(The title of this post is sort of an inside joke on Ravelry, and is normally used to wish someone a happy birthday.)
So, yesterday was my 31st birthday. It actually wasn’t too bad. I didn’t have any cake, but my dad had gotten donuts and breakfast sandwiches (sausage patties and cheese on English muffins) that morning, and he even volunteered to make coffee. About 2:30 that afternoon, I was getting a bit bored, so I finally asked my dad if he’d be willing to take me to a local independent bookstore I’d been wanting to go to for a while, and I still had a considerable amount of Christmas money still burning a hole in my wallet. He agreed to go, and so we all hopped into the Jeep and drove the 10 miles or so to the store. I don’t want to give away my exact location, but this is an independent bookstore that’s been around for a while, and I remember going to this same store over a decade ago to get books that were required reading for one of my high school English classes. (I still have those books and have attempted to revisit some of them, as recounted in “My Love Affair With Books”.) It sells mostly used books, but there are also plenty in new condition, with just about every genre you could think of. There are several rooms filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves. The front room houses the most contemporary books and children’s and young adult fiction as well. The next room contained the classics and all sorts of nonfiction books (biographies, history books, philosophy) on one side, and new age and self help books on the other. The third room had the general fiction books, with authors like Danielle Steele and Debbie Macomber and V.C. Andrews and Dan Brown lining the shelves. The fourth and final room contained mostly fantasy and science fiction novels, which while I am not a major reader of those two genres, I did take a look to see if there was anything interesting for people that I know who do enjoy those genres. Ultimately, I bought five books, four of them from the Classics/Nonfiction room and the fifth was from the front of the store. Some of these titles you may recognize from the list I posted, but wasn’t limited to, in “I’m Dreaming of a Mild Christmas”. And I’ll explain my reasoning behind each of them.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This one was a case of “I have seen the movie, but I have never read the book”. I remember watching the 1960s film adaptation of this novel in high school, but for one reason or another I have never read the book. I have even seen John Green’s Crash Course Literature course on this novel and still have not read it. From what I know of this novel, it is like “Survivor” on steroids, and illustrates what happens when the most extreme of circumstances forces us complex human beings into our most basic, primitive instincts and behaviors.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
You readers do not understand how long this book has been on my Book Bucket List (basically, the list of books I want to read before I die)! I have been intrigued by this book since 1999…the year that I saw an episode of The Famous Jett Jackson in which this very novel plays a very important part in an episode’s plot. The dystopian themes of censorship and the limitation of knowledge (two things that I personally take a strong stance against) also draw me to this particular novel, and I’m excited that I’m finally going to get a chance to read it!
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
I know I may get some flack for picking this one, as a lot of people tend to associate Rand’s work with right-wing politics and political figures like Paul Ryan; I personally identify as socially liberal with a libertarian streak, but I also try to allow myself to be open minded to other points of view. My main motivation for picking this one was actually Neil Peart, the drummer from the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, who mentioned Rand and The Fountainhead in the liner notes to the band’s landmark album 2112, which (according to his interview in the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which I decided to watch again on Netflix last night after buying this book) inspired a then-twelve-year-old Canadian boy named Sebastian Bierk (who would later become a famous heavy metal singer named Sebastian Bach, famous for singing in the band Skid Row and later for playing Hep Alien guitarist and singer Gil in Gilmore Girls) to go out and actually get a copy of The Fountainhead and read it. The members of the band are all well-read people, and Peart especially (as the band’s primary lyricist) has never been afraid to incorporate literary themes into the band’s songwriting. I mean, their song “Xanadu” was inspired by a Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem! (“Kubla Khan”, by the way, if you’re wondering!) I mainly wanted to see what all the hype was about, even if I didn’t necessarily identify with Ayn Rand’s political themes or stances. And I should state the following: Yes. I am a female Rush fan. We exist.
A Farewell to Armsby Ernest Hemingway
I think it’s safe to say that most Americans’ exposure to Ernest Hemingway’s work has come primarily from being required to study The Old Man and the Sea for a high school English class. I include myself in this. I studied The Old Man and the Sea as part of my English class in my freshman year of high school. I vaguely remember reading it. I don’t know if it had much of an effect on me. Now, from what I know of this one, this novel is semi-autobiographical and based off of Hemingway’s experiences in World War I. Will this have more of an effect on me than The Old Man and the Sea did? I can’t wait to find out. This wasn’t necessarily on my Book Bucket List. I picked this one on a whim. But sometimes you find a gem 💎 when you least expect it. Perhaps this will end up being a gem 💎 in my collection. And perhaps I’ll get the same reaction I had to The Catcher in the Rye and wonder “WTF?” at the end of it all. Who knows?
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
I read The Hunger Games about two and a half, maybe three years ago and loved 💕 it. How much did I love it? I finished the entire book in one week. I have only read Harry Potter novels in a quicker span of time! I wanted to read Catching Fire almost immediately afterwards…only to find that Walmart stopped carrying the Hunger Games novels just after we’d bought the first novel in the trilogy! There was also a copy of Mockingjay available, but I was unsure of how much it would eat up my budget, and I’d already found quite a few titles for my collection. I hope to eventually get a copy of Mockingjay someday, but I hope I have just as much fun reading Catching Fire as I did reading The Hunger Games!
After paying for the books and leaving the bookstore, I hopped back into the Jeep where my parents were waiting, and my dad drove us around some of the more rural parts of our home county, which is filled with Florida scrub forests and the occasional cattle pasture (or as I like to call it, “Cow Country”, which Florida actually has quite a bit of). We made our way back towards our home, but not before stopping off at a local car wash first (the Jeep is white and was covered in pollen from recent rain storms that came by earlier this week). We finally got home after a couple of hours away, and had a mostly relaxing evening, which I spent watching Netflix and drafting and formatting the post you are currently reading!
Thank you to everyone who sent me their birthday well wishes, be it here on my blog or through Instagram or other social media! I appreciate it and I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my blog! I hope the next year ahead for me is a good one!