Afterwords Acquisitions

Much like I never tire of hearing how people meet one another, I could sit for hours and listen to how one comes across a good book to read.  A Brownie and Book Club Babe mom, Miss Toni, and I were discussing books via email.  She mentioned The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I purchased this book last summer at Afterwords Bookstore for my teen neighbor with the understanding I could borrow said book, but as to date, I am still waiting.  So, I felt a visit to the local bookstore, Afterwords Bookstore, needed to be added to my to-do list (any excuse works for me).

Post-Its in Place after a Late Night of Reading
English 111 Student with the Highest Average Wins a Copy in My Class

Although I had a purchase in mind as well as a book to pick up, Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (which I inquired about through e-mail and received a response the same day from LuAnn, the owner- customer service at its finest), I like to walk on the wooden floors and roam between the rooms of books.  


Some of my discoveries . . .

My Youngest Daughter’s Namesake 
Included Are Beautiful Illustrations and a Brief Background of the Reading                
Ideal Reference Book for the Emergent Reader

Shop local.  Visit Afterwords Books at 232 S. Buchanan St. in Edwardsville, IL.  You will be glad you did.

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Kim and Krickitt Carpenter’s The Vow Book Club

Yeehaaaa!  As a former English teacher and book addict, I am thrilled to write in the case of The Vow the “book was definitely better” than the movie (keeping the written word alive).  The Vow written by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter with Dana Wilkerson tells the true story of this newly wed husband and wife who face physical, emotional, and financial obstacles after a near-fatal car accident. 
Told from the point-of-view of the husband, Kim Carpenter, it was a quick, inspiring read.  The fact the book was written from the husband’s pointof-view only, though, left me wanting to know more about Krickitt Carpenter, her feelings and thoughts during this entire ordeal since it was her memory of her life with this man which was affected.  A more feminine style of writing may have softened, or at the very least offered further elaboration on such passages as, “I still yell at her from time to time and I feel bad about it”  (177).  Huh?  

For the purposes of book club, the ideal of Kim and Krickitt’s decision to court one another again in an effort “to rebuild the marriage from the ground up” (162) came to mind.  So, what does one eat while at the movies on a date with that special someone?  Perhaps a buttery bag of popcorn causing one’s greasy fingers to “accidentally” touch while digging for another handful may rekindle the flame.  So, a variety of popcorns ranging from sweet to savory in flavor from Chef’s Shoppe in Edwardsville, IL, may not only satisfy the munchies during discussion, but also may recall a past love.  

The Carpenters

Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods Book Club

A new friend and I recently connected with a discussion of books.  She had recommended to me Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and told me how humorous it was, so I was sold and ordered myself a copy from the library (attempting to save trees and money while keeping our libraries in business).  Brutally vivid descriptions, “If the mattress stains were anything to go by, a previous user had not so much suffered from incontinence as rejoiced in it”  (81), alarming statistics (six deaths on Mt. Washington’s slopes in the first half of 1996), and hilarious analogies fill the pages:

So woods are spooky.  Quite apart from the thought that they may harbor wild beasts and armed, genetically challenged fellows [think The Hills Have Eyes] named Zeke and Festus, there is something innately sinister about them, some ineffable thing that makes you sense an atmosphere of pregnant doom with every step and leaves you profoundly aware that you are out of your element and ought to keep your ears pricked.  Though you tell yourself that it’s preposterous, you can’t quite shake the feeling that you are being watched.  You order yourself to be serene (it’s just a woods for goodness sakes), but really you are jumpier than Don Knotts with pistol drawn.  Every sudden noise [. . .] makes you spin in alarm and stifle a plea for mercy [ . . .].  Even asleep, you are a coiled spring.  (44-45)

This memoir retells not only 870 miles walked on the Appalachian Trail, but also uncovers a touching friendship which had not been nurtured since childhood.

Watershed Nature Center in Edwardsville, IL

Not simply an entertaining, informative read, but also a motivator to walk in the great out-of-doors.  So, a leisurely stroll in the woods, perhaps a nature preserve, is a must for book club with a backpack loaded with water, Snickers bars, Slim Jims, and raisins.

Bill Bryson