The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library (“non profit organization that raises money and awareness for the library”) has an annual book sale to raise funds. It’s at Fort Mason and takes up the entire building. Tables and tables of books with boxes and boxes underneath the tables. Dozens and dozens of volunteers working, handing out maps, cleaning up the tables, restocking, and selling books. Hardbacks are $3 and paperbacks $2. On Sunday, the last day of the sale, all books are $1. Continue reading
Vampires, zombies, and pirates have been on trend for a while. I always liked vampires because of my goth roots but never ever cared for zombies. I avoided watching horror movies but then I moved in with Randy and dated his brother Clay—they were both huge fans of zombie movies. I started to see every zombie movie. And then I even started to like some (28 Days and Resident Evil; both feature strong female heroes). My good friend John gave me a copy of Feed by Mira Grant. He loves horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. He knows my reading tastes well so I was excited for the gift. Feed was the first of a trilogy. I read that two years ago and finally just read the second of the series, Deadline. Why so long in between reading the two? Because while reading Feed in the middle of the day in my bedroom I started to get scared. I was so anxious and my heart beat so quickly that I had to put the book down and remind myself that it wasn’t real. I was scared to go to sleep at night for fear of the dreams I might have.
One of the great problems of being a female reader is that there seem to be so few female authors. Let me correct that, being a literary nerd, there seems to be a shortage of female authors. And please note the phrase “seems to be.” As I’ve written in the past, sometimes perfectly wonderful books are advertised as romance or have artwork that prevents me from taking the book and author seriously.
I have a number of brilliant friends who read so I asked them who their five favorite female authors are. And let me state that the fact that I have to ask for female authors frustrates me. Because 75% of my books are by men but if you did the ratio of authors it would be 80% men. (I happen to be a very loyal reader so I read every book by authors I love). I have more books stored at my parents’ home but of the books in my studio, the first 2 and 3/4 shelves are by female authors. All the rest are by men. I knew the ratio was not good but I did not realize it was so bad until I rearranged my bookshelves.
Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk is the second book in a trilogy. Damned being the first; it’s about a young girl (whose parents are celebrities) who dies and is sent to hell. Doomed is about the same girl living in purgatory on earth. The third and final book is yet to be released. The books are composed of chapter long tweets, with Madison appealing to Dr. Maya Angelou whenever she needs strength: “Please, Dr. Maya, give me the strenth to not use an emoticon.” (Palahniuk, 29)
I finally joined a book club. Or rather, I told myself, “I’ll read the book they’re reading and attend the first meeting and see how it goes.” I’ve always been a bit skeptical about book clubs. I’ve been asked to join more than one but most of them never truly existed. They were proposed in theory but no one took the initiative to start them. Skepticism arose mostly because I’m a solitary creature and I feared having to read something I didn’t want to, and so reading would turn into a task, something I had to do. I read more than most people I know. I’m not bragging; far from it. It’s like bragging: I spend more time alone ignoring other people with my cat on my lap drinking coffee in my pajamas indoors not interacting living in someone else’s world and not mine. That is my mindset: I am able to go places I never could experience and I usually go alone. There are the handful of books my other friends have read but usually we read them at separate times or different periods in our lives: Zadie Smith, Anne Rice, J. K. Rowling, Tom Robbins, Bukowski, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Joan Didion. And having that shared reading history allowed us to become closer without having to share so much. Realizing we have the common ground of core writers helped shape our friendships.