Monday, September 15, 2008

Sheepshead Bay #56, 9/3/08

Library time is at hand! It's like the saying goes...another month, another library! It doesn't, you say? No, no, I'm pretty sure it does. I went to this one...let's see...almost two weeks ago? Hopefully I can remember a few key details. Firstly, the book I took out from the last branch, Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks. It wasn't exactly what I expected; it was divided into three parts, the first being short stories, the second being essays, and the third seemingly autobiographical anecdotes. It was all very good, right up my alley, and I suppose anyone's who likes short stories and/or the South. The stories had a very immediate feel, and when reading them I really felt as though I had experienced the events that were taking place. The one story in which the narrator described his mushroom use was particularly well-written; it didn't sink into stereotypes, but instead tried to replicate an experience in language that transcends language more than most others. There was even an essay about my favorite short story writer from the South, Breece D'J Pancake. All in all a strong collection that I would recommend to pretty much everybody.

So, that finished, I hopped on my bike, down Ocean Parkway's wonderful bike path, and ultimately turned just before reaching Coney Island, to find the Sheepshead Bay Branch.

Branch: Sheepshead Bay
Location: 2636 E.14th St. at Ave. Z, between Sheepshead Bay Rd. and Shore Pkwy.
Transport: bike!
Items: Project X by Jim Shepard; Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age edited by Ariel Schrag
Date: Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It was nice being in the vicinity of Coney Island so close to Astroland's last weekend in operation (and I went back that Friday night to experience it one last time). I always enjoy that part of Brooklyn, as it's a nice bike ride to get out there, the sea breeze is in the air, and it's got a nice isolated, small town (well, maybe mid-size city) feel. The library itself was wonderful; a nice group of patrons, friendly librarians, good selection, well laid out, I'm pretty sure it even smelled nice. Well, I honestly don't remember that...maybe it's time to start taking notes.

The two best things that happened were as follows. First, it's absurd now how long ago this was because at this point I've basically lost all hope, but there were three or four older ladies talking about the most vile, despicable gathering ever to befoul my beloved Twin Cities: you may know it as the RNC. They weren't very loud, so I listened for a while, as I couldn't tell which side they supported. I figured it out when one of them said, "Did you hear Lieberman's speech? I thought I would throw up!" Put a smile on my face, which subsequent poll numbers have almost completely removed.

The other thing: getting a new library card. It's all green and whatnot! Comes in a little case with a foldout map of all the branches! Whaaaaaa!!! Of course, I basically had my old bar code number memorized, but it's a small price to pay. I asked the librarian why they had new cards, and she answered something to the effect of they have nothing better to do. I said they could pay you guys (the librarians) more, and she just rolled her eyes. Yeah, it was pretty damn funny.

The books? Well of course I've read them both now, but I'll just give a brief run-through now because...let's face it, I'm tired. Project X was an excellent, if disturbing and nearly hopeless look at two middle-schoolers who are picked on beyond any reasonable degree. The book does seem realistic, and the characterizations are excellent, but on the whole I enjoyed Jim Shepard's short stories more. Stuck In the Middle is a comic book anthology of stories in which the protagonists are in - yep - middle school. Most are funny, some are depressing, others happy. Overall, just as realistic as Project X, and definitely more hopeful, but not as gripping. Project X actually made me miss my subway stop on the way to work one morning, though, so there you go. Why am I reading all these books about kids anyway? Damn kids. No respect these days!

Pictures, as always:




Oh yeah, and this awesome sign for a lawyer! Mostly in Cyrillic! All right!

Ok, that's it, I'm gonna go watch some more Pete and Pete Season 3. Bye!