Book shopping for December 17

I went to After-Words the other night – After-Words Bookstore is probably my favorite bookstore. It’s a used bookstore with a huge inventory and a great selection. For a great browse and some amazing deals, you should go to After-Words Bookstore at 23 E. Illinois in Chicago. Also, a quick note – the bookstore’s got a great staff, too – very friendly.

There were lots of books I wanted to get, but it’s the holiday season, so I had to watch the funds. Still I bought a few books, and am excited to read them.

Product DetailsAn Area of Darkness: A Discovery of India by V.S. Naipul – I love Naipul’s work – he’s one of the writers I used in my research about the Asian and African diaspora in the United Kingdom. Naipul’s a fantastic writer, but I’ve only read his literature, so it’s interesting to read some of his nonfiction. This book was actually shelved in the travel section.

Product DetailsMadonnarama: Essays on Sex and Popular Culture edited by Lisa Frank – I got this book because of bell hooks, who is included in this compilation of essays in response to Madonna, circa 1992, during the time that she released her Sex book, alongside her Erotica record and her film Body of Evidence. Looking through the book, I find that the essays deal mainly with the book, and its impact on popular culture, gender discourse, and queer studies.

Product DetailsBacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody’s Favorite Meat by Heather Lauer – I don’t eat bacon anymore after having my cholesterol, BMI, and blood pressure checked by the doctor. I cut bacon completely out of my diet, and I miss it every. single. day. of. my. life. Vegetarian bacon is not the same thing…Anyways, Bacon was pretty popular when it came out and I’m very interested in the history of bacon and why it’s so popular and addictive. I heard on some cooking show that most vegetarians lapse due to bacon.

Product DetailsEating: A Memoir by Jason Epstein – I skimmed this book and found it pretty interesting. Epstein is an editor and wrote an engaging memoir about his work lunches and he’s included recipes as well. I love food memoirs and I’ve seen this book every time I’m in a book shop.

Product DetailsReflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West by Christopher Caldwell. I bought this book before I looked at the blurbs, and now I sort-of regret it. It appears to be about how Europe is headed toward disaster because of the growing Muslim population in Western Europe. The gushing blurbs were written by folks like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has mined a career out of using her tragic personal experiences to criticize Islam (and she’s often exploited by the Right to support its xenophobic Islamophobia). I’ll still read it, though, just to see what kind of nonsense Caldwell will push, in an attempt to scare his readers.

Product Details“When I’m Bad, I’m Better”: Mae West, Sex, and American Entertainment by Marybeth Hamilton – right now I’m reading Emily Wortis Leider’s Becoming Mae West, an interesting book about the famous screen comedienne who challenged the sexual mores of the U.S. in the 1920s, 1930s and the 1940s. Leider’s book is great, but ends in the late 1940s. Hamilton’s book goes over West’s career after her peak up to her tragic comeback in the 1970s when she became a national joke with some awful camp films.

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