It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Help: Book Wanted

I'm trying to find a book I once read and would be grateful for any help.

It's a book for kids or young adults that was probably published prior to 1990. I don't know the title, author, or any of the characters' names. A search for keywords on various book websites has turned up nothing.

The main character is a young girl who moves out of her family's house and into a structure in the woods. I think it was a small windmill, but it might have just been a tower. She wasn't running away, just sort of packed up some things and said she'd be living in the tower for a while.

She has fun cooking her own meals in the tiny kitchen and keeping everything tidy. The only part that really stands out to me is a scene in which a mouse gets trapped in a bottle. The girl had left an empty soda bottle in the sink and a mouse crawled in to get at the last drops of soda. The mouse is stuck and when the girl sees this, she's very concerned and tries to free it. She realizes that breaking the bottle would hurt the mouse, so I think she ended up figuring out some other way to release it.

I don't think I finished reading the book, but the concept of running away without running away has always stuck with me. I've found echoes of it in Virginia Woolf and other works of art in which women set themselves apart for their own reasons.

So if anyone knows what book I'm talking about, please let me know.

1/8/14 Update: I'm still trying to find this book. I've searched online again and come up with nothing. Help!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Shame of Lolita

Last week I looked for Lolita on the shelf at the public library.

I had also looked the week before. And a few weeks before that.

It was never there.

I began to wonder if maybe the Wake County Public Library system just didn't have any copies. I wondered if it were banned or something. So I went online and found that the library did, indeed, have copies of Lolita. Not very many. Some are lost and some are checked out to book clubs, but there were a few floating around the system. I placed a hold on one.

During lunch today I went to pick up the Lolita they were holding for me. Claiming it from the hold shelf, I handed it to the lady behind the desk, along with my library card. In the time it took me to put my card back in my wallet, she had checked the book out. It was when I reached for Lolita that I noticed the look she was giving me.

I'm still not sure what the look meant, but it was no longer the friendly, quiet, library-lady smile I'd gotten from her when I first walked up. My first instinct was to interpret her look as disapproving, maybe even offended. Later, I thought that maybe she was looking at me thinking, "Poor thing, she probably doesn't even know what it's about."

Whatever she was thinking, she wasn't happy with me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Middlesex is a fantastic work of literature. Every page is packed with details, both factual and fictional, about the strange events that make Calliope Stephanides such a remarkable individual.

This is a book about how genes, families, surroundings, and those little twists of fate make us the people we are.

Jeffrey Eugenides effortlessly envelopes
the hard edges of science and industrialization in diaphanous myths and miracles.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Isn't it strange when you run across something obscure in two sources at the same time? It's sort of like learning a new word and then suddenly hearing it everywhere.

I often jump from book to book a lot, reading a bit in each one. And tonight I was reading Middlesex and Secret Lives of Great Filmmakers when I came across two mentions of "the Obscure Object". The first mention was in Secret Lives in the entry about Luis Bu
ñuel and his film, The Obscure Object of Desire. Not long after, I was reading Middlesex and the narrator used the phrase "the Obscure Object". As far as I can recall, tonight is the first time I've heard of the film or any other mention of that particular phrase. It gave me quite a jolt.

I don't know yet what the phrase means in the context of Middlesex, but it sometimes seems that these little coincidences are placed there, just waiting for me.