Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Salon: Bookstore travels

This weekend has been the usual welter of kiddie sporting activities (soccer game, baseball opening day festivities, dance competition, and tennis match) and while this would mean most people wouldn't get any reading accomplished, I am the bad mom in the stands with her nose in a book whenever I think the kids won't be looking to make sure I'm watching. Actually, they catch me more often than not but that's something else entirely. After all, if we're paying for therapy, they need to have stories to keep making it worthwhile, right? To make things interesting than usual this weekend, the dance competition was out of town, necessitating a hotel stay and a careful road trip book selection.

I needn't have worried about the books I'd take though as we arrived a bit earlier than expected and my little dancing queen was more than willing to search out a local independent bookstore. In my own personal quest to ensure the health of any and all bookstores within a certain mileage radius of my physical presence, I came home with 12 new books for myself and 4 or 5 for the dancing queen (she's already taken them off to her hidey hole so I can't double check her numbers). Several were on my wish list, several by authors I generally like, a few were on the discount table, and at least one was both in regional literature and on the staff picks table. When I'll actually get to them (days, weeks, years from now?) remains to be seen as I excersized great restraint before bed last night and stuck with one of the books I am already in the middle of when the interminable competition finally ended at 11:30pm.

Frankly, starting something new would have taken more brain cells than I had to spare at that hour of the night given that I was still overwhelmed by all I'd seen at the show. My fellow readers, were you aware that smallish cowgirls (ages 4-6) who tap are quite capable of masquerading as chipper little Western-themed prostitutes? I think it took me four numbers subsequent to that one (danced to "Put a Girl in It," incidentally) to regain the power of speech, nevermind any mental acuity useful for reading. Something else I learned this weekend was that despite the childhood obesity epidemic, no one sees any reason to push for a tad more modesty in costumes (and I only saw kids under 12--the older girls dance today and we're long gone). Perhaps the sheer expanse of pre-pubescent wobbling flesh is meant to be a distraction in case of any missteps in the actual dancing. Whatever the case may be, it was an effective distraction from my book, despite it being a pretty good read. I guess it's a good thing these girls aren't self-conscious about their bodies but fostering self-confidence should still be age-appropriate, right?! I know there's a book (or books) out there on the cheerleading culture but I don't know that I've ever heard of one about competitive dance. All I have to say is that it would certainly be a fertile field (and this from a mom who signs her daughter up for it year after year despite misgivings). Since I can't read about kiddie dancing and all the wackiness engendered in it (and whether I'd want to read it given that I am currently living it is also up in the air), I will stick to thinking of competition weekends as opportunities to get to know bookstores in a variety of different cities around the tri-state area.

Here's what came home with me this weekend: The Sand Castle by Rita Mae Brown, Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer, Attachment by Isabel Fonseca, A Concies Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo, Refuge by Dot Jackson, House and Home by Kathleen McCleary, Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran, On Account of Conspicuous Women by Dawn Shamp, The God of War by Marisa Silver, Sundown, Yellow Moon by Larry Watson, Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner, and After Hours at the Almost Home by tara Yellen.

Yesterday's massive book giveaway winners to be announced later today.

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