Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Read and Weed

It's March! It's Spring! It's time for spring cleaning, bookworm-style!

I'm excited to announce a personal reading project called Read and Weed.

Basically, that means that I have too many books on my shelves, and instead of quietly reading through them and donating the ones I don't want to keep, I need to make a big deal about it, complete with cutesy rhyming name.

My problem is that I love to buy books. It used to be much worse when I'd frequent library book sales and used bookstores, but I now avoid those as best I can. However, I still buy a lot of books from independent presses to support authors I know and love and have good stuff to read for Shorter is Better book club.

But if I'm already ordering one book, I often buy one or two others, either because they sound good or I want to get free shipping or just, you know, buy more books?

That means I have a lot of books that I haven't read. Because then I inevitably get distracted by other new books, or want to revisit an old favorite, or find something that looks good at the library. So while I might not continually spend money, I'm still bringing more books into my home. Even when the library books are returned, I still rarely turn to those unread volumes on my shelves.

Until now.

I may have gorgeous built-in bookcases that can handle this load, but I want to curate a library I love. And that means I need to assess what I already own.

It's my goal to read at least two books I already own each month, meaning this project should take about 20 years to finish. Okay, not really. But maybe?

At the same time, I'm going to try to curtail my book-buying so it's possible to actually have an end date for this project.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Pretty Ugly by David Sedaris and Ian Falconer

Pretty Ugly by David Sedaris, illustrated by Ian Falconer

I'm a huge David Sedaris fan and am usually aware when he has a new book coming out. However, even with this being a picture book (aka right up my alley!), it wasn't on my radar until recently, despite being on the Most Anticipated Books of 2024 List from Kirkus Reviews. I must be living under a rock!

Anyway, I was glad to get my hands on it because this house has tons of Toon books so even if Sedaris and Falconer weren't behind the scenes, you know it's gonna be good.

The first few pages reminded me of Saturday Night Live's take on The Twilight Zone with Pamela Anderson, to the point where I was thinking, "At least kids who haven't seen that sketch may think this book is a fresh take on the issue."

Then came the twist.

I should have known Sedaris wouldn't go with the standard idea of monsters finding true beauty to be repulsive, though I definitely thought the book was going to be a letdown at a point.

But it's not. I can't say much more because I don't want to give it away---and this twist is worth it. Let's just say... my son had to hold his hand over the page because it grossed him out so much, while I thought it was delightful.

Overall, this is a funny twist on "beautiful on the inside" with amazing final illustrations from Ian Falconer, especially lovely if you grew up loving Olivia like I did.