Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Shameful secrets

This is hard to talk about, but I feel like I need to.

Back when I was living on the South Side, I developed a little bit of an addiction. I was mostly a clean-cut kid, just trying to stay in school and get ahead, but even those with the best intentions can get swept away by chance. I thought I was just a casual user, but the stuff was so easy to get in Hyde Park. It was everywhere! I found myself hanging around the familiar haunts more and more, just hoping to score a good deal or find that magic trip I’d never taken before.

One of the better things about moving out of Hyde Park is that there just isn’t as much of a trade on the north side. Sure, there are a couple places dealing near where I live (one just around the corner, actually), but it’s not as strong, they don’t have the same sort of stuff up here. I was safe again.

Then I started going to Hyde Park for pub trivia every Tuesday. I was pretty good about going straight to the Pub most nights, but… the old places were so close! If I just got to Hyde Park a few minutes early, I could score some quality stuff. And all of a sudden, I was showing up late for pub trivia, breathless, with a package in my bag distracting me all night long.

That’s right, kids. I’m hitting the bookstores of Hyde Park again.

Powell’s, 57th Street, sometimes the Co-op, I’m looking at you. No matter how many times I go to Unabridged or Myopic or Women and Children First, nothing compares to the books you can find on that dangerous stretch of street. (Though for the overall maximum of attractiveness plus book selection: Unabridged for gay guys, Myopic for straight hipsters, and WCF for either lesbians or sincere glasses-wearing guys who want strong feminist girlfriends.)

Pretty much every surface of my apartment is covered in books right now, including the following to-reads (not a comprehensive list, only those I can think of right now):
Atwood, Cat’s Cradle
Bellow, Adventures of Augie March (terminally unfinished, but a future book club selection)
Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift (unfinished, but currently seems more likely than the above)
Borges, Collected Fictions (a re-read, but from so long ago it’s like a first read)
Bulgakov, Master and Margarita (re-read, but I recommended recently and discovered there’s a new annotated edition, because I clearly need to own three copies of one book)
Hofstatder, Gödel, Escher, Bach (partially read, re-read)
Rushdie, Satanic Verses
Rushdie, Ground Beneath Her Feet (on loan from Susan)
Sontag, In America (partially read)

And yet I have this list, crumpled up in my bag:
Yoshimoto, Kitchen (read while intoxicated, don’t remember)
Young Fem Bookclub books: Mommy Myth, Undivided Rights, Regarding the Pain of Others, Can’t Buy Me Love, Women as Lovers
GB Bookclub books: Dandelion Wine, Nowhere Man, I’m Not the New Me, Division Street: America
Denis Johnson, Fiskadoro
Findley, Famous Last Words
collections by Raymonds Chandler and Carver
More Flaubert!

Heavens. At least this will keep me from buying the DVDs I want. Books are better, right? Right?