Summer Reading in Montgomery

Most of our books are still in boxes.  I’ve been getting by catching up on back issues of the New Yorker, but it’s summer (95 degrees tomorrow) and I’m thirsting for iced tea and novels.

Mr. NYer picked up a copy of The Help at Costco just before I took off for a three-day trip to Washington.  Today, my first day back, I finished it, looked around and thought, “OK, what’s next?”

As I mentioned, the books are in boxes, and anyway, I’ve read most of them.  I wanted to roam the aisles of a bookstore and come back with a stack. 

Alas, there is no Barnes & Noble in Montgomery, nor a Borders.  What we have instead is a Books-A-Million. 

It’s actually better than any New York Barnes & Noble–if you’re looking for Christian fiction.  There’s an entire aisle devoted to this genre, whose existence I hadn’t even imagined before tonight.

Although my reading preferences in summer tend to fiction, I wanted to check out a book about the 1927 Mississippi flood, so I headed over to the history aisle, where I found more sections devoted to military history than to all other U.S. history.  There’s a special section on the Civil War War Between the State War of Southern Independence events of 1860-1865. 

I can’t remember the author’s name nor the name of the book, but I know I’m looking for a book about a flood in 1927.  It will be amongst books on regional history or, chronologically, between those on World War I and those on the Great Depression. 

And that’s when I realize that the history books are arranged alphabetically by author.  It’s OK, I find the book I’m looking for — in a condition suggesting it’s been sitting on a sunny shelf for about seven years — but who arranges non-fiction by author?

The other really odd thing is the preponderance of pocket paperbacks, something you just don’t see a lot anymore in New York.  I felt transported back 30 or 40 years, not just because of the paperbacks, but as much because of the covers and titles.  There was the same edition–with the same cover–of  The Scarlet Letter I read in 8th grade.  I cringed when I saw Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, one of the books on my summer reading list going into high school.  Same cover as well.  How I hated that book, but not as much as Mrs. Mike, the story of a young woman who marries a Canadian Mounty posted to the Northwest Territories. 

That book I did not see, but I did spy–again, in the same exact covers they had when I had to read them–A  Separate Peace, To Kill a Mockingbird, (along with five different new 50th anniversary editions), Lord of the Flies (of course), and Animal Farm.  Many of them had a special tag denoting that they were included on local school reading lists for summer.

Welcome to 1967.


Craigslist Sure-Fires

A close friend let Lifelong NYer know that her recent posts are kind of sad.  

Well, not this one.  This one goes into sales mode.  As loyal readers know, LifelongNYer and Mr. NYer have been cleaning out.  We’re not thrilled with the process, but one of us, at least, doesn’t feel at all bad about letting go of stuff. 

Except for the guilt.  The trash beckons for many items, but other stuff is still good.  Someone might yet get good use out of it.  That’s why folks invented eBay, Craigslist and yard sales.  Moving the merchandise means marketing, so here are some stabs at positioning my goods to move.

Ancestral Monkey-Wrenches — pick-up only!

Motivated seller must give up set of family heirloom monkey wrenches.  You may not know the ancestors to whom these belonged, but ownership means you can claim them as your own family legacy!  Make a rustic arrangement on a wall (must be load-bearing), or use as ballast or to replace sash weights.  Goes great with primitive wood plane (available at additional cost).

Vinyl LP’s — too many uses to name!

Nothing beats the warmth of analog recordings, and nothing beats the true-to-life sound of recordings that were stacked on the turntable and played thousands of times even though the needle should have been changed.  Not man enough for sound that real?  Then consider how a short application of heat can turn these records into unique works of art!  The only limit is your imagination.  

Home Security System

Is your fancy schmancy home security system vulnerable to power outages?  Does your alarm go off so often that your neighbors ignore it?  Free yourself from the tyranny of the technologically “superior” security system by adopting the tried and true do-it-yourself home defender:  the baseball bat.  Dozens of bats available (Mr. NYer coached Little League), so you can have one for every room plus a bonus for your car!

Old U.S. History Books for Kids — No Revisionism Here!

With these stirring stories of Davy Crockett, young Abe Lincoln, the Rough Riders and others, your kids will learn that American history was made by white men — clean-shaven, nicely attired, hard-working, church-going white men — who stood on their own two feet.  Plus, they didn’t smoke, spit or swear.