reviews to: The Notebook Girls (YA non fiction) and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (YA Fiction). One I loved, the other I appreciated.
Hurtful or Helpful?
I received a $35 gift certificate at Borders for my birthday last week. Completely excited (because believe it or not most people don't get my g.c.) I hauled my butt down there to peruse their selection. Oh boy, I managed to spend over $100 - and that's in addition to the gift certificate. Since Tuesday, I've been wondering, are gift certificates, as Monk would put it, "It's a gift and a curse."
It's already pretty easy to get me to purchase books. But I'm pretty good about making sure I only purchase used books. In fact, I mainly go to Amazon and order them there. But damn, get me into a bookstore and I'm a mad woman. There's just so much there, so much to get, so much to check out and buy buy buy. (It's really my only spending vice. I think Mom wanted a girl who loved clothes shopping. Ooops.)
I ended up talking to the cashier, who was this sweet little old lady about the curse of gift certificates. She chuckled and replied that even though she works there and gets a discount, she finds herself getting into mischief, over purchasing and what not. I could totally understand. I mean, I've considered getting a part-time job at one of these bookstores but figure that my paycheck (and then some?) would be going toward books. Which wouldn't be bad, except I could justify in my had the $400 monthly book bill because really, it would have cost me $550 but I saved so much money.

So how about you? When you get a gift certificate, do you behave and only purchase the amount (or a few bucks more) or do you go crazy like I did?

And for those curious - here's my Book Booty:


Beginner's Geek by James Collins - A love story that's gone awry. Marketed for both men and women alike.
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - Vampire book. Was turned into a movie, which I haven't seen yet. Maybe you remember?
The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein - Essentially a look at how the digital era has become a hinderance to the youth of today.
The Drunkard's Walk. How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow - I love the idea that being in control is merely an illusion we tell ourselves because it makes us feel comfortable. A book that talks about random events and chance? I just had to have it!
Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things by Richard Wiseman, PHD - I think it's cool to see how the small things in our lives reveal who we are. The order that you go about doing certain things, what you have on your desk, and so on. Wiseman evidently has spent 20 years conducting experiments and has let us in on his findings.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlooser - Yes, I realize I'm one of the last folks out there to have not read this yet!
The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz - I have heard so many great things about this. I think the idea is pretty right on and am stoked that someone has managed to put together studies and tie it together in a book.
Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh - Okay so this one I'm most excited with. Here's this guy, Venkatesh, who is a sociology major. He decides he's going to poll some gang members for a project and totally impress his professor. Instead, he ends up befriended a gang leader and is invited on all things gang related as an observer. This is his memoir.
Cheers everyone! Happy reading.


  1. I felt that way about Fun Home, actually. It was kind of boring and not at all what I was expecting. Very disappointing.

    And I just plain didn't get American Born Chinese. Strange book.

  2. I am afraid I have to steal your crown - you are not the last to read Fast Food Nation - I only just picked it up to read second hand!
    I haven't read any graphic books yet, but with all they buzz on the book blogs, I really need to have a look at these.
    Sorry to hear about the heat. I can't wait to hear about your road trip - hubby and I want to travel America one day in a Winnebago.

  3. Can't wait for a post full of graphic novel mini-reviews! :) I've gotten really into them lately, but I don't have a lot on my TBR list, so I need more resources!

    Fast Food Nation was an awesome read! (But I'm also a vegetarian who never goes to fast food places, so it was pretty easy for me to read.) And The Drunkard's Walk was really interesting...it's a book about statistics and probability, though, rather than true chance.

    I usually just spend what the gift card is, maybe a few dollars over (if it gets me free shipping!)!

  4. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Fun Home or American Born Chinese. Try Aya and Aya of Yop City by Margerite Abouet.

    I always try to stick to the amount on gift cards or certificates but sometimes I fail:)

  5. Amanda - Yay, I'm not alone!

    Scrap girl - The first step is owning it, right? Hopefully I'll get around to actually READING it now!

    Eva - thanks for the heads up re: Drunkard Walk

    Gavin - I have heard good things about Aya. Thanks!


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