This week’s newsletter is the Getting Around To It edition. “It” being all those things you’ve been meaning to do, but for various psychologically complicated and personally embarrassing reasons, you haven’t bothered with yet. And because we’re just as beautiful and flawed as you all are, we’ll open up and share some of our perpetually put-offs. Fortunately, there’s always time to change the verb tense of that clause, to a satisfactorily resolved past tense. As in “Got Around To It.” 

Once upon a time, a father showed his gullible son a wooden coin with tiny letters written on it in permanent marker. “What is that?” a young boy asked. “A round to-it,” his father said. “What’s it for?” the boy asked. His father laughed. “Some day, you’ll get one,” he said. 

This is the same boy, who, when told by his father that the missing toy he was looking for would be in the last place he’d look, stopped looking and thought really hard about where the last place would actually be, and then he went and looked there first. The toy was never there. He was a very concrete-sequential boy, that one, and he wasn’t very good at these sorts of linguistic koan-like riddles. Funny how we grow into our real selves, isn’t it? 

[Speaking of getting around to things, don’t forget to mail, email, or call your mothers this weekend. It’s the annual Check In With Your Mother Day on Sunday.]

Anyway, penis thieves. Can we say that in a newsletter? It’s part of a book title, so we’re good, right? Well, it’s Frank Bures’s fault, in any case. He’s the one who decided to write The Geography of Madness (subtitle: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes), which begins with an investigation into an unrecognized epidemic of genital theft in various African countries, and then explores, well, the more bizarre psychological landscape of madness and cultural maladies that bubble under the surface of well-mannered society. It’s a book that he says stems from the mystery of missing manhoods that had been nagging at him for some time. 

See what we did there? It just looks like we’re free associating. 

Speaking of which, how many of you know about Shel Silverstein’s Uncle Shelby’s A B Z Book? You know, as in the dude who wrote Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree. Anyway, this book is a primer for adults only, and is filled with short poems that may seem kid-friendly on the surface, but they’re not. No, no, not in the slightest. 

If you were putting off finishing your complete collection of Shel Silverstein books, we can help you with this last one that you may or may not have known about. 

Speaking of books we haven’t read, Mark will admit that he hasn’t read Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, which he was reminded of this fact earlier this week when Penguin’s 50th Anniversary edition of the classic came out. It’s a newly revised translation of the classic Russian novel that Daniel Radcliffe (the young urchin who grew up on screen playing Harry Potter) says is “his favorite novel,” and that Joyce Carol Oates calls “a wild surrealistic romp.”

Speaking of Ms. Oates, she has a new collection out this week as well. The Doll-Master collects a half-dozen stories that have appeared in mystery magazines and horror anthologies over the last few years. If you’ve not read much of her work, this might be a grand time to . . . you know . . . 

Also, are your calendars up to date? We’ve got Girls Day Out this weekend, another of the fabulous events put on by the SDPA, our local downtown merchants’ association. There will be goody bags and prizes and much shrieking of delight. The following Thursday—May 12th—is our next coloring night. There are still a few tickets left for that event, but like last time, we expect it to sell out, so don’t wait until the last minute. 

And finally, on the topic of calendaring, don’t forget Campfire Bookclub on June 3rd, here at the store. We’re reading J. G. Ballard’s High-Rise, and we’ll be discussing the book over beer and s’mores that night. Or maybe wine and chocolate, depending on your preference. 

And, if you were waiting for Amy Stewart’s Girl Waits With Gun to come out in paperback, that long and dreary wait is over. 

Overheard At The Store »»

Colby: I’ve been reading a lot of travel books lately. Like this one about where the chicken came from and—

Bob: Where did it come from? An egg, or another chicken?

Colby: You cannot confuse me with your impossible riddles, beardy man. I am a wise and learned rodent. 

Bob: Of course you are, which is why you’re working in a bookstore. 

Colby: “Work” is a very subjective word, you know. 

Bob: Oh, I do know that. Especially after watching you interact with the customers. 

Colby: Are you saying that I’m not helpful? 

Bob: “Helpful” is also one of those entirely subjective words, isn’t it? 

Colby: “Pain in the ass” is pretty objective, though. 

Bob: I won’t quibble with you on that point. 

Colby: Are you this argumentative with Alice? 

Bob: She tells me to come visit you when I feel the mood coming on. 

Colby: So, it’s a psychological condition with you. Being like you are. 

Bob: That is the very definition of “personality.” 

Colby: Are we going to get meta again? That gives me a headache. 

Bob: You’re the one reading about the origins of the chicken. 

Colby: I’m not—argh! What do you want today, other than annoying me?

Bob: I’m looking for a copy of Mark Adams’s Meet Me in Atlantis. 

Colby: Oh, fine. Harass me about the history of the chicken, but it’s okay that you want a book about the search for Atlantis. 

Bob: Do you have it or not? 

Colby: Go look for yourself. 

Bob: See what I mean about the subjectivity of the definition of “helpful”? 

Colby: I will bite you, beardy man. 



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