Book Report: The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1972)

Book coverI’ll be honest: this book appealed to me for a specific reason. As you remember, I only bought the book because I saw it and Rosemary’s Baby together at a book fair.

I wanted it to read it now, of all times, because my children have both gone off to school full time, and as I work at building up some contract work, I’m cleaning the house pretty regularly and meticulously. As a matter of fact, I’m cleaning things and places people don’t see, and I’m sort of taking a weird pride in it. On one occasion, I’ve wondered if I’ve turned into a Stepford wife. Since I have the book, I could investigate.

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The Manatee Wants to Press Charges

I hope the manatee will testify in this case:

The woman wanted by police for harassing and riding on a manatee at Fort DeSoto Park has turned herself in.

Why is riding a manatee illegal?

Gutierrez told deputies she’s new to the area and didn’t realize it was against the law to touch or harass the creature.

According to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, “It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner, intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee.”

Does riding a manatee automatically count as annoying, molesting, harassing, or disturbing (or trying to do so)? You’d have to ask the manatee.

Or, as the authorities have done, just assume the answer is yes. Because of the mind-meld, I guess.

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Book Report: Enjoying Missouri’s Birds by James P. Jackson and James D. Wilson (1997)

Book coverI have bought a large number of guides to Missouri flora and fauna like this book so I can be more definitive when my children ask me about plants and animals they see on our long nature hikes. I don’t know when we’re going to take these long nature hikes–I’m not much of an outdoor hiker, although I am a bit of an urban walker when living in urban domiciles–but I’ll be prepared, I hope, if I just thumb through enough of these.

This small product of the Missouri Department of Conservation gives a high-level primer on birding, including identifying the distinguishing features of birds and tips to help with identification, but this is not an identification book or a field guide. Most of the book is given over to charts identifying the frequency of birds’ appearances in Missouri by month and habitat so you’ll know what to look for in the field and in the field guides.

A quick browse and, as I mentioned, a very early primer for anyone who wants to get into birding.

Heaven help me, I know how birdwatchers refer to themselves. I might as well get The Big Year on Blu-Ray.

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Those Naughty, Naughty Labels

Naughty Avery labels

It’s even funnier to me because I’m on Avery‘s mailing list since I downloaded a Microsoft Word template for one of their shipping label projects back when I was mailing my book around the country.

So I get less risque requests for me to visit that company’s Web site in that email box from time to time.

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Good Book Hunting: September 29, 2012 – Clever Friends of the Library Book Sale

Clever, Missouri, is a small town, population 2100 or so, southwest of us. Although it’s in Christian County, I had read or heard somewhere that it has its own library instead of a branch of the Christian County Library. I’d wanted to join the group to add to my collection of Friends of the Library organizations (down to Christian County and Springfield-Greene County because Webster Groves and Polk County don’t send renewal notices, at least not to people outside the area). Fortunately for me, I read last week’s Republic Monitor on Thursday, which means I saw the notice (not repeated this week nor in the Springfield News-Leader).

So we bundled off in the truck, tried to go the back way, turned back at the Finley River when there was a fording point on the gravel road instead of a bridge, wound around another way, and stopped by the community room at the firehouse to see what they offered at the Clever Friends of the Library book sale.


Clever Friends of the Library Book Sale

In a stunning turn of events, my beautiful wife was the big purchaser and I was the runner-up. I got:

  • A collection of mostly 80s action films of VHS. I would say I completely doubled my Dolph Lundgren library here, but I don’t think I had any Dolph Lundgren before, and now I have Universal Soldier and Red Scorpion. I also got Fire Birds, which is like a Top Gun with Apaches instead of F-14s. Wouldn’t it be more of an Iron Eagle, then, without Louis Gossett, Junior? I dunno. I also got another copy of Mr. Baseball since the one I bought earlier this year has that can’t-rewind problem, and it’s cheaper to outlay another fifty cents than to open the cassette (although I’ll probably do that before I donate it or mail it off to my hermano).
  • Two more Able Team paperbacks, which means I’ve doubled the collection I started last week.
  • Two F.M. Busby science fiction novels in the Star Rebel series. I read Busby’s Demu trilogy a long time ago. They didn’t put me off his work forever, just twenty years or so.
  • A S.O.B.s book, The Barrabas Hit. That series must have sold well out here, since I see them often. Come to think of it, given that the local grocery still carries four Mack Bolan titles and a couple other Gold Eagle lines, they might still sell down here. They have to sell somewhere since they’re still publishing them.
  • A Richard Stark Parker novel in hardback. Flashfire, which is from 2000, I think. I wonder if the film Payback led to a resurgent interest in the series.
  • The Millionaire Mind, a more how-toish title from the author of The Millionaire Next Door which I think I read, but if I did, it was before 2003.
  • What If?, which collects the books What If? and What If? 2. I might need to reread the second as part of it. Come to think of it, I should check my shelves to make sure I have not already read them both.
  • Two Little House on the Prairie books in hardback, Little House in the Big Woods and On the Banks of Plum Creek.
  • Two early Dilbert books, Dogbert’s Clues for the Clueless (#3) and Shave the Whales (#4). These early books are hard to find in the wild (that is, book fairs and garage sales for under a buck). I know what I’m reading for football games for a game or two.
  • A collection of Cathy cartoons. Somehow, even browsing this book while watching football will still result in a net loss of manpoints.
  • An eighties crafting magazine with a pretty girl on the cover so I can get a Rule Five entry from it.

The Star Wars novels? My beautiful wife bought those for our six-year-old (he’ll get older). She also bought some cookbooks and women’s magazines and a VHS copy of The Wizard of Oz. Remember in those days before videocassettes and cable, when the annual television showing was an event? Actually, I remember when my Uncle David got it on videocassette and he popped it in for us to watch one night while the adults talked. I hadn’t thought about that since, probably, it happened.

The boys got a couple of books and I got a Clever Friends of the Library book bag and membership to add to my collections of the same. Hopefully, we’ll be on the mailing list if such exists to get notification for next year’s sales.

And October brings the sales of the Friends of the Christian County Library and Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library. I’d better limit myself to thin paperbacks, though, since that’s about all I’m reading these days.

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Book Report: The Big Heat by William P. McGivern (1953)

Book coverThis book is the source for the 1953 film.

In it, a Philadelphia cop, not the smartest guy on the squad, but the straightest and the most methodical, is called to investigate the apparent suicide of a police clerk. Ranking cops want it to be a suicide, but Bannion, the cop, thinks there might be more to it and is reluctant to give it up. Eventually, he stirs up a mob hit that kills Bannion’s wife instead, and Bannion goes all in, giving up his career as a police detective to find and punish those corrupt city officials who make it all possible.

This is a good bit of noir. It’s third person, so it lacks the immediacy of the stuff that makes the latter half of the 20th century narration, but it makes up for it in spades. Because I bought it in a detective book club edition, I expected less than I got. Recommended.

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