library loot

…temporary loot.  still, feels a bit piratey to walk in and come out with such a large bag o' booty

one, the mammoth biography of James Joyce by Richard Ellmann is a renewal.  twenty-eight days is nowhere close to enough to tackle the beast.  yet it is beautifully written and not at all boring.

All in my Head is Paula Kamen's personal struggle with the blinding headache that came one day twenty-four years ago and stayed.  as a sociologist and feminist, Kamen interleaves her personal story with a discussion of chronic pain, of the inability of the medical establishment to treat (don't even consider cure) acute and/or chronic panic. she also touches on the gender differences in pain assessment and treatment:  women are much more likely than men to be told that "its all in your head" and to "learn to relax".  women are also much more likely to be given sedatives and/or tranquilizers rather than painkillers. 
as a chronic pain sufferer (not headaches), I'm hoping to get some insight on how to cope with my personal hell.

The Family by Jelff Sharlet purports to be an inside look at a secret brotherhood several of whose members hold high positions in the federal and state governments:  "The Family" has recently received much unwanted interest since two of its members, John Ensign, Sen. Nevada (R) and Mark Sanford, Gov. S. Carolina (R) have become entangled in extra-marital affairs.

Why we suck is worth reading because its author, the esteemed Dr. Denis Leary, is also the composer of the inmortal Asshole Song.  if that doesn't convince you to read the book, nothing will.

for being such a maligned and stereotyped region of the country, Appalachia is barely known; A History of Appalachia attempts to bring together the many fragments to come up with a coherent history of the region. 

Payback is a slim essay by Margaret Atwood.  I'm interested in how a literateur like Atwood can tackle the subjects of debt and wealth.

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14 thoughts on “library loot

  1. How are you going to read all that before your time's up? I can barely find time to read one book a year. Okay, six books now that I'm in a book club. But still – that's a two-year pile you have sitting right there.
    Enjoy! The History of Appalachia sounds like a great read. I might have to check that out one day.

  2. Melungeons (p.189) …a remarkable and puzzling minority called "Melungeons:", never precisely ennumerated in East Tennesse and neighboring states, has been a mysterious dark skinned group subject to much prejudice for many years. The Melungeons are just now beghinning to put together their own story in a fairly convincing way"there is a strong belief 'round these parts that Elvis Presley is a Melungeon on his mother Gladys's side. the same is said of the actress Ava Gardner.

  3. oh, I get 28 days and up to three renewals. Payback is really short, more like a long essay; and Why we suck is kind of Denis's standup in paper – an easy read.but the main reason: I have no life.

  4. I expect to be mighty pissed off too. especially after hearing Mark Sanford said that the people of South Carolina should trust him even more after he cheated on his wife because he is now "more in the hands of the Lord than ever".

  5. The Melungeons have always fascinated me. Of course I am a Kentucky boy with dark curly hair and dark eyes, just like my father.

  6. lmk how the pain book is.We get 21 days, and then a renewal unless someone's waiting for the book, in which case you gotta give it back.I bought 3 paperbacks for a dollar @ St. Vinnie's today.

  7. Supposedly the Melungeons, I knew it was spelled funny, are the first settlers of the New World and maybe even are older than the Native American Indians…
    And yes, Elvis was one…

  8. Sharlet's book is excellent. I actually met a few members of The Fellowship (aka The Family or the "christian mafia") when I lived in the D.C. area… in fact, it's kind of hard not to.

  9. There was a show on The History Channel called "Hillbillies" (hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus) that was really interesting. It originally aired about a year ago, but reruns occasionally. Definitely describes my dad's side of the family, but we weren't quite mountain folk – though the tip of mountain range does start in Pennsylvania…

  10. I've just paged at the pain book (All in my Head) and it seems a worthwhile read – even though headaches are not my personal hell. I find her attitude not to be exactly 'resigned', but doing her best to cope without going into 'rah-rah' territory. I think you'll find it interesting.

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