Charm n. — a power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty. Also: something that I do not have. The older I age the more absent my pleasantries become. I have manners, mind you, but it seems like I emit an invisible force of numskullery. It pulsates off in robust punches, so I don’t need to accomplish much to send an older adult into a tizzy, shouting, “Hark! Ungraceful miscreant!” Apologizing is a fruitless effort.
I stood in Fred Meyer’s open doors, studied the people-swarm through squinted eyes (I’m nearing blindness), pointed at the produce and said (inwardly), “Onward ho! To the grapes!” And that’s when I saw her: a haystack of milky hair piled high and wrinkled skin, her hands preoccupied opening each grape bag. Arthritis let up for the moment, because her fingers were sly and hasty to snake around dozens of grapes and puck them off their stems. By the time I was close enough, her germs had infiltrated all but one bag, and that bag was mine. So I grabbed it. I reached across with a polite “excuse me” (and I smiled, or tried to smile, but I suffer from Chronic Bitch Face), and snagged the grapes just in time. The old woman’s eyes widened and she gasped in shocked frustration. Her expression read, “You insult me, youth!” Uh, “I’m sorry for snatching THE ONLY BAG of grapes your hand didn’t lay siege upon”? I skedaddled.
Later on, I also succeeded in upsetting an old man by passing him in the detergent aisle. I’m not positive on how I ended up in this section of the store, because I wanted ground flax seed. Ground flax seed is decidedly NOT in the detergent aisle, or anywhere near fussy men.
So there you have it: while most people traffic-jammed streets and store aisles this Tuesday, hurrying to grab that last chip dip (pre-July 4th nonsense), I kept myself busy irritating old people and bombarding the library.
- Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post–feel free to steal the button–and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Take a look at what I have… Eleven books! It is unclear how I expect to read them all when I am still working through books from my previous two library visits, but here’s the newest catch:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
This story, I am sure, will connect to anyone who’s lived through the ‘new kid’ experience, but more precisely: anyone who visibly stands apart from others. August Pullman is about to enter fifth grade, and, for the first time, a school with other children. He wears a face especially unique to him, marked by a deformity that separates him from everyone else. I’ve waited a long time to check this book out — as requests grow and ratings maintain a high, August already seems to have attracted an adoring audience.
- Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That: A Modern Guide to Manners by Henry Alford
Alford’s book is a random pick-up, really — I sometimes search the “new” shelf (which is how I came across Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox months ago). I will tell you that I have no idea what this is about. Well, manners, obviously. (I find that the less I know about a book, the less likely expectations will rise.) Mixed reviews range from disappointingly low to mildly satisfied. Maybe Alford can teach me how to get along with senior citizens. Maybe…
- The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
With the exception of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I haven’t had any luck reading Levithan’s work. After finishing Boy Meets Boyand Every You, Every Me — both which I find plentiful in lackluster effect, wading in the shallowest depths of a kiddy pool — I felt deflated. Many YA readers applaud Levithan’s novels, and I haven’t discovered why (especially when I compare his writing to stronger YA novels of the same genres). The Lover’s Dictionary is one of Levithan’s more popular books, so I hope to enjoy it (or at least like it).
- How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
I never watched the movie, and my knowledge surrounding the plot amounts to little: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III attempts to capture and train a dragon, eager to pass the initiation test of the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans. Cute, fun, and full of (hairy?) vikings. An additional plus: dragons!
- Mort by Terry Pratchett
I know, people say you can read Discworld novels out of order. Each book has its own story to tell, but I love catching those sentences that trace back to a previous Discworld novel and actually getting the joke. Although I unnecessarily stretched Equal Rites into a two-week read (eww, why would I do that?), I think Esk with her young but wise mind is a loveable character. However. The one character I love above all is none other than Death himself, and I’m looking forward to reading more of his character in Mort.
Although my THG cravings simmered into mute whispers, I do love to OD on good YA dystopian novels. I’m becoming a junkie, and here to give me a much-needed fix are Marie Lu’s Legend and Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go. Ahh, I want to read both right now, and simultaneously. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Think of all the books I could read.
To finish off are the graphic novels, which I’m beginning to explore as I broaden my searches and define my taste. I recently read the likes of Maus I: My Father Bleeds History, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Anya’s Ghost, and The Arrival — all of which I verily enjoyed. This time around, however, I have…
- Stitches by David Small
Per the jacket cover (and found on GoodReads):
Depicting this coming-of-age story with dazzling, kaleidoscopic images that turn nightmare into fairy tale, Small tells us of his journey from sickly child to cancer patient, to the troubled teen whose risky decision to run away from home at sixteen—with nothing more than the dream of becoming an artist—will resonate as the ultimate survival statement.
A silent movie masquerading as a book, Stitches renders a broken world suddenly seamless and beautiful again.
Need I elaborate? I feel excited to read this already.
One word to explain why I checked these out: AHRT. I’m attracted to staring at pretty things, and Kim Young draws pretty pictures. Pictures also happen to be things. What can I say? Jacob, by comparison of Miss Swan, could undoubtedly make a fine female specimen.
- The Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
As a huge fan of the show, I finally decided to start the graphic novels during severe TWD withdrawal. I recall sitting in front of the television, remote in hand, flicking over to AMC and maybe if I wish hard enough, a new TWD episode will air. Nothing new aired, of course, and I have to sit tight like all other TWD-obsessives until October. In the mean time, the graphic novels are easily accessible, so why not?
The first volume is, if anything, enjoyable, although I admit to finding a few zombies scenes more humorous than frightening or sad. I found the second volume, to my surprise, a giant let down. All characters appeared to share he same profanity-filled voice and raging desires for making out and having exorbitant amounts of sex. I’m not anti-profanity, nor am I uncomfortable reading about rampant hormones that lead to stuff in bed. I feel the second volume went overboard and lacked a certain subtlety in language and emotion. (Frankly, volume two screams “WRITTEN BY A GUY,” I’m sorry.)
Because I adore the show, I will continue reading the rest of the TWD novels. I only hope that volume three shows an improvement from the previous one.