Wednesday, April 01, 2015



I think there's something romantic about a used book. Who owned it before? Why did they part with it? 

If you feel like I do, here's a site you should know about: Abe Books. There you will find hardcovers and paperbacks, text books and best sellers. Many of the books have been rescued from libraries. All are reasonably priced and a great way to feed your bookish habit.

Recently they posted their bestselling used books of this young century. Here are the top 13. I've read #2, #3, and #9. What about you?

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
6. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
8. Night by Elie Wiesel
9. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
11. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
13. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Don't do this

I twisted my ankle while running for the bus last Saturday. It still hurts. So if you can avoid being a klutz like me, I recommend you do so.

I've read that sprains can take up to 6 weeks to heal completely. I guess I should count myself lucky that after just three days, the swelling has gone down, I can put weight on it and walk on it -- though going down stairs hurts like a son of a bitch.


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

1. What are you currently reading? Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston. Just started it and all I can say is, "Wow." Everything about it is unique and memorable.

•  The premise: What happens to a family if they get their wish and abducted kid is recovered and returned to them? Yes, one of those "Have You Seen Me?" milk carton kids -- an 11-year-old boy -- is found four years later. What is that like? The questions … The scrutiny … The trial and punishment of the kidnapper … The seismic shift in family dynamics … all of it is explored.

•  The characters. Each of the five central family members -- the boy, his parents, his brother and his grandfather -- is uniquely and skillfully drawn.

•  The prose. Mr. Johnston turns a beautiful phrase. It's a pleasure to read, even if the story is intense.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Wake by Anna Hope. Another emotionally intense story by another talented first-time novelist. This is about three women living in London and dealing with the aftermath of "the war," aka WWI. But that's the thing of it. We know what they do not -- that while they put their shattered lives back together as best they can in the 1920s, it will all come apart again too soon when WWII breaks out and hits much closer to home.
 3.  What will you read next? I can't wait to return to  Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan. I started reading this book as my own way of celebrating Sinatra's centennial (he would turn 100 this September). I had no idea I'd enjoy it as much as I am.
What an artist. What a rascal. Kaplan writes well and pays attention to both Frank's auspicious talent and his audacious life. It's just it's 800 pages long, and I wanted to take a break and read something else before going back to it.

And I shall. This accounting of Sinatra's life is too entertaining and too uniquely American for me not to finish it.

Not the letter I expected ...

In mid-March I wrote to my Cousin Rose, telling her that I would be busy throughout Memorial Day weekend but would love to spend a few hours with her. All of this was a lie. I have no plans for Memorial Day. I just don't want her staying with me.

I hated doing this. Rose loves me and her heart is tender and dear. The thing of it is, though, she's maddeningly grumpy. Ever since her painful divorce, she's been short-tempered, judgmental and intolerant. I can't stand being around her for more than four or five hours at a crack. (Really, I timed it.)

I felt so bad about lying to her that I've actually had nightmares about it. I have so much respect for her as a person, and I so honor how she stood by me when I was growing up, that this dilemma has really hurt.

So yesterday, when I saw the envelope with her familiar scrawl across the front, I was more than a little nervous. I was afraid that she'd seen through my lie and that I'd hurt her. 

Nope. That wasn't it at all. It was a short, chatty and surprisingly upbeat letter about NCIS (a passion we share) and how eager she is to receive the results of her DNA test so she can find out once and for all if she's more Germanic or English (genealogy is her #1 hobby.)

I feel so much better about life right now. Tonight might be the first really restful night's sleep I've had in a while!