Not long now, folks

I know some of you are champing at the bit for me to start updating Charley again. I will on Tuesday, barring unforeseen circumstances. I’ve got a billion things to post of course. People keep disappearing whether I update or not.

I’ve read eight books in my downtime. Not as many as I’d thought I would. My latest book, Nine Suitcases, a Holocaust memoir translated from Hungarian, took several days to read even though it wasn’t really that long. I’ve got thirteen unread books checked out from the library yet, and two inter-library loan books I need to pick up from them. I’ll read a few more these next few days, as I’m not working again till Tuesday.

If any of you are interested in my reading habits, you’re welcome to view my accounts at LibraryThing and Goodreads.

121 thoughts on “Not long now, folks

  1. Aimee April 5, 2009 / 1:16 pm

    A reader after my own heart! I speed through several books a week, too, anytime I possibly can, and usually have more than one book going at once. My mother (a Holocaust and true crime book junkie, btw) wonders how I can read more than one book at the same time, switching back and forth.
    Just finished “Pretty Boy Floyd” by Larry McMurtry yesterday evening. He’s my new favorite author, I think he’s even better than my old favorite Stephen King.
    Not sure what I’ll read next, I have Dog the Bounty Hunter’s book “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” I should probably try that next, just to see if he’s as obnoxious on paper as he is on TV. lol
    But I have loads more books too. That subscription to Bookshare was the best money I ever spent.

  2. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 12:30 am

    I just finished re-reading some G.K. Chesterton and Flann O’Brien stuff. Recommended fiction then: the former’s “The Man Who Was Thursday,” the latter’s “The Third Policeman.” You will thank me after you’re done, I swear you will!

    (A. goes back to champing at the bit.)

  3. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 12:55 am

    *Aimee joins Anthony in champing at her bit, but witha rather shamed expression*
    Now I’m embarrassed. Here you are recommending the classics, the giants of the English-speaking literary world and I’m about to read… Dog the Bounty Hunter?
    *spits out bit and takes her book someplace quiet to hide and mope*
    lol All in good fun, Anthony.

  4. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 2:07 am

    Oh, now, Chesterton and Flann O’Brien are ONLY somewhere mid-level in that which we snooty fancypants types like to refer to as “the canon,” LOL. I wasn’t hitting with the heavy stuff! (“Well, ladies, I’m working on my new verse-translation of Chaucer, as Faber has been on me about finishing the thing.”—not!)

  5. Emma l April 6, 2009 / 11:23 am

    Book snobs the lot of you, haha! I have just finished Ham on Rye. Not too low brow I don’t think…..

  6. Poor Batty Old Anthony April 6, 2009 / 12:26 pm

    I will admit, pace another of “Meggyweg”‘s blog entries here, that a book shelf in my garage did fall down and hit me in the head, although I was not fatally buried in rubble as a result. Heavy tomes, though, heavy tomes.

    • Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 2:51 pm

      A bookshelf fell on your head? That reminds me of an Onion horoscope: “The poetry of John Donne will change your life forever when it falls off a high shelf and paralyzes you.”

  7. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 1:35 pm

    Ha ha, ya snobs! I think I’m still the lowest brow of all. After all, I also read “Confessions of a Stripper” “Kinky Freedman’s Guide to Texas Etiquette” all the Sue Grafton Kinsey Millhone books up to T is for Trespass, and lots of those Worst Case Scenario books.
    Now I’m going to dress my low-brow self in my neon-colored stretch pants, skin my hair back intoa very tight ponytail, and hie myself to the nearest Wal-Mart where I will load up on frosted doughnuts, which I’ll start eating right in the store, even before I’ve got to the checkout line to pay for them.
    Oh, and I need to get my Elvis-on-black-velvet painting reframed.

  8. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 1:52 pm

    Aimee, if you get the Elvis re-framed, those cute little dogs sitting around the table smoking cigars and playing cards—that print is going to be JEALOUS! Okay, true confessions, I finished the tawdry true crime paperback (purchased at WALMART, I must add) “Butcher” last night. It’s the sordid tale of the pig farmer in Vancouver who….well, it’s too grisly to explain at this hour of the morning! (It’s a pretty crappy book too, unless you want page after page of the author, in essence, merely reproducing the transcript of the questioning of the suspect. Not recommended, therefore.)

  9. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 2:27 pm

    I got the poker-playing doggies reframed last month. Sent Randy Ray out with it, along with instructions to get a new paint job for the Harley.
    I’ve been waiting for a book on the Pickton pig farm case to be scanned into Bookshare so I can read it, if “Butcher” comes up I will pass and wait for something better. Transcripts of his questioning have got to be pretty dull reading, as I understand it the man was far less smart than your average pig.
    I read “Cellar of Horror” about Gary Heidnik a few weeks ago, which was pretty good. And I’ve got “Zodiac” by Robert Graysmith waiting in the stack somewhere too.

  10. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 3:18 pm

    Or if you get a paper cut from “War and Peace” Tolstoy will leave a mark upon you forever more.

  11. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 3:26 pm

    As Donne so memorably wrote, four centuries ago now, “Go and catch a falling star…or, yo, or a falling book-shelf, whichever, man….”

    Actually, I’ve had perhaps three “bookshelf-related” attacks on my old self over the years; it’s as if the things were sentient beings when I get around them. Either that, or my system of concrete blocks and 2 x 4’s, stacked one atop the other several tiers high, is flawed. BOINK! The term “teetered precariously” fits my shelving techiniques.

    Now Aimee, Pickton o’ the Piggy Palace & adjoining porker acreage was, actually, a fairly wily little character, having fooled Vancouver authorities for years and years. Of course, a mid-sized sofa, if it turned killer and began to eat its occupants, also could have fooled said department, as long as those eaten were not citizens of importance.

    Graysmith’s “Zodiac” is terrific, though I’ve heard quibbles that he identified the wrong guy as having filled the title role. But Detective A. here thinks he got it right. “Cellar of Horror” = great read too, as long as there are those who insist upon reading tales of HORRIBLE DISGUSTING PEOPLE like Heidnik. So of course I read it long ago, LOL.

  12. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 3:39 pm

    And as long as the detectives just couldn’t see the mild-mannered, slow-witted old sofa actually opening up and eating people, and their view of the world just didn’t include man-eating sofas.
    “Cellar of Horror” is pretty old, it was published right after Heidnik was sentenced, but he didn’t actually get the needle till 1999.
    And reading about about HORRIBLE DISGUSTING PEOPLE is one of my favorite things to do. Almost as much as reading long books filled with random and largely useless factoids.

  13. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 3:55 pm

    Yeah, for a once & future English prof, I have spent an INORDINATE amount of time reading true-crimers and other oddball non-fiction. I have my favorite novelists (they do have to be dead to qualify, though I did read Ralph Ellison’s great “Invisible Man” while he was still amongst the living) and have read all “the bigs,” but, having been born in a town near by the only roadside historical marker which commemorates serial killers (The Bloody Bender tribe), I think I was predisposed toward reading grisly stuff. Oh, and “In Cold Blood,” that was in my state too, and came out in paperback along about the time my lawn-mowing $$$ allowed me to buy my own books. That actually was one of the first books I bought.

  14. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 4:05 pm

    I can’t be absolutely sure, bt I *think* my first true crime book was “The Search for the Green River Killer.” Read it while I was home for Xmas break freshman year of college. It wasn’t new then, but it was onlya few years old.

  15. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 4:13 pm

    Yes, to me, there’s nothing that says “Christmas cheer” quite like tales of dead bodies dumped in a river, LOL. Makes one want to re-arrange one’s creche to point out parallels. (“Keep an eye on the so-called ‘Three Wisemen.’ I’ve always thought they were acting suspicious, and I’ve heard they have been seen on the Sea-Tac strip, bothering the working girls.”)

  16. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 5:18 pm

    Where did you teach English, Anthony? I’ve known some lovely English professors in my life and once aspired to that career myself, until I found out what the job market was like.

    One of my English profs wrote his thesis on shit in James Joyce. Literally. He said when he was a grad student, one of his friends was teasing him about James Joyce and said it was full of shit, and he jokingly responded there was a lot to say about shit in Joyce. He started pulling stuff out of his head and realized it actually sounded kind of good, and so he changed his thesis topic. The same man went on to teach a course called “Drug Abuse in Literature” which filled up rapidly even though it was the summer term.

  17. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 5:29 pm

    At a non-descript little college in NE OK.

    I just googled “shit in Joyce” (he wipes others off the map, excuse the pun, when it comes to excrement!) and got a study called “Powers of Ordure: James Joyce and the excremental vision(s).”

    I didn’t go for my Ph.D. primarily so I wouldn’t have to…how to put this…to dig that deep for so rich a topic for dissertation, LOL.

    Yes, drug abuse, that’ll have the kids flocking in! Me, I like Thomas De Quincey’s “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.” The topic is most-familiar these days as a result of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas,” of course. Me, I’ve actually been “…in Barstow, at the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold, LOL. A homage of sorts to HST. Then it was on to Vegas and Circus Cirucs. Great book. Fun times. Older now.

  18. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 6:18 pm

    Thanks to this recent discussion of Joyce and shit, I no longer feel any shame at all about my reading list.

  19. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 6:29 pm

    Now, now, Aimee, lol. ‘Ulysses’ is a great, sprawling, dirty, wonderful book. Molly Bloom’s multi-page “yes!” sentence doesn’t mention poop once, at least that I recall, though it might. “Why, the novel’s fecund fecality…” (and yadda-yadda-yadda; no one can “go on” quite like an English teacher).

    Are you sure you can tear yourself away from Dog—you’re undoubtedly out there with him and Beth, bringing lowlifes in—to grace us again with your presence?? Okay, if you’re going to stay here, we have to return to our bit-champing, as Meaghan is in the process of toiling away on the scores of people who went missing while she went to comedy shows with her boyfriend. Shhhh…..

    Ah, too much fun. We should petition this project’s She Who Must Be Obeyed to install a chatroom on-site here.

  20. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 6:46 pm

    Choosing a book to read is something of a CRAPSHOOT, isn’tit?
    I mean, you might think “Hannibal” will be good, but it turns out to be a LOAD of bull. lol
    I haven’t gone to Hawaii to hunt down the evildoers yet, but when I get there I’ll send you a postcard, probably with a hula girl on it, or a pineapple.

  21. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 6:59 pm

    LOLOL. Couldn’t you send some souvenir TOILETRIES, while you’re at it?

    I must confess, I’ve seen that show, like, twice. Couldn’t remember what his wife’s name was. Never thought I’d live to see the day I was looking up Dog on Wiki. Did, though. (Hangs head in shame.)

  22. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:04 pm

    Confession: I’ve only watched the show a couple times myself, they both get on my nerves pretty quickly. I imagine once I get to the islands and soak up some pina coladas and lay on the beach (I was lying through my teeth about working; Beth and her overgrown twins can keep her job, I’ll just sponge and spectate and provide snide commentary) I imagine we’ll all get along pretty well.
    Except… I hear they have roaches out there big as kittens… and they FLY! *supresses scream and carefully tucks feet under her*
    Maybe you can come down from your THRONE and visit me, Prof?

  23. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:09 pm

    Ah! Flying roaches. I’m glad we’ve moved on to a more palatable subject. I dealt with The Flying Roach in San Antonio—and the rats as big as all four table legs bound loosely together. But stockier.

    But I digress.

    When I first saw Beth, I thought Divine from the old John Waters movies had been reincarnated. I thought that Dog, in other words, had married a transvestite.

  24. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:17 pm

    Rofl! It’s not much of a leap to change Sert into Beth.
    I think all he saw was her two friends and wanted them but had to settle for a package deal.
    I would absolutely refuse, under any circumstances, to marry anybody who was ever called Dog for any reason. Because if he’s Dog, I know what that would make me.

  25. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 7:25 pm

    Powers of Ordure: James Joyce and the excremental vision was written by the professor I mention, Dr. Anspaugh. He’s quite a trip — the kind of guy who says the funniest things in a totally deadpan way.

    We had to read Confessions of an English Opium-Eater for the drug abuse lit class. I wrote a paper on it, my thesis being that Thomas De Quincy was an egotistical prick, using examples from the book to prove this. I got an A.

  26. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:25 pm

    RofLMAO (I’m not one of those sissy English teacher-type; and, besides, the MAO speaks to the recent Joyce discussion!).

    Well, my dad’s nickname for me was “Buck,” so that puts me on dangerous territory. “Here Buck! Good dog!” rolls a little too easily off the tongue.

    (English Teacher Reference: ‘Hamlet,’ II.ii.1-2: “Speak the speech I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue”)

  27. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:29 pm

    I always thought it was Gene Simmons that said that about tripping off of tongues.
    I have a great-uncle whose given first name is Jennings, but he’s known to one and all as Buck. So yes, I have an Uncle Buck. (Like John Candy’s Buck Melanoma.)

  28. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:29 pm

    And…and…

    Soft you now, the fair Meaghan! (To keep w/the Shakespeare thing.)

    De Quincey was not only a drugged-up egoist (and egotist), he was also a chronic plagiarizer; he was found out when his publications were carefully read after HE had accused (rightly) S.T. Coleridge of being a….chronic plagiarizer.

    Still, De Q’s “Murder as Considered as One of the Fine Arts” is well worth one’s while. (Also see Orwell, George: “Decline of the English Murder.)

  29. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:31 pm

    My favorite English prof’s first name was Jennings.

    I think my dad called me “Buck” because we lived across the alley from the excellent ’40s/’50s trumpet player Buck Clayton’s mother.

    Thus Concludes Another Exciting Post in “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Anthony—And, Well, MORE, Really”

  30. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:38 pm

    That makes exactly two people I’ve heard of whose first name was Jennings. (I may be making a leap here, but I bet my Uncle Buck got that nickname because it was either that or be called Jenny.)
    Or maybe you were you dad’s little Buckaroo?

  31. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:42 pm

    Entirely possible, given the time period, LOL.

    Just re-read some of my own silly posts and I must beg forgiveness for twice failing to close a quotation, and once (briefly considers ritual seppuku; however, continues) failing to add an “s” to pluralize a noun. (sob, sob)

  32. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 7:45 pm

    I read a book written by a guy named Jennings Michael Burch. It was a memoir. He said people made fun of his name when he was a kid so he tried using his middle name for awhile.

  33. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:46 pm

    I’ll turn you in to the Grammar Gestapo and they will be very harsh with you, Bucko. Even do a semi-COLON search! Shhh, hear that snapping sound? That’s their rubber gloves being put on.

  34. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:47 pm

    I bet Michael didn’t work out so much better, what with all the other little Michaels running around.

  35. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:49 pm

    Madam, I AM the Grammar Gestapo. (Checks to see if he spelled “seppuku” right.) “Semi-colons ‘r’ Me”

    I like the name Jennings.

  36. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 7:53 pm

    Oh, well, if you’re the Grammar Gestapo, then surely you know what the other inmates do to fallen Grammar Goons once they land in the slammer?
    It ain’t purty.

  37. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 7:54 pm

    I hear they let Beth have her way with you. (“NOOOOOOO!”)

  38. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 8:09 pm

    It would be like being in a really vicious pillow fight, I bet.

  39. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 8:11 pm

    In stereo.

  40. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 8:19 pm

    I also like the name Jennings, but the fact is that the only nickname would be Jenny, which no body wants.

    In other news, I have set a challenge for myself to read a book set in every country in the world. So far I’ve read books from 64 countries and identified books to read for another 34 (including a few colonies). However it will be devilishly difficult to complete this challenge. Montenegro, for instance, wasn’t even a country until quite recently and I can’t find anything set in there. Nor can I find books from many of the Caribbean islands. Nor from several of the -stan countries in central Asia.

  41. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 8:23 pm

    Being an anglophile, I can count all the many books I’ve read that were set in England during the heyday of Empire as thus representing any other country colonized by England at that time, or any other! (That’d be a good way to cheat, anyway.)

  42. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 8:27 pm

    I have cheated a little that way. For instance, I put down Orwell’s Burmese Days for Burma.

    I’ve decided to include several colonies and other not-strictly-countries on my list. Tibet, for example — it’s not a country but by rights it should be. And Pitcairn is so far away from everything that it’s a land to itself, though technically a part of Britain. (Absolutely nothing has come out of Pitcairn. I will read a history of the island.)

  43. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 8:30 pm

    Megahan, if you are looking for books from Stan countries, try “The Kite Runner” which is in Afghanistan, and “Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind” by Suzanne Fisher Staples, which is in Pakistan. Sorry I can’t remember who wrote “The Kite Runner.”
    Anthony, you kill me.

  44. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 8:31 pm

    I’ve already read Shabanu and The Kite Runner (by Khaled Hosseini). What I need are books from Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. I have read one Soviet memoir that’s partly set in Kazakhstan, so I’ve got that covered.

  45. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 8:43 pm

    If you haven’t conquered Nigeria (which I suppose you have, as the great Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe writes masterpieces), don’t forget Amos Tutola—“The Palm Wine Drinkard” and “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” are classics which aren’t read as frequently as Achebe’s stuff.

    I’ve taught Orwell’s classic essay “Shooting an Elephant” before: “In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.” I know that great intro by heart. If I were pressed, I’d have to say Orwell’s my hero.

  46. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 8:49 pm

    I’ve read all of Orwell’s books except Homage to Catalonia (I own a copy, just haven’t got around to it yet) and several of his essays. He is indeed awesome. Things Fall Apart is on my to-read list.

    I’m adding to-read books to my “around the world” list as I type this. I’m up to 38 now. The problem is that I find books by writers of certain nationalities, but the books are so obscure that I can’t find a description of them anywhere and thus I don’t know where they are set.

    This challenge will definitely acquaint me with books I wouldn’t otherwise read. Perhaps I’ll discover some gems. I’ll definitely learn more about life in other countries. My most recently read around-the-world challenge book is A Long Way Gone, the memoirs of a child soldier from Sierra Leone.

  47. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 8:58 pm

    “Homage to Catalonia” was a bit of a disappointment; I was really looking forward to it once I’d located and bought a copy (in the Olden Days when Amazon.com didn’t exist). Orwell himself was so disappointed in the many elements which made up the republican cause in Spain—all sorts of various (and some very vicious) communist-front organizations—that the book lacks some of the pizzazz his others have. It’s not nearly as great as “Down and Out in Paris and London” and, my favorite, “The Road to Wigan Pier.” Those two speak to my socialist heart and to the Englishman in me (even though my branch of the family got over here in 1689!).

  48. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:01 pm

    When I first started seeing your posts on this very site, I assumed you WERE British born and bred.
    Shows how sharp I am, right?

  49. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 9:02 pm

    I’m not sure what to do about books set in Nazi ghettos. I’ve read books set in Latvian and Lithuanian ghettos, but all of the ghettos were pretty much alike no matter where they were at. On the other hand, I haven’t been able to find anything else set in Latvia. Do you think the History of the Riga Ghetto should count?

    I don’t really have a favorite Orwell book. I hated Coming Up for Air and Keep the Aspidistra Flying at first (the former because it seemed boring and the latter because the protagonist was so whiny and unlikeable) but they grew on me and I ended up reading them many times.

  50. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:06 pm

    Wow, Aimee, that’s a compliment! I’ve also been mistaken (in person even, and many years ago) for Jewish, and from New York, which, for a kid from Kansas, I thought also was highly complimentary, LOL.

    Or it may all mean I’m just a sort of poseur. (Hangs head in shame.)

    I like Orwell the essayist better than Orwell the novelist, though I first came to him through “1984” and “Animal Farm” (of which latter I possess a first edition—well, a first American edition, not quite the same thing, but quite a find in a thrift store).

  51. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:10 pm

    I say anything that saves you time and lets you put the notch on your reading lamp (for lack of a better comparison) is okay. Riga is in Latvia, ergo, the book abot the Riga ghetto counts as Latvian.
    I was just on Bookshare and downloaded four “Culture Shock!” books: India, Rome, Philippines, and Korea. I guess they’re really deluxe travel guides, they tell you how to act, what to expect, how not to embarrass yourself when you go to those countries. I love reading stuff like that, even though I’ve never been abroad (been a broad though, ha ha). I guess it ties in with being a trivia addict.

  52. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:14 pm

    Anthony, what do you do that people think you’re a New Yorker? Refuse to make eye contact? Adopt a kamikaze style of crossing streets? Or what?
    And what’s the penalty for being a poseur, if you are one?

  53. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 9:17 pm

    I’ve read books from India, Italy and both South and North Korea. The North Korean book was written by a Korean-American woman and is the only novel in English that’s set in modern-day North Korea. It wasn’t all that great — the author tried to cram in as many North Korean issues as possible into the story and left a lot of plotlines dangling and there was also way too many deus ex machina. The South Korean book (by a South Korean writer) was TERRIBLE. All the characters did was have sex, kill themselves and talk pretentiously about art. If it hadn’t been only like 120 pages I think I wouldn’t have been able to finish. If that’s what South Korea produces as literature, I think I’ll pass!

  54. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:18 pm

    When I was a little fellow, I always used to get (among other things) a World Almanac for Christmas, and read it cover to cover—wonderful trivia about many places!!

    Oh, by the way, I’d be posting EVEN MORE here but I’m also on Websleuths right now, clearing up some extremely cold cases, LOL. (I couldn’t really find my way out of a room with three doors, two of them open.) The one which interests me is the missing women from Springfield MO in 1992 one: Levitt—Streeter—McCall, or “3MW,” as we thread-sleuths have it. I was living in this area then, too, and it’s a very interesting case. As is the Freeman/Bible disappearance which took place even closer to me; I taught Lauria’s brother and her aunt, and I’m sure would have taught her, too. If only.

  55. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:19 pm

    South Korea has a pretty zany culture. One of my best pals is married to a South Korean woman. (Come to think of it, another is married to a Nigerian.)

  56. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:23 pm

    Whoa, Aimee, I missed your question. I’m not sure. I think it was because I read a lot and thus knew bunches about (this was in the late ’70s) all the punk bands and “hip” things. Also, I don’t sound like a Kansan when I’m talking (though I don’t have an Eastern accent either.) The Jewish thing was because of my black hair (oh, the good old days—grey now), and I think the two combined and people in the Midwest thought all Jews were New Yorkers, LOL.

  57. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:23 pm

    That Freeman-Bible thing? I wonder, if it could get some more publicity, just how many serial killers would confess to it. Jeremy Jones and Tommy Sells have both confessed to it. If Henry Lee Lucas had been alive, he probably would have tried to claim credit for that one too.
    For what it’s worth (not very much, I’ll admit) I think that case was something personal between the Freemans and somebody or more than one somebody, and that it was just Lauria’s bad luck to be there at that particular time.

  58. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 9:24 pm

    The South Korean book was called I Have the Right to Destroy Myself. I picked it based on its title.

    I know a girl who’s half South Korean. Her father is an American diplomat and her mother is a South Korean woman he met on the job. My friend has lived everywhere. I haven’t heard from her in a couple of years, but last I knew she was in an American boarding school because her father had been assigned to Jamaica and the education system there wasn’t up to his standards.

  59. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:27 pm

    Yeah, you have the right to destroy yourself, just stop writing about it! lol
    I read a book set in S. Korea several years ago. By Helen Kim, called “The Long Season of Rain.” Was passing fair, I guess.

  60. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:29 pm

    Agreed on Freeman/Bible, but I think “the law” in these here parts was involved too. Jeremy Jones = braggart sociopath; I taught kids who went to high school with him. The Sells guy, same thing, minus the high school component.

    I’ve escaped poseur charges by dipping Skoal. I fit right in around here.

    Meaghan’s still talking about books since she has to deal with missing people EVERY DAY.

  61. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:29 pm

    And Anthony, if I was going to indulge in a bit of low stereotyping, and I met a guy named Anthony with black hair, I’d probably guess Italian instead of Jewish.

  62. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:31 pm

    Dipping Skoal? Yuck.
    Although, my grandfather did chew Red Man tobacco, and I used to like to wet my finger and reach into the pack and take a tiny taste of the stuff. It smelled good to me. Much better than smoking tobacco, anyway.

  63. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 9:33 pm

    YES! I found a book set in Mauritius! I found it by accident, too, while I was looking for something from the Bahamas. And curiously, it has the same picture on the cover as what’s on the cover of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Volume II, The Kingdom of the Waves.

  64. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:35 pm

    Maybe it was due to the fact that, in my small Kansas town growing up, there were all of two Jewish families, and I was great pals with the sons. “It rubbed off.”

    Yes, I’m an old guy who not only dips snuff, he wears an earring. It’s the “go figure” element. “Keep ’em guessin’.”

  65. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:36 pm

    “Octavian Nothing? Why, that was my OTHER nickname as a boy.” JUST TEASING.

  66. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:38 pm

    Do you have a ponytail too, Anthony? It would seem to fit the Skaol dipping and earring wearing thing.

  67. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 9:40 pm

    Both volumes of Octavian Nothing are incredibly awesome books which I highly recommend. They’re about the life of Octavian Gitney, a slave who leads a very unconventional life. In the first book, he is the Boston-born son of an African princess who stepped off the slave ship heavy with child. He is owned by an academic society experimenting as to whether blacks are as smart as whites — he’s their experimental subject, provided the finest classical education in Latin and Greek and music and other fancy things. In the second book, he escapes and takes the side of the British in the Revolutionary War after the Brits promise to free any slave who joins their ranks.

  68. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:45 pm

    Aimee: no, I’m not one of those old guys-with-the-ponytail people. My hair—oh, here’s a Jewish trait!—used to be wavy with even a bit of a kink in it, and didn’t grow down, so much as out. (And no, I never had an Afro perm!!)

    Sorry, I was off putting my two cents-worth in on the Smiley Face Killer thread on WS.

  69. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:46 pm

    “Boston-born son of an African princess? Why I’M the….” Okay, I’m not. But, like President Obama, both are moms are white ladies from Kansas.

  70. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:47 pm

    OUR I mean. (Hide me! Grammar Police AND Smiley Face Killers are after me now!)

  71. Meaghan April 6, 2009 / 9:48 pm

    Actually, it turns out Octavian’s mom was an ordinary African girl, not a princess. She lied about that.

  72. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:48 pm

    Well, it WASN’T me then. Just like I said, LOL.

  73. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 9:54 pm

    Oh man, Anthony, you better get ready for that pillow fight of your life! That should be “That was I” and “That wasn’t I.” Am I right?
    I read “I: The Making of a Serial Killer” by Jack Olson (or is it Olsen?) a few years ago. It’s about Keith Jesperson the Smiley Face Killer. How about that dumb woman who landed herself in jail along with her dumb boyfriend by claiming they’d been the ones who killed Jesperson’s first victim? They belong in America’s Dumbest Criminals.
    Jesperson’s case illustrates as well as any why your mama tells you not to get in cars with people you don’t know.

  74. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 9:58 pm

    It’s “Olsen.” Same as America’s darlings, Mary-Kate and Ashley, LOL.

    “They can’t ‘pillow-fight’ me more than one time for all my sins.”

  75. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 10:03 pm

    Great. Now when some future civilization finds this thread, first, they’ll wonder why other blog entries got six or seven responses, and this one got 498. Then, they’ll see the last entry, referencing Mary-Kate and Ashley, and they’ll decide to dig up my body and put a stave through my heart.

  76. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 10:03 pm

    All right, so they can’t do more than one pillow fight, but they sure can extend the one pillow fight. And if Beth gets tired and finds she has been flattened and rendered unlovable and redundant, a suitable substitute will be called in to take her place.

  77. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 10:05 pm

    No, more likely they’ll say “Mary-Kate and Ashley Who? WHo were they?”

  78. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 10:06 pm

    “Didn’t they kill Heath Ledger?”

  79. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 10:10 pm

    Yes, and they supplied the deadly drugs to Anna Nicole Smith and Elvis too!
    Or no, maybe they’re the ones behind the Harry Potter phenomenon.

  80. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 10:17 pm

    Sorry—had to clear the cache. Aimee? Meaghan? OH NO! The Smiley Face Killers have struck again! Don’t worry, ladies! M-K, A, and I will rescue you! “C’mon, girls—there may be a TV series in this.”

  81. Aimee April 6, 2009 / 10:22 pm

    I hope I don’t live long enough to see their comeback. “Has-Beens” or “Use 2 B Kewt” might be the title.
    Or how about “Michelle’s Revenge?”

  82. Anthony April 6, 2009 / 11:20 pm

    No Aimee! We’re not supposed to find you till the premier episode of the second season! “Well, there goes M-K’s star turn in the ‘cliffhanger’ episode that was to end Season One. Drat. I’ll have a production assistant phone her and break the news.”

  83. Meaghan April 7, 2009 / 12:36 am

    In case any of you still care, my challenge list (both read and to-be-read) is now 138 countries long. I even have the Faroe Islands.

  84. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 12:38 am

    Can children’s books count? Those might possibly be easier to find, though I don’t know why I feel that way. And they’d take less time to read.

  85. Meaghan April 7, 2009 / 1:06 am

    Of course children’s books count. I read children’s books all the time.

    Up to 143 countries now. I’m going off the CIA World Factbook. I can’t find anything for Georgia though; my library catalog searches for Georgia always come up with Georgia the state. Nothing for Guam either, though I did find an interesting-looking tome about the homecoming of Japanese soldiers who hid in Guam for decades after World War II.

  86. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 1:12 am

    For a book set in Guam, try “Mariquita” by Chris Perez Howard. It’s the story of his mother’s life on the island during WWII. I found it on Bookshare just now, I’m sure you can find it someplace.

  87. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 2:03 am

    What’s all this “book chat” business? I’m set to shoot Day Three of the “Aimee & Meaghan go missing” episode of “Mary-Kate and Ashley: Cold Case Capers” show. Quiet on the set! Roll ’em!

  88. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 1:14 pm

    Is this the episode where me and Meaghan apply for fake ID’s but we can’t agree on what aliases to use so we steal wallets only to find out we stole celebrities’ wallets, and therefore we went toa lot of trouble and risk finding aliases we can’t even use?

  89. Meaghan April 7, 2009 / 3:35 pm

    Actually, there’s a semi-famous actress named Meghan Good, so I almost have a celebrity name already. No chance of me getting mixed up with her though; she’s black.

  90. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 8:51 pm

    “Ladies—could we quit this chit-chat on the set? You’re making M-K nervous and she’s retreated to her trailer. Thanks. Okay, from the top, now.”

    A: “Eeeek! Who are those hideous men coming our way, wearing the Smiley Face masks and growling?”
    M:
    A: “Meaghan? Meaghan? Oh no! She ran off and left me to my fate!”

  91. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 8:56 pm

    Director: Have patience, Miss, your sister ate a Monster Burger and needed to get rid of it quickly, she’ll be back soon. Meaghan is in Honeydew, California, visiting some relatives.

  92. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 9:00 pm

    Dog: “Beth, hon, hit the streets and find this gal.”

    Beth: (waddles off, making pillowy sounds)

  93. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 9:06 pm

    Aimee: (not expecting an answer and not waiting for one anyway) Do you suppose Beth will mind if I take this last pack of Tasti-Kakes for myself? I mean, the twins don’t eat anything but lettuce and chai tea, so I wouldn’t like them to go to waste.

  94. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 9:19 pm

    “Cut, cut. Ladies, NO discussing FOOD on the set. You know it makes M-K queasy to think of eating.”

  95. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 9:23 pm

    If we talk about food enough, MK might hear us and start gagging and then we’ll hear her and be able to find her. We could have a contest, see if Beth stumbles across her before we hear her retching.

  96. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 9:30 pm

    The rear portion of Beth’s torso would arrive six minutes after the front half did. If it’s a betting contest, we’d have to decide which counted, front or back.

  97. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 9:33 pm

    Front, probably, because MK wold be very likely to get trapped up there simmply by being ahead and not walking fast enough or turning aside.
    Aimee: (searching through abandoned lunch bag again) Oooh, look! Reesie Cups! They won’t keep long in this heat. Wanna share, Anthony?

  98. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 9:53 pm

    Only if Beth won’t find out. I survived that punishment once. (Shakes head sadly.)

    If Beth got up a head of steam, she might not be able to stop, and thus smother poor M-K. in Pillowland.

  99. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 10:31 pm

    Pfloompf!!!

  100. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 10:56 pm

    And you win the Lucky 100th Comment Award! That means that, if you vanish, Meaghan will feature you as Missing Person o’ the Week for three weeks in a row!

    If Beth went missing, her front half would be featured two different weeks, to get it all in.

    If M-K went missing, the person of the week picture would just flicker briefly, then go blank.

  101. Aimee April 7, 2009 / 11:28 pm

    Bwaaahhhaaaahaaahaa!!! *pounds desk* I wondered what I would win.
    Beth’s description would read: “Disappeared along with her twins, Anna and Nicole.”

  102. Anthony April 7, 2009 / 11:37 pm

    LOLOL, or “ouch, my funny ribs,” as a teacher I had used to say. I woke my puppy up when I guffawed loudly at this one. (More towns with ‘fruit’ names, from the other blog entry: Cherryvale, Kansas, home of silent film star the sexy Louise Brooks, and of Lucy’s sidekick Ethel—Vivian Vance.)

  103. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 1:33 am

    I believe Cherryvale was also the home, or at least, near the home of the infamous serial killers, the Bloody Benders.

  104. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 2:10 am

    Precisely, and as referenced above! Very good. The Bloody B. cabin was actually northeast of Cherryvale, on what are now known as the Bender Mounds. (Not a Beth reference….but could be! Similar shape and cup-sized.)

    Little children in my neck o’ the woods used to be taken to Cherryvale and The Bender Museum, which was a replica (of sorts) of their cabin, with tawdry-looking mannequins wearing ratty-assed old clothes, representing Kate & Ma and the dim-wit brother and father—though most if not all of them were not really related, according to later research—plus things allegedly from the real cabin; I remember a wreath made of human hair, not an unusual 19th c. artifact but I didn’t know it at the time so just supposed, when I was 10, that Kate had scalped these poor people Pa & Bro had bonked over the head and dropped into the cellar, and woven up something pretty. Yes, from this I developed a totally mistaken but definite impression of the macabre!

    Actually, one summer when I worked at a low-income housing project teaching sweet little kids, we bussed them all over for a look-see at the serial-killing tribe. Ah, the weird old days, eh? LOL.

  105. Kevin April 8, 2009 / 6:13 am

    I see on your GoodReads account that you’re about to read Panzram: A Journal of Murder. Excellent book, definitely on my top 5 list. You won’t be able to put in down. A few years back I worked at SDSU in library archives and was able to view the original manuscript Henry Lesser donated to SDSU in 1980. Enjoy the book!

  106. Meaghan April 8, 2009 / 10:54 am

    Actually, I have read the book. I read it I think in December or January. It was very good. Panzram appears to have had genuine literary talent. Shame that he, and others, made such a sucking chest wound of his life.

  107. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 12:12 pm

    We have a house here in town, or just outside of it, called the Patty Cannon House. Patty Cannon (I believe her real name was Lucretia) was known for pretending to help runaway slaves, but she actually sold them back into slavery, when she didn’t kill them, that is. Delaware was one of the border states, meaning a slave state but it fought on the Union side. I remember our fourth grade class took a field trip to the Patty Cannon House, but I was home sick the day they went so I missed it.
    A human hair wreath… Eddie Gein, eat your heart out! Yours, not somebody else’s!

  108. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 2:09 pm

    Panzram to executioner: “Yes, hurry it up, you Hoosier b*stard! I could hang ten men while you’re fooling around!”

    Aimee’s next project: opening “Dog and Beth House,” in homage to the pair. (“And Dog too.”)

  109. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 6:51 pm

    *rolls eyes*
    It’s worth a lot to be able to call somebodya Hoosier Bastard, isn’t it? But not quite worth hanging.
    And I thought Panzram was hanged in Leavenworth? Wonder if his guard really was from Indiana.

  110. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 8:14 pm

    I think he did meet his end in the Sunflower State:

    Therefore…….

    Conversation between Panzram and “Hoosier guy” on way to gallows:

    (audience hears distant voices coming. then….)
    Hoosier Guy: “Yessir, and I’m from the great state of Indiana.”
    Panzram: “And I’d eat your face off right down to your neck and
    hog-throttle you back to Indiana, were I not cuffed.”
    Hoosier Guy:
    Hoosier Guy: (gulps)
    Hoosier Guy:
    Panzram: “Yes, hurry it up, you Hoosier b*stard! I could hang ten men while you’re fooling around!”

  111. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 8:19 pm

    The Olsens come skipping on, singing “Wabash Cannonball” and doing a tap dance.
    MK: Hey, ummmm, waitaminnit…
    Ashley: Like, are we in like, the wrong movie?

  112. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 8:36 pm

    Panzram’s actual last words before his “Hoosier b*stard” line:

    (P turns to M-K and A as they finish up their cheery rendition of “Wabash Cannonball”)

    “You girls need to put on some weight. Why, if I were to roast you two on a spit, like I’ve done, I’m proud to say, 22 other times to twin girls and 20 other times to twin boys, 9 of each identical, in my hellish existence on this execrable planet, on the surface of which no person should go unassaulted, why, it would hardly be worth my while.”

  113. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 8:38 pm

    Wrong, Anthony, it’s “no person shoudl go unsalted!”
    I expect he was too modest to mention the identical triplets he roasted also.

  114. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 8:41 pm

    LOLOL. (Sings as if Bob Dylan: “My funny ribs, they are a-ouchin’.”)

    Panzram the man had SOME sense of shame: the triplets he roasted? They were the Hoosier Guy’s children.

  115. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 8:44 pm

    And their names were Gary Indiana, Eerie Indiana and…
    Belinda.

  116. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 8:47 pm

    Hee-hee-hee! For three years, I taught high school in Erie, Kansas. And read plenty of Gary Indiana’s non-fiction and critical pieces (as we snoots say).

    And this is all not to mention the time he tried to roast Beth’s twins after kayo-ing Dog with one punch, and Beth beat the living tarnation out of Our Carl. (“Whoooomp! Whoooomp!”)

  117. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 8:52 pm

    See, that’s how it all got started. Before that Carl was just your typical Minnesota hell-raiser, and he only tried to roast those twins because somebody had said they were silicone and he wondered what silicone would do if you tried to roast it, but they weren’t silicone, see, and when he got beaten up it addled his brains and he got the taste for murder. If she’d just laughed it off and called him a silly rabbit he’d have grown out of his foolishness and been a typical Minnesota used-car salesman.
    But no, some people just got to get all huffy and offended.

  118. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 9:05 pm

    Our Carl: misunderstood. Though I do think the Hoosier Guy “caught his drift” there at the last.

  119. Aimee April 8, 2009 / 9:12 pm

    Hoosier Guy hadn’t wanted to seem over-eager, so he made a show of slowing things up.
    He was onlya rookie, and he wasn’t sure of the little niceties of hanging.

  120. Anthony April 8, 2009 / 9:52 pm

    H.G. was too busy thinking about his murdered triplets to do him much hangin’, that-a-day. (“If I could only get my hands on that monster….oh well, guess I’ll just hang this cantankerous feller here, and go from there, searchin’, always a-searchin’, for him what killed my young-uns.”)

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