27 May 2009

Dexter by Design

Acquired: May 2009, via Amazon.co.uk. Fourth in the series.

So I found out about this series by accident, after watching the first two seasons of the TV show Dexter. (For those not in the know: Serial killer/forensics geek tries to be "normal" in Miami, awkward hilarity ensues) They really did a nice job with the series I think -- the humor is dark, wry, morbid and feels entirely natural. Who's-his-face that plays Dexter, I like that guy. Good choice. Etc etc.

The books are good too, for the most part. Wait, maybe I don't mean that. Books 1 and 2 are fun. #3 was more than a little pointless. I just finished book 4:

... and I felt sort of like I just read book 1. Not as in, it was so exciting it was like starting the series anew all over again, but rather as in it is more or less the same damn plot as book 1. Has Jeff Lindsay been taking notes from Dan Brown? Dexter 1 is to Dexter 4 as the Da Vinci Code is to Angels and Demons. Replace one hostaged female with another, replace one homicidal asshole with another, and replace the suspicious cop who lost his tongue with one who can still speak. Boom, you've got it. Don't bother with this one, unless (like me) you don't believe something is really that bad until you try it for yourself.

Still a fun read, but WTF.

Up Next: Runaway (stories) by Alice Munro.

23 May 2009

The fiscal diet and problems wherein.

Call it Murphy's law, call it what you want. But isn't it the nature of diets that when you cut back, you see delicious, tempting things everywhere? You stop eating meat to save money and lose weight, and someone brings you a free pound of the most delicious prosciutto you've ever had. Why?

This is also true of fiscal diets. No sooner did I vow to stop buying new books than did these irresistable opportunities present themselves:

1. A book club. Not a stuffy one, a fusty one, a foofy one, but one full of hip young ladies and their drive to read new things, old things, weird things, whatever, things. And these ladies! What ladies. You can see the problem that a book club presents to my commitment, right? I might be able to find what they want to read in the library, but what if it's newer or not available? And while the library is not strictly ruled out, since reading books there is free, it doesn't really help me make a dent in the massive percentage of unread books at home. Counter-productive.

2. I went to a play tonight, and without thinking I stopped in Half Price Books around the corner from the theater. Once inside I realized how futile my visit was, and then I saw this sign:

WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?? Who planted this shining donut in front of my fasting face? $2 used Literature? $5 for 5?! That is just MEAN.

I'm anxious to get this project rolling, to get into the swing of it and start making some progress. And also to revisit the intentions that led me to pick up my many books in the first place. Why did I think it was a good idea to buy a used copy of the Satanic Verses?

Next up: Dexter by Design. A european import because I was too impatient to track down the elusive US release. The last purchase before my self-induced book-buying fast.

Love and epilogues,

18 May 2009

Money, she don't like me.

As someone with poor impulse control and a love for pretty things, I have accumulated a lot of books. Books are pretty, smell good, bring the promise of self-enrichment and personal growth *and* they are easy to share with loved ones. Even easier to share than cookies (I mean, how many times can you share 3 cookies? Not as many times as you can share one book).

My books are heavy and dusty. They are stacked haphazardly and tightly in teetering piles. They occupy various satellite locations throughout the house where they are trying to farm and propagate their own bookshelves. Many of them have good intentions, like trying to teach me more about natural foods, home gardening, canning/preserving fruits and vegetables, learning more about the classics, understanding better what my mom likes to read. There is a good intention in every book on the shelf that I haven't read. Oh, which brings me to my point: I haven't read them.

I've read most of them. Lots of them. A fair and substantial percentage. More than half. But, there are a great number of good intentions that I've neglected when I came across a shiny new book somewhere else. Have I mentioned that books are pretty?

My bookshelf and my bank account have both reached critical mass. Neither one can bear any more frivolous literary expenditures. I can't physically accomodate any new books until some are removed, given away, sold, donated to the library. And I'm not against selling books - I've heard of people who felt otherwise, but maybe they are also the kind of person who's read all the books on their shelf. But how to decide whether or not to sell the books I haven't read? Doing so would curse me to pick up a different edition of the same story on a sale table within two years, guaranteed.

The obvious solution: read them.

No new books. No new bills. Read more, save money, someday make room on the bookshelf for something new. And pretty.