PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

I Bought Two Books

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I’m scheduled for only three days of work this week—a nice break post-LSAT—because beginning Monday, the bookstore is reducing my hours to fewer than 20/week. I’m not pleased with this decision, and I know what message underlies it: “You’re not wanted around anymore.” Well, maybe not. It’s nothing personal on their part. It was obvious to everyone working that Spring Rush was underwhelming. Students are smarting up and pursuing online options for buying/selling books instead of automatically coming to us. There’ve been storewide budget cuts, with hours reduced everywhere and a few regulars receiving the big ole boot. I’m lucky to have kept my job, especially after my outburst a few weeks ago.

I’m telling you this because I’ve had copious amounts of spare time lately—a disgusting amount, really. I went to Barnes & Noble today and spent two hours sitting on the floor staring into space, drinking hot chocolate at Starbucks and reading. Despite my solitude and absence from work, it was a pleasant time. I love the Barnes in Roseville because it’s massive, with billions of places to sit, and an atmos that doesn’t feel as cramped as, for example, the Barnes in Highland Park, whose air is stale and whose armchairs are always occupied by snoring, farting (seriously) senior citizens. In addition, the Roseville Barnes attracts a younger crowd. Circa-twenties and teens are always scattered individually or in groups around Starbucks, or wandering aisles, or—like me—sitting on some aisle floor. Roseville’s designated Starbucks area is, I believe, as large as half of Highland’s Barnes.

Obviously, I’d prefer an independent bookstore, but my two favorites shut down the year I moved here: The Ruminator from debt, Bound to Be Read from owner sell-out. Garrison Keillor’s store isn’t an option, because it’s hidden away in some obscure business complex a few blocks from my building, the selection is limited, and being inside feels akin to visiting an art gallery. Somehow it demands silence. Also, when E. and I first went in, the register dweebs eyed our every move. They’re obviously without security—no baggy-uniformed rent-a-cops like Roseville, nor regulah Joes like me. I could help them, but they haven’t asked. Garrison Keillor has my e-mail address if he’s interested—haha. I doubt that’ll happen!

Before leaving, I bought two novels: (1) Demon Theory, by Stephen Graham Jones, whom Bat Segundo interviewed recently, and (2) The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia, a source of some lit-blog excitement during the past year. Both seemed amazing based on what I read in-store, and—because I’m single on 2/14—I decided to buy them. Somehow, I always find an excuse to purchase books despite owning an already too full bookshelf. (Also, I received gossip whore Ian Spiegelman’s Welcome to Yesterday via Bookmooch. I don’t have high expectations, as his last (also his first) novel was overrated, but I thought it’d be worth a look.) Following this para are selections from reviews of each book:

Demon Theory, by Stephen Graham Jones:

If Stephen Graham Jones’ wickedly clever Demon Theory were to ever be made into an actual film, the witty tagline might go something like this: Someone has taken his love of MLA too far. Culled from the fictional case notes of the fictional Dr. Neider at the equally imaginary Owl Creek Mental Facilities, Demon Theory is presented as a three-part novelization of the movie trilogy The Devil Inside, based on the (you guessed it) fictional best-selling novel inspired by said notes. Part literary film treatment, part pop culture lexicon, Demon Theory tells a triptych of interconnected stories (imagined here as sequels) concerning a group of Midwestern med school pals and their encounters with the nasty titular creatures.
(sez Vince Liaguno)

The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia

Instead of The People of Paper, they should have called this The Book of Extended Metaphors, to go along with one of the books between its covers, The Book of Incandescent Light. They should have called it The Book of Heartbreak or The People of Sorrow. They should have equipped it with warning signs and seatbelts to protect those of us naive enough to get caught up in the fairy tale first pages, those of us who ignored for a moment that this is a book for mature adults, people with scars, people who should not expect a book about a childproof world. They might have dropped a few more hints, might have whispered: “This book will lock you in a shed of tears.” They should have said the truth: This book is sublime.
(sez Mumpsimus)

That’s that.

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Written by patiomensch

February 14, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Barnes, Books, Personal

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