Book shopping for the month of August

I know we’re only half-way through the month in August, but I indulged in some book shopping – most from the used bookstores around – I’ve been going to Selected Works (410 South Michigan Ave., 2nd FL), as I work next door, and the collection is fantastic. I also went online and got some stuff – I just finished reading a literary biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (read my review), and I’m about to finish the novelization of Rosemary & Thyme a BBC mystery show about two gardeners who are also amateur sleuths.

Because of work and a busy August, it took me a while to get through the Jackie O book – not because it wasn’t good, it was a great book and easy to read, but I would only find five, ten minutes to read.

So these are the selections I got in the past month:

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers – I read this years ago, and I remember loving it and I couldn’t find my copy when I wanted to read it again. I guess either I gave it away, lent it to someone or maybe it was a library book, because I read it for a college course. I also watched the PBS series as well.

And because I was on a Joseph Campbell kick, I also got Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation by Campbell. This book, I believe I heard about on Julia Sweeney’s fantastic concert film God Said Ha! I normally don’t go for philosophy books, but because I found The Power of Myth so engaging, I thought I’d pick this one up.

The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz – Nobel Prize winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz was featured, I believe, in a Vanity Fair artile a couple years ago. I happened onto that article a few weeks ago, when searching for a Hillary Clinton interview in VF. I looked at the reviews and lots of folks said this book is very evocative of another time. I also read positive reviews saying that he explores the double consciousness that existed in Egpytian society in the 1920’s and 1930’s – the private versus the public, a concept I find endlessly fascinating.

Edith and Woodrow: The Wilson White House by Phyllis Lee Levin – before there was all that talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton being co-presidents, apparently when President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a massive stroke, his first lady, Edith took over his duties and essentially was president for a time. Those looking for a rah-rah feminist tale will be disappointed as not only was Edith Wilson an anti-woman conservative, but she was also reportedly not terribly adept at her newly adopted role. Still, it’s an interesting tale of American history.

Dusty and the Big Bad World by Cusi Cram – This is a satire based on the controversy during George W. Bush’s presidency. His secretary of education, Margaret Spellings was offended at a positive representation of a lesbian couple in a PBS kids’ show, Postcards from Buster and demanded that PBS refund all the dough the Feds put up to make the episode. PBS simply opted out of airing the show. Cram was one of the writers of Postcards from Buster who along with her husband was caught up in this sh**tstorm. I haven’t read or seen the play, but I looked at some reviews online and they were positive, so I thought I’d pick it up.

Mother Country: Brtian’s Black Community on the Home Front 1939 – 1945 by Stephen Bourne – as part of my MA thesis work I looked at post WWII black Britain, but I happened onto this book when I was browsing The story of England during WWII, especially London’s response to the Blitz was interesting to me, and I wanted to read about the contribution of blacks during WWII.

Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon by Francesa Royster – I love this book – it’s one of my favorite examples of cultural criticism. It combines pop culture with high culture as Royster’s an expert on Shakespearean studies and popular culture. There is great analysis on the famous Elizabeth Taylor movie, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra  and even a look at Set It Off. I passed this book on, I believe, which is why I had to get another copy.



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