I would love to ignore February for the purposes of Book Challenge 2011. I was fully prepared to do so if I went overboard at the Borders store closings, but that was not the case. Instead, I binged at Borders before the bankruptcy. On the bright side, I only spent $1-2 per book. Unfortunately, the Book Challenge has little to do with economics and everything to do with the growing stacks that may soon literally blot out the sun in my library.
It started at Borders in Orland Park. After a fruitless pass through the rest of the store, I discovered a bargain rack in the corner. I saw a book for $2 that was in my Amazon shopping cart for $6, then I found Shut Up, I'm Talking, and eventually I ended up with ten books, all buy-one-get-one-free for a total of $20. If I had stopped there, I would have been okay. Instead I set out to visit as many Borders stores as possible over the next week because I've learned that every store has a slightly different selection in such sales. It's not uncommon to find six books at one Borders, then visit another that has none of those books but has four others that I want. Along the way, the prices dropped to $1 each. By the time I was finished, I had combed the bargain racks at ten Borders stores for more than two dozen titles. And those weren't the only books I bought this month.
It was also a tough month for reading. I started out hot, burning through four books before Valentine's Day. Then I took on Voodoo Histories, which was longer and didn't flow as quickly. I might have finished another book before the end of the month, but life got in the way.
February Totals: 5 finished, 36 acquired
Year-to-Date Totals: 15 finished, 43 acquired
Another part of the Challenge is to get rid of two books every month. Coincidentally -- I didn't realize until I brought them upstairs and started writing this -- I purchased both of February's farewells on the same Colorado vacation.
Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk by Maureen Dowd -- I bought the hardcover for $4.98 at a Barnes & Noble in one of those I have to find something to buy here moments (stupid in retrospect since I don't get to read much on driving trips). I'll confess, I once had a crush on Dowd. Unfortunately, her next book, Are Men Necessary?, was like a big bucket of cold water poured down my pants, and I didn't even read it. I don't have any interest in her anymore, and reading about Bush these days is like reliving a really bad hangover.
Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West by Hal K. Rothman -- I purchased this at a little bookstore in Leadville called the Book Mine ("The last working mine in Leadville"). In the early 1990s, I read a book about three western tourist towns in different stages of development that was interesting but short. That's probably why I thought I would like this book, but it has proven to be too much. I tried several times to get into it over the years, but I got through only 30 of its 380 pages (425 including notes). It's harder to let go of a book I've started, but I'm giving up.