I'm not weird about telling people how old I am; I was born in 1982, which makes me 32, going on 33. While there are certainly many classics of literature that stand the test of time and that should be read again and again by young high school students, there are also other texts that beg to be removed from the curriculum because they are so difficult and painful to get through that their only accomplishment is to make students dread English. I have a great deal to say about this, but I am reluctant to mention books by name. But it is high time that the reading curriculum undergo an overhaul that integrates required personal reading, that allows students to pick from a list of contemporary (and perhaps less literary) books. Let them learn how to enjoy the eact of reading before forcing them to understand the implications of literary profundity.
God bless Half Price Books.Texas has more than twice as many Half Price Books stores as any other state (there are a bunch in other states like Illinois and Ohio). I have spent so much time hunting around for used bookstores in every city i've traveled and then suddenly my pursuit became a joyfully easy one. need those old, pulpy noir novels, those retro caper novels and straight up classic suspense-- many of the best are out of print. i need my Jim Thompson, John D. MacDonald, Donald Westlake, Dashiell Hammett, Margaret Millar, James M. Cain, Charles Williams, Elmore Leonard. And not just the series novels or the ones that have been made into movies--the ones that don't make it back on the shelves after that first try. And the amazing thing about Austin is that suddenly, I don't have to hunt around for used books. I have five luscious branches to choose from in the city alone. I do always still look for those tiny, unlikely places (and pledge deep devotion to Recycled Reads, 5335 Burnet Rd, where all hardcover books are 2$ and softcovers are 1$) but most of my needs can be satisfied by those five branches. Let us celebrate the phenomenon of the of the chain-used bookstore. I cannot commend this institution strongly enough.