Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

22 October 2007

Chicken Soup for the Id

It's the last weekend of Ithaca's Friends of the Library book sale and in the next few days, you can make a killing. Saturday and Sunday, nothing costs more than $0.50. And on Tuesday -- the last day until Spring! -- it's a bagful for a dollar!

The weekend's spoils:
  • Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  • eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work, by Randall E. Stross -- a pre-published manuscript!
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Fowler's second edition Dictionary of Modern English Usage
  • Logic and Language by Huppé and Kaminsky
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Gayelord Hauser -- a detailed and totally elitist beauty guide from a beauty consultant (à la Kevyn Aucoin) in the '60s
  • The Shackle by Colette
  • Retreat from Love by Colette -- the fourth installment of her Claudine series, allegedly written while her husband locked her in a room for hours daily to pen books he had published under his name
  • Peyton Place by Grace Metalious -- an oft-mentioned piece of pop culture, hopefully worth the read, but I imagine it's going to be a lot like Valley of the Dolls, which is a lot like The House of Mirth for 21st-century Nicos
  • The Arts of Costume and Personal Appearance by Grace Margaret Morton -- a grooming book from the '40s, full of useful tidbits like fighting "masculine" personality traits with the right outfit and make-up, and exercises on proper college girl or wife-of-executive attire on a budget
Total cost: $5. What an amazing place.

I also finished Malcolm Gladwell's Blink yesterday. Definitely worth the read. It ends better than it begins, a rare quality, I think.

An interesting anecdote: seeds of the book were sown after Gladwell decided to grow out his hair and started getting unwanted attention from cops. This got him thinking about the power of first impressions. Can we avoid the hold snap judgments have on us? Not always. Can we refine our own? Yeah, when we know how they're formed and how they operate. (Comforting.)

Now I'm working my way through Tulipomania, a detailed account of the tulip craze that began to take hold of the Dutch in the late 16th century.

Their obsession with tulip bulbs was so great that the flowers commanded a futures exchange. One rare bloom could cost over 10 times what a rich merchant was paid in a year.

It's good so far. Right now I'm learning about how the Turks razed through hordes of villages and planted opulent gardens in their wake.

The Turkish word for tulip is lale, reverentially close to the letters used to write out Allah. The term tulipan may have been brought to the West in association with the bulbs because of the flowers' similarity in form to turbans.

For awhile, it seemed that tulips were going to rival gold and other precious metals in terms of raw value. Then the crash came and ruined plenty of fortunes and plenty of lives.

Way to build a house on sand. Then again...

Dot-com déjà-vu, anybody?

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