Monday, February 21, 2011

2 DNFs - both temporary - and a book I'm loving

I'm sure you guys are going to think I'm off my rocker when you see the second of these DNFs, but I have my reasons for both.

Mike White Presents Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers Du Cinemart Collection is a collection of writings about film that I'm pretty sure I received from the publisher or author-slash-editor (not positive about that). It looks really good and I enjoyed it, at first, but let me tell you how it starts and why I set it aside.

The first article is about how Mike White observed some very striking similarities between Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and an older, lesser known film, City on Fire, directed by Ringo Lam. White claims that Reservoir Dogs is based on City on Fire and made a now-notorious film called Who Do You Think You're Fooling that showed parallel bits from the two movies to show that Tarantino had gone so far as to steal entire scenes.

Because Reservoir Dogs was a huge break-out hit for Tarantino and a money-making, award-winning movie . . . well, he ticked off a lot of people. A lot. The intro and first several articles are about White's attempt to get Tarantino and Miramax to fess up. This involved a lot of phone calls, interviews, acceptance of White's film into the New York Underground Film Festival and a whole lot of denial from the Tarantino/Miramax camp.

The articles are very interesting but there were several in a row and by the time I hit the 4th, I was ready to move on to reading just about anything else but more of the same. I didn't bother to even look to see how much more there was about the whole controversy, White's follow-up film, etc. (oops -- just a whopping 2 pages). I don't like skipping portions of a book, though, so I set it aside thinking, "I'll get back to this one, soon." Well, if you've been watching my sidebar you know Impossibly Funky has been lurking there for quite a while.

There are times that I'll get a mental block about returning to a book and the only way I'll ever get back to it is to set it aside, leaving the bookmark in place (I often don't have any trouble remembering what I've already read), remove it from my sidebar and come back to it in a few months. That's what I plan to do. Now that I've been sitting here flipping through the book, I almost feel like changing my mind and going ahead with the reading. Almost. Not quite. But, I can already say I think it's fun reading if you're a film buff.

I watch movies almost exclusively because I prefer seeing an entire story rather than the bits you see in weekly television (although I make exceptions -- I'm a Michael Westin freak, a Hugh Laurie afficianado, a Chuck obsessive, and I am still waiting for someone to bring Firefly back). But I don't watch obscure films and really don't think you need to in order to enjoy Impossibly Funky.

This is the one that'll make you think I'm crazy. I set aside The
Pioneer Woman's new bio (which I just purchased about a week ago), Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story -- at page 225! That is totally unheard of for me! Usually, if I abandon a book, I stop around the 50-100 page range. And, I really enjoyed a lot of what I read. If you've read her blog, you know Ree Drummond is an excellent storyteller with a great sense of humor; she's utterly charming, really.

What I wasn't expecting was that this book would dredge up so many emotions about my home state and how much I still miss home and family (both of my parents and my last living grandmother have died since we moved to Mississippi). Around page 225, Ree and Marlboro Man's wedding was ending and I was in pieces, absolutely sobbing my eyes out. It wasn't just that the romance was touching and lovely and she and her man had these wonderful extended families (which I totally envy) but that it took me back to some very important plans I left behind when we moved out of Oklahoma -- things I haven't figured out how to get back to, in spite of years of trying.

So, do not avoid Black Heels to Tractor Wheels based on the fact that I set it aside. It really is a sweet story of an oddball true romance. I'll probably still manage to finish it, but not this moment. I have to give it some space and time and come back when when I'm good and ready. In case you haven't peeked inside the book, it does include a few recipes. In fact, I considered not returning to the book and put it in my get-rid-of bag. It was Huzzybuns who retrieved it to seek out some new recipes and that was enough to make me rethink getting rid of the book without finishing.

On to other topics . . .

Why Bookfool Deserves a Time-Out:

When I met up with the lovely Amy of Amy Reads on Friday, I had an armful of books because Borders was having one of those terrific $1 clearance sales and there were so many appealing titles -- some of which I've had on my wish list for quite some time -- that my friend Donna (who works at Borders) fetched me a little hand basket and took the books out of my arms so I wouldn't have to haul them around while Amy and I chatted. That turned out to be a mixed blessing. When Borders announced that they were preparing to close, I decided to just go ahead and buy everything in the basket. They were only $1 each, after all. I came home with one heck of a pile and you know I do not need more books. I'm trying to purge, not add to my shelves. But, I came home and looked through them; and, only one book turned out to be a reject. I can always haul that to the homeless shelter store or donate it to the library. No biggie.

Here, the story gets worse. After blubbering about how much I miss home and, gosh, real estate is so freaking cheap in my hometown that maybe I should just buy a house there, my husband decided I clearly needed to spend some time out of the house. Our little cluttered house does drive me nuts. Guess where he took me? Among other places . . . Borders.

Darned if they didn't still have about a million fantastic titles. This time, I sat in the cafe and narrowed down, but not by much. I was getting set to walk back to the shelves when the spouse hustled me to the cash register and out of the store. I'm reading one of those purchases, High Points and Lows: Life, Faith and Figuring It All Out by Austin Carty. I love his down-to-earth thoughts about faith versus religion and since it's a fairly short book I'm pretty sure I'll whip through this one and review it some time soon. Here's my favorite quote, so far:

The one remarkable truth about Christianity is that it's all a matter of heart. You can avoid curse words your whole life, bake brownies every day for bake sales, lead prayer meetings at your house, never touch alcohol, never have premarital sex, and still, if it isn't because you really believe that Jesus is still alive and you love him for it, you're wasting your time. That is the beauty of the Christian religion, and also the rub. Only each individual can determine whether he's committed, abstaining, practicing, etc. for the real reason.

--from p. 3 of High Points and Lows by Austin Carty

Cool. I love that paragraph so much that I handed the book to my husband and asked if he agreed and wasn't that a great way of putting the whole Jesus thing? Nod, nod.

Okay, off to bed with me. All that bawling, last night, has caught up with me. I'm frazzled. I must go bury myself in a book to recover. Nighty-night!

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  1. Obviously Borders needs some support right now, so I wouldn't feel guilty... You might not NEED the books but they need the purchases, right?

    Also, what all did you get?

  2. I don't live anywhere near a Borders, so there are no fantastic closing sales for me to empty my bank account with, but I go through the same thing when one of my friends drags me on her twice yearly humongous used book shopping trip. I think I buy more than she does. I do NOT need more books, but I just can't seem to help myself.

  3. Kelly,

    That's one of the many ways I justified my purchases -- that and they're cheap and I was in a hurry and I can give them away or swap them if they suck. On and on. LOL I'm fine with giving Borders a little cash infusion, really.

    Okay, today's purchases:

    American Fuji - Sara Backer
    Between the Assasinations - Aravind Adiga
    Keeper of Light and Dust - Natasha Mostert
    Chances Are: Adventures in Probability - M. & E. Kaplan
    The Best American Poetry: 2009 - Wagoner & Lehman
    29 - Adena Halpern
    Advanced Homework for Grownups - Foley & Coates
    My Life as an Experiment - A. J. Jacobs
    Telex from Cuba - Rachel Kushner
    Band of Angels - Julia Gregson
    Kaffir Boy - Mark Mathabane
    Bringing Down the House - Ben Mezrich
    I Know I'm in There Somewhere - Helene Brenner
    The Teaching Gap - Stigler & Hiebert (for eldest)
    4-Letter Word: Love Letters (an anthology -- pretty sure Stuffster Chris reviewed this one) and
    High Points and Lows - Austin Carty

    And Friday's purchases:


    The Know-it-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
    Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur (this one's my dud -- maybe two recipes are even acceptable; they're mostly very, very bad for you)
    The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (this one was on my wish list)
    Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On by Anneli Rufus
    Flu by Gina Kolata
    The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi
    Under the Table by Katherine Darling
    Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
    Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin
    Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan
    Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini
    And a Voice to Sing With by Joan Baez
    In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix


    The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
    The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark (have read this but thought it would be fun to listen to)
    The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

    Okay, you may pick up your jaw off the floor, now. :)

  4. Library Girl,

    I asked if that was closing sale merchandise from other stores, since our Borders is the only one in the state and it's staying. Donna told me, "Nope, those are just the remainders that have been around in boxes under tables since before Christmas. We're clearing them out." She also told me that they're only discounting the store closing books locally -- no shipping to other stores. I'm nowhere near a closing store, either. Probably, that's a good thing, but that was definitely one of the best remainder closeouts I've come across in a long time.

    Yeah, I don't need any books at all, ever, for the rest of my life. Ask if that stops me. Well, obviously not. You can see my purchases from both days in the reply to Kailana, above.

  5. Sounds like you're going through an emotional time. I hope you're feeling better soon!

  6. It sounds like you put those two books away for very compelling reasons, and I wouldn't feel bad about it at all. The first particularly doesn't float my boat, but that's just me.

    I have avoided the big Borders sales because there is just no way that I need to add anymore books into my already crowded home. I admit to being curious about what they have and really wanting to drop a little bundle and take home some new books, but I don't think that would help anything and I would have to take more money out for storage of said new books as well. I know I am missing out, but what can you do?

  7. Oh I can toootally relate to the breakdown in relation to Ree's book. When I was in NC longing for "something else" I probably would've had the very same experience. I did, on a number of occasions, but not necessarily in relation to books. Mexican food comes to mind. lol

    Hope you're feeling better.

    I need to find out of my local Borders is closing and take advantage of the sales.

  8. I think it so cool that you and Amy were able to get together!!! Ihave no idea if I am typing spelling anything correct here,.. i am on yhe ipad in total sun but just had to visit you. :)

  9. Kathy,

    Thanks. I'm just an emotional chick, in general, but I was really surprised at the way that book stirred up some old emotions I thought I was finished with!!


    The first book is pretty unusual. I doubt it floats a lot of boats, but I'm interested in a little of everything and I did enjoy what little I read.

    I know what you mean. I've toyed with driving to another state just to see if there's anything exciting at the closing sales, but that would just be silly. It's bad enough that I found such a good clearance sale on remainders. I probably ought to be locked up.


    You know, I'd forgotten how emotional you were during the time you lived in NC but now that you mention it, I remember it well. Real Mexican food is worth sobbing over. LOL Funny how home can still have such a tug after as many years as we've been here, though.

    I think with a few good nights' sleep I'll be myself. I'm going through one of my horrid insomnia phases and that definitely does not help. You're doubly emotional when you're exhausted.

    Oooh, please go buy some books and take pictures so I can drool over them! :)


    Well, one typo on an iPad in the sunlight . . . I think you should get a little blue ribbon. That little flat keyboard is a tricky thing, I know.

    It was such fun meeting Amy. Someday I'm going to have to meet you, too!!!

  10. Hard to say no to $1 books! You just need more of them :)

  11. Amy,

    My sentiments exactly. Now, I just need to read them!

  12. Anonymous6:31 PM

    Your husband took you to a bookstore to cheer you up?!?! I think I'm in love...

  13. Ms. Fizz,

    Yep. He knows my happy places, thank goodness.

  14. Interesting ... hubby and I have seen and like Reservoir Dogs but I don't think either of us were aware of this apparent swiping prior film material issue. I'll have to mention it to him although like you, I don't think we'll need to read a book about it.

    I so hear you on the Borders thing! It's soooo hard to walk in there and have all these books available on the cheap and not snatch up everything in sight. I went to one last weekend and managed to walk out with just 4 books, only one of which was a novel, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

  15. Lesley,

    The book is not just about Reservoir Dogs, but it was starting to feel that way. I'll return to it. I wish I'd bothered to flip ahead so I would have known the essays about the whole controversy were just about over.

    You are much stronger than I am! I ended up with something on the order of 30 books. One thing I absolutely love about buying books so cheaply is that if I don't finish them I'm saddled with a lot less guilt than if I don't finish a book that costs me more. However, you could plop my house in the middle of the desert and I'd have plenty to read for at least the next 20 years, so I need to stop doing that!!!


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