Free Books to Utah/Salt Lake County Friends

You guys, we have a lot of books. Some of them are duplicates. Some of them we don’t want.

Here they are. If you can come pick up the books you want, or if I can meet you to give you the books, let me know. Text, email, or call. First come, first served. I am not paying to ship free books.

All books are paperback unless otherwise noted.  As we continue sorting through our books, we’ll probably have more to give away.

Author Title Condition
 

Ancient Prophets

 

Mormon, Editor

 

Le Livre de Mormon – Hardcover Missionary Copy

 

Excellent

Who wouldn’t want one of these, n’est-ce pas?
 

Boccaccio

 

Giovanni

 

Collected Works – Hardcover

 

Excellent

Copyright 1931; has a nice old-book smell.
 

Bradbury

 

Ray

 

Zen in the Art of Writing

 

Good

I annotated and highlighted throughout the book. As writers should. You may discover my secrets.
 

Camus

 

Albert

 

The Stranger (English)

 

Excellent

This will put you in an AMAZING mood of despair!
 

Chabon

 

Michael

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

 

Excellent

Best read when wearing a cape.
 

Eco

 

Umberto

 

The Name of the Rose

 

Average

The last name makes me thinks that he writes about the environment. Reilly likes him a lot.
 

Frazier

 

Charles

 

Cold Mountain

 

Good

Did anyone see the movie? Did you really?
 

Gaiman

 

Neil

 

American Gods

 

Excellent

Brush up on your ongoing and intense chases involving all sorts of mythology.
 

Lowry

 

Lois

 

The Giver

 

Good

Seriously, every home should have a copy of this book. I am giving one to you.
 

Osteen

 

Joel

 

Your Best Life Now  – Hardcover

 

Excellent

Spice up your life with a little pomade and evangelism.
 

Phillips

 

Caryl

 

Cambridge

 

Average to Poor

According to the NYT book review: “Swiftly moving, adroitly told.” So, it’s halfway like Twilight.
 

Robinson

 

Marilynne

 

Housekeeping

 

Good

Fall in love with language and uplifting themes all over again.
 

St. Augustine

 

Confessions

 

Good

I agree with a lot of his philosophy and observations. Also, St. Augustine is one of my favorite towns.
 

Wharton

 

Edith

 

The Age of Innocence

 

Good

How can the Post-Bellum/Gilded Age be all that innocent? Edith Wharton will explain to all the ignorami.

I Saw Hilary Hahn Tonight

A review of the concert with the Utah Symphony at the de Jong Concert Hall is coming soon. I’ll be a guest reviewer over at my friend’s music and interview blog, The Glass.

In the meantime, a few pictures:

Here is Hilary Hahn’s autograph:

Here I am talking to Hilary Hahn. She appears to be listening intently:

Here is Hilary Hahn laughing at something I said. Believe it or not, I made her laugh on purpose. This is what happens when you put two charming people near each other:

YOU GUYS.

She was so wonderful and cool, and of course charming, and I was SO starstruck.

More to come.

On Commuting

Dear Fellow Rider of the UTA Express Bus,

When the bus back to Orem is full and I end up standing in the aisle because it’s been one of those days and no one else wants to offer me a seat and stand for 40 minutes, and when your arm is hanging over the armrest into the aisle because the seats are too small and no one in Utah has the same concept of personal space/comfort zone as people do in New York City, and when the aisle is also too narrow because the bus itself has to be narrow enough to fit in a street lane, and when I have to stand for 40 minutes and shift my weight from one leg to the other, my butt will inevitably brush against your arm.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Yours truly,

May

I love public transportation. I appreciate paying less for gas/insurance/parking and getting to sleep and/or read on my way to work/home. Of course this way of commuting has its setbacks, but overall it’s great.

Here are a few comparison points of public transportation in New York City and Utah. These points are based on my experience. You may have a different background and observations.

Crowds
NYC: Reilly got to experience this when we visited in August. We went to a Yankees game and felt how tightly packed the subway can get. It’s the same during rush hour, except that people usually look really tired and cranky. Imagine when Yankees fans get to ride with the rush hour crowd.

Utah: I haven’t really experienced huge crowds on the bus or TRAX (the SLC public train thingy), since Salt Lake City and Provo/Orem are car towns and not pedestrian towns.  Also, I’ve ridden the bus on Jazz/Ute days, and because the bus I ride mostly serves people who work in SLC, I don’t have to deal with obnoxious fans.

Strikes
NYC: In December 2005, MTA decided to go on strike (even though many of us thought they were overpaid), and the subways didn’t run for a week. Because of good neighbors and home teachers with cars (friends from church who personally visit once a month), we developed a system of pick-up and drop-off spots at specific times, and I could get to and from work and home that week. When I first moved there in 2003, the monthly pass was $63. When I left in 2009, I paid $81. Now commuters pay $103.

Utah: I have so far only heard of all the money UTA gets, and that drivers/other UTA workers are overpaid, and people are angry because a lot of taxes or something goes to cushion the salaries of UTA workers? As a student, I started paying $50-75 for a semester, then $160 per semester (some contract with BYU had expired, and BYU encouraged driving to also pay to be frustrated with crowded and faraway lots). As a current rider of an express bus, the monthly fare is $189, which provides TRAX and local bus access.

Weather
NYC: Hurricane Sandy takes the cake. I’ve only experienced relatively minor tunnel flooding or little track fires that only delayed the train, or, at the very worst, these incidents caused me to walk to another station to take a different train. Once on an especially hot day I almost got into a fight with a guy because our hands kept touching while holding on to the same pole. We were both irritable.

Utah: I have yet to sit through a major snowstorm on the bus. The rain hasn’t been bad. Since I’m not the one driving, I get to nap or read.

Traffic
NYC: One great thing about the subway is not having to deal with street traffic. However, sometimes the bus was quicker than the subway. For example, church was only two stops away, but on Sunday, I would end up waiting for a subway longer that it would take to catch the bus. Also, when I lived closer to church, even walking was a much faster (and the only) option.

Utah: The bus is part of traffic, but there’s a lane just for buses, so often we clip along faster than the cars in adjoining lanes. Yet traffic sometimes comes to a complete stop, mostly because of accidents and rubberneckers and different bottleneck exits along the freeway. And Fridays, sometimes. Last Friday, it took an hour and 20 minutes to get home. It usually takes around 45 minutes.

Drunk/High People
NYC: These folks were sometimes scary. Sometimes entertaining. Mostly annoying. Once on a crowded subway (see above) I had to stand really close to a drunk guy. He breathed in my face, and I smelled his breath, and I probably would have failed a breathalyzer test from that.

Utah: Around the university, people act drunk or high a lot. But they’re just unbelievably happy BYU students. On the express bus to work, people are sober, mellow, sleeping, or reading.

Homeless People
NYC: All the time, everywhere.

Utah: On the Provo local bus, there would be occasional drifters that got on the bus. At the TRAX stations, I have walked by a few homeless people.

In NYC and SLC, I have walked the sidewalks and homeless people have asked me to give them money.

Lewd People
NYC: I’ve seen people making out, which isn’t that bad. The worst time was when I sat across from a man on the subway during my morning commute. His pants were undone, and he was stroking himself. I was reading the paper and he was in my periphery. Everyone else was reading sleeping. I quickly glanced at the guy’s face, and he seemed intent on my seeing him and getting a reaction from me. I raised the newspaper so I didn’t have to look at him. The next stop was mine, and I got off the train as fast as I could.

Utah: The worst instance I have witnessed was on a Provo local bus when some older, special needs guys sitting near the back were making loud fart sounds with their mouths and laughing. The bus driver told them to stop. Oh, also random anonymous people who leave random milkjugs of urine on the bus.

Panhandlers
NYC: Walking through the subway, asking for money: boys raising money for their “basketball team,” kids selling (stolen) candy, trying to stay off the street. People who say they have AIDS, armless people and war veterans, blind people, very sad people holding snotty-faced kids. Old ladies with cancer. People who just want something to eat. They always announce themselves with “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen!” Sometimes I gave them change.

Utah: Outside of sidewalk encounters in SLC, none.

Entertainers
NYC: Different than panhandlers. Dancers (hip-hop), singers (all-types), mariachi bands, instrumentalists, magicians. All on the subway. All skill levels. Sometimes I put change in their hats as they walked by me.

Utah: On different corners on different days in SLC, the same cellist. On BYU campus, wandering weird students with ukuleles and unicycles. I don’t give them money. No one on the buses or TRAX yet.

Other People
NYC: Random people at bus stops who tell me their life stories. Clowns telling me their life stories. The guy on the train that tried to flirt with me when he told me the Stranger (the book I was reading) was a good book. The guy who thumbs-upped at me when he saw me reading the Book of Mormon. People that I actually know, so we chat instead of tuning out the rest of the world. Tourists that didn’t know better about talking to me. People that I accidentally fell asleep on.

Utah: Nice people who offer their seats to standers. The senior missionary who asked if I was a student then seemed surprised when I told him I worked. The woman I sat next to one morning who decided to take off her shoes and try to sleep in an actual reclining fetal position. Her feet smelled and part of her body was on my seat. The woman whose arm my butt brushed against when I was standing in the aisle, because I shifted my weight from one leg to the other, and her arm was hanging into the aisle. We were both reading and she seemed to pretend not to notice. Maybe she liked it as much as I did.

Graceland

Today, my student loan grace period ends.

It’s hard to believe six months have passed since graduation. Sitting in the Marriott Center, falling to sleep to Elder Oaks’s commencement speech. I only slept because my friends who sat by me made me so very comfortable. The hour before, we happened to find each other in that giant mob of the School of Humanities, all of us scattered about in the ASB parking lot, and it’s not like we planned it. We’re humanities majors; our degrees were not in planning. But we stood in the sun, waited for our cue, marched into the arena. Passed by professors in their regalia while “Pomp and Circumstance” blared. I wonder if Sir Edward Elgar ever got annoyed by how long his piece could be.

I could not have been more honored sitting with these friends:

Maddie thinks big and likes small houses. She’s passionate for noble causes and homemade pickles.

Jen, “Ms. Magna,” was so very ready to take her vacation to Ireland and wants to take on a certain spritely dancing violinist.

Stephanie, was more or less on her way to an internship in France, because if you can change France, you change the world.

Bridgette has already landed a job, and her mind is anywhere but Provo. She might be too smart for her own good.

The five of us. A juggernaut of awesome women. BYU graduates. Ever so ready to take on the world.

I wish we would have gotten a picture.

Always, I’ll feel indebted, but friends are the kind of grace never ends.

Book on Tapeworm Was Here

This is what happens when I bring a camera. There doesn’t have to be as many burdensome words.

Last night, I went to an album release show of a band called Book on Tapeworm. Here they are:

The percussionist here is my husband’s brother:

Here was their real-life, life-size set last night at the Velour. As you can see, the stage quite resembles the band’s CD case:

Here’s Gavin working his magic. He came all the way back from grad school in Illinois for this show. This guy is legit:

So, if the set looks surreal, if the CD packaging is styled after their set, you can expect to hear music that’s ethereal and transcendent and not harsh and grating and makes you feel like gagging yourself.

If you’re into well-written songs, tight harmonies and angelic voices; if you like thoughtful music that truly reflects how serious and professional and skilled the musicians are; if you appreciate the shrinks, swells, and swings of emotion in music that makes you sigh with longing or nostalgia; and if you want the mystery and magic of the morning mists meandering groves and chaparrals, then you’ll love this album.

If you don’t like any of that stuff, I can accurately conclude that you’re pretty stupid.

Also, these folks are incredibly nice and insufferably cool people. None of the band members are likely to become supreme jerks when they become rich and famous.

Check them out, like them. Buy their stuff. Watch them:

Book on Tape Worm – Shadow Puppets from Jason Moffat on Vimeo.

They’re amazing.

Lois Lowry Was Here

 

The man on the left is someone disguised as my incredible husband. The woman in black on the right is the real Lois Lowry.

She came to the Provo Library tonight on a book tour. She’s promoting her latest book, Son, the “thrilling conclusion to the Giver” series. She had some interesting things to say about her stories, her writing, her life. She made us laugh, and she also made us wait in line to get her autograph.

She also held a question-and-answer session where she answered about six questions from audience members. Some questions were pretty good; some were just dumb. You be the judge:

1. Do you have any regrets about how late you started your career?

2. How did Gabe get down the hill on the sled? Where did the sled come from?

3. Who’s your favorite character ever?

4. Do you consider the Giver an allegory?

5. How did you decide to leave color out of the Giver?

6. Some question I’ve completely forgotten.

The director of the Provo Library reminded us that Lois Lowry is one of five authors to win the Newbery Award twice. Pretty dang cool.

The man disguised as my husband got a copy of Son autographed for the junior high school where he works. I wonder how many kids there will even read it. A society where no one reads is the worst dystopia of all.

So it seems that my husband was disguised as himself. No one knew who he was. The cleverest ruse.

I enjoyed listening to Lois Lowry and meeting her and thanking her quickly but sincerely for her autograph. Her authorgraph. Thanks so much for coming to Provo!

This Week

The trees still look lacy in their early bloom. The mountains still loom, as they always have, and they still do not scare me. They have protected me and given me a reason to wake up every morning.

In January 2010, I rebegan. Confident and cynical, I wanted to finish as quickly as I could. I had been in school long enough. I had been out of school long enough.

That first apartment, my bedroom window All that time looking at the mountains.

Classes have been wonderful. I’m grateful to have learned so much, but I wonder if I have turned into more of a cynic. BYU is a unique environment; I’ve come across a special kind of bigot here. Supposed soldiers of righteousness in an armor of hyp0crisy. At least it’s knee-length, I guess.

Those who aren’t idiots, the ones who have blessed me with their friendship, we can talk about the others. We wonder why marriage is infused into every church discussion; why certain professors say misogynist things or teach non-doctrine. Why these professors seem to be a part of an old-boys club who aren’t really professors.

Okay, so there’s that story of a teacher at a private, religious school who got fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and all I kept thinking about was Brandon Davies.

And negative feedback about the Muslim art exhibit at the Museum of Art.

The conversations take on a different tone, and I’m grateful for the contrasts in perspective.

BYU is a good school. I’ve appreciated my experience here, partly because of the classes, but mostly because of the friends. It’s hard to believe sometimes that I’m cool enough to be around all those young people. And I know that I talk as if I’m a few generations removed, but most of the time, it feels like there’s no age difference at all. Times like this, with graduation only six days away, does my life come into a different perspective.

Maybe I would have turned into one of those bitter people who aren’t really cynical but mostly sad and angry. If I didn’t have people to call and hang out with and go to concerts with and watch movies with and play games with, my experience here would have really sucked.

Maybe if professors hadn’t encouraged me to do things beyond the requirements for class or my major, my life wouldn’t be nearly as rich. Maybe if I decided not to risk my GPA by not going to Africa or minoring in French I would have deprived myself of some incredible memories and even better friends.

Friends! What if I hadn’t decided to move in August 2011? What if the circumstances weren’t perfect for me meeting this Reilly guy? Would I still have met him? I probably would have managed not knowing what I was missing, but it’s so hard to imagine my life taking another direction.

I close my eyes, and I’m in the Marriott Center. I’m in my blue cap and gown. I look for my mom and her husband in the crowd of friends and families, and I wave to them again. Reilly’s there, too. Maybe others. Hopefully others. I look around at my classmates, and I see quite a few faces that I recognize, and I’m glad to be graduating with them. I look toward the professors, and I remember everyone who has cheered for me during this time in my life, and think I couldn’t have been luckier, more fortunate, more blessed.

The arena is the mountain range. I am in the valley. The faces I see are facades of ridges and crevices and looming cliffs and majestic peaks; familiar terrain, steady, solid. The reason I will keep waking up.

It is time to begin again.