Monday, June 18, 2012

Fresh Start, New Haul

The current state of my desk, while far improved from the hazardous topography it displayed during the school year, is by no means organized. While there are now no old papers mindlessly shuffled around the flat expanse when attempting to reach the necessary book or journal, there are approximately 30 or so new books stacked up, waiting to be read, sorted, or tossed into someone else's room. Amazingly enough, I am only responsible for the purchase of about a third or so of these new novels: the rest I can blame on my parents.

After rummaging around in some of the boxes crowding the garage a few weeks ago, looking for an old container of floppy disks with which to confuse my brother's highly capable class for his Microsoft project, my Dad stumbled across some remnants of bookcases past. I stood beside him as he combed through paperbacks, like the commemorative 1984 edition of George Orwell's 1984, or Robert Ludlum's entire Bourne collection, or what seemed like endless installments in Aaron Elkins' Gideon Oliver mystery series. The vast majority of the latter were all even signed, and all with different inscriptions (my Dad attempted to recall exactly at what sort of convention it was, that he must have accosted one of his favorite writers, begging for about 10 different books to be signed). Along with some Stephen King, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (the special movie-release edition), Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and James A. Michener's Mexico, these books build the first tower of pages on my desk.

The next stack is the only one of the three which bears my signature: I picked them out, lovingly and carefully, of the enormous wonderland and book-fiend mecca that is Portland's Powell's City of Books. Stumbling blindly, overwhelmed by one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever laid eyes on, I snatched about eight books and a tee shirt out of the stacks, before almost collapsing in the checkout line, overcome with emotion (Just kidding. We hadn't had breakfast yet, and the dramatic episode was shortly remedied in the Zeus Cafe of the Crystal Hotel, Portland's extension of McMenamin's). Anyways, the mix of classics and new classics was accompanied by some books for my siblings: for the young bro, the Book of Perfectly Perilous Math (seriously, one of the best-loved presents I've ever given him), and for the second sister, one of my favorite books at her age: Scott Westerfield's So Yesterday (ditto). We returned to Washington with about thirty pounds of pages, and an equal amount of Voodoo Doughnuts.
My father's stack lies to the left, while my own occupies the right. (Not pictured: Mrs. Dalloway, whom I have temporarily misplaced...)

My mother, on the other hand, doesn't usually share her reading with the likes of me, unless it involves the classics. You see, this hospital administrator was once an English major (like I will be, starting this fall) and has a "slightly more developed" sense of reading material (ouch, right?). So, when I walked into my room and found a mess of eleven books perched precariously on my bench, I was a little stunned. When I asked her about it later, she explained that these were all books she had bought, and then lent out to my ravenous reader Grandma, and my aunt K. Now that they were back in her possession, with firm assurance that they were all good, she thought that I might want to leaf through a couple. And, she sniffed, this may be a way of getting me into more "adult" books, instead of the slightly-less-quality teen material I read all the time (OUCH, Ma). So, I've got a couple of those.
Mom's stack. Not pictured: Mark of the Lion: A Jade del Cameron Mystery, by Suzanne Arruda. Ma's currently got that one, but I don't know for how much longer (she was complained that it read like a grown-up Nancy Drew. Once again, OUCH, Mom!). 
Anyways, that's how I'm getting my summer started. More plans, more fun on the way. However, while you may have noticed that I DID NOT fulfill my school year goal of reading 50 books (I only got to 36...), I will not be trying again this summer... but that doesn't mean I won't continue to challenge myself with reading. I just have to acknowledge that I have a lot of plans, and new projects in the works, so I won't be able to, say, read 30 books (However, I will read 25.) Just on my own time. :) 

Let's get the summer started!

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