We began boxing up books months ago. The apartment was rather cramped & we were ready to clear out anything we could. So, rereading favorites was out of the picture and there never seemed to be any time to go to the library. Since I usually decide to start reading a book on a whim and without prior planning, I never could think to borrow one from a friend. Instead, I’d just root around the house until I found something I bought at a yard sale to sell in my online vintage shop or a random book I found at the campus swap shop. Sometimes I’d even read Raylo’s books. It’s a good thing we moved and unpacked stuff & found the library before I was forced to start reading his textbooks.

So, it’s been an eclectic journey this year. A few books were surprisingly great! One in particular was quite disappointing. Here’s some thoughts for you…

The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash

by Dave Urbanski

Have you noticed that a lot of people are naming their little boys Cash nowadays? I just can’t get over this. It’s like naming your kid Quarter or Dollar. Or maybe it’s like naming him Buck. (A thousand apologies to any of you who have named your kid Cash, Quarter, Dollar, or Buck.) The name sounds nice, but it’s Money…. I digress. This is supposed to be about this book, not baby-naming trends.

This is one of Raylo’s books I mooched to read. It is a biography of Johnny Cash with a focus on his spiritual journey. (That’s why the subtitle is “The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash,” see?) The content was very interesting & I’m glad I read the book since our new home town is about an hour from where he grew up. But, as someone with an English degree and as a former writer/editor, I am a bit of a snob about the writing form & style. I don’t profess to be perfect or even great in my own writing and I have certainly never written a book myself, but the style of this book just didn’t jive with me. The text got in the way of the content. So, I can only give this book 1.5 stars.

Shortly after moving here I noticed the big flashy sign outside the big college convocation center concert hall thingy. They had COMING SOON! Then, they flashed all of the names of upcoming concerts. It went something like this: COMING SOON! Keith Urban! COMING SOON! Disney on Ice! COMING SOON! Johnny Cash!

Apparently some people called and corrected them. Since Mr. Cash passed on to the big concert in the sky in 2003, unless he is planning on a second coming, he will not be playing at this concert. The next day it read COMING SOON! Johnny Cash TRIBUTE concert!

You could audibly hear the groans of agony & disappointment from Cash fans county-wide.

*******

I Lost Everything in the Postnatal Depression

by Erma Bombeck

The next book I read came from some unknown location. Seriously. I don’t know where it came from. The Swap Shop? A yard sale? I was unpacking the first of the book boxes & wanted something new to read. This was the first thing I saw.

Erma Bombeck was a pretty big deal humorist in the 70s and 80s. She had a big newspaper column & I remember several of my female family members had her books when I was a wee little tyke. She is funny and has a true way with words. But, this book on mothering and housewifery had so many relevant-to-1970-references that this oh-so-modern-Mama had a hard time getting the jokes. So, this book just gets 2 stars.

I did feel like I was reading a big of cultural archaeology. It was interesting & still worth my time, but I think I’ll return the book to wherever it came from. But, where did it come from….?????

*******

How Do You Spank a Porcupine?

by Ronald Rood

Oh, how I miss the Swap Shop at the campus where we lived! The nondescript building at the back of campus held all of the stuff people didn’t need or want anymore. You could drop anything off and pick anything up you needed — for free. I found all kinds of awesome crap there! And, you could tell when one of the professors had just been by because there would be nice crap available. There was one professor we would SwapStalk. If we saw her pulling into the shop, we’d run for it. Her daughter was outgrowing the princess phase & ours were entering it — she was a gold mine. If you see something princess in our house today it’s likely that we got it by SwapStalking this prof.

Another digression….

So, this book came from the Swap Shop. I got it out of boredom. It was actually quite entertaining! A rural New England family finds an orphaned porcupine and decides to raise it. Educational, informative, funny…. and I’ll now have quite a few more random facts in my arsenal of Useless and Random Facts to Pull Out and Use to Annoy Other People. (Example: Porcupines can’t shoot their quills. Quills are actually thick, sharp hairs. Porcupines can’t see worth diddly-squat. I could go on for hours, people, HOURS.)

My only beef: It ends too abruptly. It’s like Mr. Rood got tired, looked at the clock, and said, “Oh! It’s midnight! I should go to bed…. Ok, THE END.” That bugged me, so I only give it a 3.

*****

So, there’s 3 of the most random books I’ve ever read. Tomorrow is Library Story Day with the kiddies. I really hope they are happy and willing to let Mama go find her a book to read. Otherwise this will become The Year of the Random WhatTheCrap Book List.

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