Four Great New Blogs

Hi, it is me again, amenable to continuing the ever-popular Poor Me I Am So Poor series. Well, people, I have bad news of the lowest order: used English book store Caravan Books in Ikebukuro closed down. Dude, this is serious. I know what you are thinking: Well, wasn't it just the previous post that she was waxing lyrical about the "heavenly haven" that is the library? Yes, but that kind of overwrought emotion only applies, I'm afraid, to the libraries I knew in my pre-Japan days. Not to be rude--I sincerely appreciate the efforts of my local library, but truthfully, the thought of having to look at that same shelf of 30 books (the latest in the collection dating circa 1975) one more time has me seriously depressed.

Like I said before, one of my only weaknesses is books, and for the last few years I've been...buying. What was I supposed to do? Dear god, please don't make me borrow Flowers in the Attic from the library. Just the thought of handling those yellow pages makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. Quick question: Does reading that last sentence make you think, "Ew, she has hair on the back of her neck"? Okay, I will stop babbling deliriously now. So, yeah, I've been patronizing a couple of used book stores: one that I have to pass on my way to the office and one that's close to home. Unfortunately, I don't visit the former often because I don't have to go to the office that often; and the latter was Caravan Books, which now is gone. Do you know what this means for me? Amazon, with their slow-as-the-living-dead delivery record of two to three freakin' weeks. Just thinking about that kind of wait makes me all antsy.

Morever, I hate online book shopping. It just cannot compare with the sight of row upon row of filled book shelves and all those spines lined up, waiting to be touched and examined. Not only do I judge a book by its cover, I tend to judge it by its first few pages, which is not something you can always do on Amazon.

But, a weakness is a weakness, and I've already put in my order and spent the requisite amount that will get me free delivery. Unfortunately, this leaves me with two weeks of booklessness. I have books lying around the house but I'm one of those people who can't read the same book twice, no matter how much I enjoyed it--I've tried a few times; I always end up reading the first line over and over and over.

So what's a girl to do? Work shmerk. I mean, seriously? Well, without spending a dime, I've been perusing some newly discovered blogs that have so far proved to be fairly good reading. Thought I'd share.

With all the anti-Japan demonstrations that have been going on in China the past week, I've been reading up on Sino-Japanese relations. During one search for more info, I came upon a rather opinionated Singaporean blogger in China who posted on her site an email she received encouraging people to protest as well as a brief glimpse into how one Chinese colleague regards Japan as well as his own country. Admittedly, I feel bad for the Chinese people, who I believe have been conditioned all their lives to hate the Japanese in a blind manner that is utterly useless to anyone except their government, for whom such consuming emotion I suppose could serve as a pretty handy tool.

There's some incredible writing on Life as a Dervish by Willow, who describes herself as "American Cairene, Sufi Muslim, voting Democrat." I recommend her poignant "Beloved" but there's also lots of lighter (and heavier) though no less amazing moments, like when the blogger shares the discovery that gasoline poured on the floor of her apartment works great as mosquito repellent and ends with "Thank God the Saudis' precious oil wealth is going to good use."

And last, I've been enjoying one "Arab-American woman's take on politics, the Middle East, feminism, religion, and anything else of interest" presented in blogger Nadz's funny, blunt fashion. Here's a sample of her writing: (under her list of "The Top 5 Misconceptions about the Middle East")

4. Arab women are all veiled, abused victims begging to be rescued

Thanks, Hollywood. Many Arab women are tough, strong, assertive, opinionated and educated ladies who kick serious ass if anyone tells them otherwise. Lots of Bahraini women dress as they please, go out and bring home the bacon. Kuwaiti women are demanding the right to vote. And Saudi women - OK, they're all covered from head-to-toe, but things can change....

And what kind of friend would I be if I didn't direct you to my best girl at Bubble Squeak? This woman does humorous re-writes of Chaucer, people (or is Chaucer humorous already? Do you see what an illiterate mollusk I am in comparison, that I don't even know!) and she also claims to be able to live without a microwave oven. Now aren't you dying to know more about her? Hmmm?

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Shall I send you some books? They wouldn't get there in the 2-week bookless window, but I have several that I am done with, most of which are actually good. Hmm? And I very much enjoyed illiterate mollusk.  

from jessica

4/21/2005 04:59:00 AM  

Oh Rach, thanks for the new reading material. Have only been home for 15 hours and as soon as the fret of my missing luggage is over, I find myself with utterly nothing to do except staring at the computer screen. (My plans to cook up a storm dashed because my mom has high cholesterol problem, so it's chicken and fish everyday and no pastry!) Reading through these blogs will help me kill some time.


from Lynn

4/21/2005 09:57:00 PM  

Jessica, honey, that is really wonderful of you to offer. But the cost of sending those books from Germany to Japan would probaby cost you...well, a lot. As I've said, I'm cheap. I'm also a bossy cheapskate, which means I can't allow you to spend that kind of money.

Just curious what you've been reading lately.

And, illiterate mollusk truly came out of nowhere.

Hi Lynn! Oh no, missing luggage. Jeez, I just don't understand how that happens. Hey, surely you can come up with something delicious and low-cal? 

from Rachel

4/21/2005 11:15:00 PM  

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