I’m putting together a list of books I plan on buying so that I don’t end up buying three previously unplanned books next time I go to the bookstore. This list is being placed in my new Moleskine notebook (softcover this time) since that way I know I’ll have it with me.

Some would say, “Eva, you’re not a technophobe or Luddite. Why don’t you just save them as a memo in your cell phone?” You know, I could do that. But I like writing things down in my notebook. I like being able to flip it right open and know what I’m looking for instead of navigating through the phone menus and whatnot.

So far on the list:

  • Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker
  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • New Moon or Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (this series of vampire novels is HUGE young adult hits. Movie coming soon. I need to read one and see if they live up to the hype)
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy – NOT THE OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB EDITION. Seriously. I might end up ordering the British version through abebooks or alibris if I can’t locate an untainted copy.
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (paperback 9/2/08)

I’ve also got a few good recommendations which I’m writing down (The Outcast by Sadies Jones and A Summer of Hummingbirds by Christopher Benfey), but I’ll wait for the paperbacks on those. I prefer trade paperbacks. It’s a thing (charming quirk?) I have.

While the point of this list is to prevent me from buying far more books than I need, I want to be easy on myself. The whole magic of bookstores (which doesn’t exist in the online environment) is the chance you’ll find that unplanned purchase… the serendipitous discovery that introduces you to an author you didn’t know before or helps you find your new favorite book. That has only ever really happened for me when I’ve let myself get lost wandering the fiction section (though it’s happened in others, too).

The point is that seeing an interesting title or cover will prompt me to pick the book up off the shelf or table – and that’s something that just won’t happen on Amazon. I won’t spend an hour looking at EVERY SINGLE BOOK on the site. I WILL, however, spend an hour looking at EVERY SINGLE BOOK on a bookstore shelf written by someone with a last name beginning with M, N, O or P (for example).

And that’s how I end up with far too many books. I need to start going through my collection and unloading the retired books (I dare not call them unwanted) from my library and getting them out into the world where they might provide happiness to others. I won’t do the BookCrossing thing yet, either since some might be OK for a library and with a large quantity, bookcrossing might be difficult to do. I’d like to just fill up a shopping bag and bring them somewhere and say, “HERE. FREE!”

But I’ve had several friends request that I provide them with a list of what I’m planning on chucking since they might want first dibs. It’s nice to know that they trust my taste even that much. It’s a bit dicey with reading since I’ll read almost anything (almost) and that usually means that my more genre-minded friends will end up disappointed, as will my more literary-minded friends.

YES, I enjoyed both The Satanic Verses and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban equally. Strange, but true. I recognize them both for what they are and enjoy them accordingly. Rushdie for his use of language and imagery and humor… Rowling for the enthralling world she created and her sense of the fantastical.

This is turning into a bit of a soapbox piece. I think I’m just hungry – and a hungry Polak is an angry Polak, as my mother oft quips at family dinners. I went walking after work with my friend/co-worker and I’m now ravenous. But I can only think about soup and toast since my stomach is a little uncertain.

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