So this was kind of a weird thing to do, particularly for someone who is as reluctant to buy things as myself. When I see something I want at the store, I generally go home, and if I'm still thinking about it in a few days, then I go back to buy it. I resist the impulse to buy.
But when Linden was here the other day, and we were looking at the used and remaindered books at the Harvard Bookstore, and I saw about three books I liked or wanted to read, right in a row on the remainders table, I gave in and bought...
Now here's the weird part. Not Lucky, by Alice Sebold, which I really enjoyed, recommend to people, and would read again. Not Our Lady of the Forest, which is on my library list and everyone on the train is reading (or maybe it's the same person every morning--I only ever notice the book). No, I got Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Nonfiction Reader.
What? Why? I mean, most people read The Yellow Wallpaper and appreciate her voice for oppressed women in the 19th century. And I have her novel and a lot of her short stories. But the thing is, they aren't that great. First of all, they're the same story over and over again: three men--one overbearing, one indulgent, one respectable--are confronted with a strong woman, and their characters are revealed to us. The novel is the same--it's schlock sci fi, about three explorers (see above) who discover an isolated mountain community composed entirely of women. (If you wish hard enough, apparently, you don't need sperm to have a baby). It was absolutely trite and one-sided. She's a cheerfully furious writer.
But I bought her nonfiction. I blame Virginia Woolf--I don't like her novels, but I really love her essays. So when I opened to a random page and read the essay title "A Defense of Advertising for Marriage," I thought I'd give her a shot. What the heck, it's only $6.