#russbooks Day 4: Not for the Faint of Heart

In hindsight, I should have realized we were in for a rough ride when the box fell apart.

All I did was pick the poor thing up from the stack, and one entire side gave out, spilling books everywhere. We stuffed them back into the remains of the box, trying to preserve the order of the stack (this is for posterity, after all) and carried the whole mess into the study for its photo-op.

Even the box is falling apart

barbarfriendish More #russbooks… in a #fail box. This is Box #4

Poor thing. It doesn’t look substantially better when we open it:

The interior, if you care to call it that

All unsuspecting, we pick up the first book:

barbarfriendish Book #27 The End of Mr. Y/Scarlett Thomas. “If you knew this book was cursed, would you read it?” #russbooks

Uplifting title, non? Actually, the back cover copy sounds interesting, in a rather Kubrickian way. It’s going onto my TBR stack. Meanwhile Rachael, who has someplace to go after we finish today’s liveblog, is already pawing through the rest of the books.

barbarfriendish “This is the box of depress,” says @rachaelish. “Just this cover makes me wanna shoot myself.” #russbooks Ah, we’re in litfic territory now.

But, no, Gentle Reader: I’m wrong as usual. The reality is much worse. This book contains elements of the literary, but also the remains of a Women’s Studies class, and none of it (despite the fact that the Sedaris volume is billed as humor) will do anything to lift the spirits. Unless we’re talking about spirits of the liquid variety. Case in point:

barbarfriendish Book #28 Paradise/Toni Morrison. “They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.” …make mine a double #russbooks

This just isn't light reading

It soon gets even more delightful:

barbarfriendish Book #29 A Natural History of Rape/Thornhill & Palmer #russbooks

Now, I have to admit I’ve put this book on my TBR stack. The authors make a very interesting case for the proposition that society really can’t take steps to move itself beyond rape until we understand where rape comes from: that it’s not strictly a sociological issue, but that there are issues of biology at work as well. I’ve come away from the more sociological and/or behavioralist works I’ve read on this topic profoundly dissatisfied, and clearly the applications of those theories aren’t really working out. I’d like an opportunity to understand.

I do wonder why Russ saved it, however. I feel confident rape is not one of his vices.

barbarfriendish Book #30 The Pillars of the Earth/Ken Follett. “It lost me at the first sentence,” says @rachaelish–but I’m curious… #russbooks

Now my TBR stack is growing. I’d heard about this book when it first came out and wondered. Now that it is in my house I must make time for it.

barbarfriendish Book #31 Naked/David Sedaris #russbooks

Humor is a very individual thing. I glance through this book: it’s well-written and keenly-observed, but the humor is of a flavor that may get a wry smile out of me now and then, not the sustained laughter the blurbs promise. Your mileage may vary, and Russ’s obviously does: I know he’s a Sedaris fan.

Meanwhile Rachael, overwhelmed by it all, has thrown in the towel:

Rachael can't do this anymore

But the book on top of her head looks promising:

barbarfriendish Book #32 Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, vol 2 The Kingdom on the Waves–ARC/MT Anderson. intrigued; where’s vol 1? #russbooks

I wonder if the Library Gods have smiled on me and the first volume is somewhere in the Big Stack of Boxes. Otherwise I’m going to have to track it down.

There’s only one book left:

barbarfriendish Book #33 What is the What/Dave Eggers –with DOUBLE FOLD-DOWN #russbooks

The Double Fold-down

You’ve heard about this book, of course, even if you don’t recognize the title. (I didn’t.) It’s the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the boys from Sudan who came to America.

By the time we’re through with this box, we’re ready to give up, just like the box. I even forget to sign off. I can only hope there is no one out there waiting for more transmissions from Box #4, the Box of Depress.

We’ll be opening the next box this evening. Because hope springs eternal, maybe.

Back to the beginning of the #russbooks adventure

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One Comment on “#russbooks Day 4: Not for the Faint of Heart”


  1. […] other shenanigans from Barbara Friend Ish « #russbooks Day 2: live from Bat Country #russbooks Day 4: Not for the Faint of Heart » #russbooks Day 3: Going Solo June 5, 2009 It must be stated, in plain language, […]


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