MINTED AND PRINTED: Nancy Davidson and fellow volunteers have come up with their usual list of wacky titles donated for the 42nd annual Planned Parenthood Book Sale that takes place September 16-25 at Earl Warren Showgrounds. Here are some:
Adventures in Oatmeal
Better Living Through Urology
Men Are Not Cost-Effective
50 Relatives Worse Than Yours
Are You a Miserable Old Bastard?
Bed Manners: How to Bring Sunshine into Your Nights
What’s Your Poo Telling You?
Virginia Woolf Meets Charlie Brown
The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast
My Imaginary Friend Is Too Cool to Hang Out with Me
I’m always at the Planned Parenthood opening night preview sale for first grab at books that catch my eye. Folks bring huge bags to hold treasures to lug home. This year it’s on Thursday, September 15, 5-9 p.m. Food for thought is also served, brownies and the like. Cost for opening night: $25. (For more, see booksale.ppcentralcoast.org.)
THE SMITTEN WORD: Before you donate, it’s wise to remove love letters, Dear Johns, and other passionate prose you’ve used as bookmarks.
Volunteers who cull the donations have passed along some of things people stick in and forget. I found no real scandal but a lot of love.
Some make you want to know more. One postcarder with a “deeply imbedded Victorian upbringing” while on a train laments putting off “going to my slumbers with a very proper young lady (35) traveling with her proper parents.” (I want to know more.)
A woman with a heart overflowing with love for her husband wrote, “I’m the luckiest … you make my heart sing.”
Then there’s the Ann Landers clipping headlined “Guidelines for a Woman Seeking Help for Her Illiterate Husband.” The woman wrote, “Please help! Our son will soon be attending kindergarten.” Ann wisely advised: Make contact with your local literacy program.
How’s this for a greeting card titled “You Are My Cup of Tea”? A wife wrote: “Choosing you as my husband is the smartest thing I’ve done. Our marriage is my proudest accomplishment. There’s no one else I’d rather become a parent with.”
Another left-behind printed card reads, “Thinking of you is like eating potato chips. Once I start I can’t stop!” Someone’s hand-written message on it: “You are without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Proof that (some) people still write letters was a woman’s lament, in green ink: “I have been in a rotten mood lately. I think because you are gone and I don’t have anyone to talk to and love. Hurry back.”
An orange envelope carried the mysterious script: “Dadd-i-oh!”
Then there’s the famous: “Candy is Dandy / But liquor is quicker.” The clever (but true) line of doggerel is often attributed to Dorothy Parker, but according to a newspaper clipping found in someone’s book, that apt expression of seduction was actually written by that clever poet of light verse Ogden Nash.
For that priceless bit of wit, he was paid $10 many years ago by the New Yorker, which went on to print many of his verses.
Confessed teacher R. at yuletide: “Just had my last class and I’m all partied out. Can’t face another eggnog — twice a day for three days does it for the whole year!”
A pleased postcarder sent one reading, “You’re everything I ever wanted in a guy: Two eyes, two lips, two arms, two hands, two legs, one thing, two knees, two feet.” The sender added, “And what a thing!”
THE PROMISED LAND: As dusk descends, Santa Barbarans gaze southward toward the City of Angels and try to puzzle out its secret, shadowy life.
Montecitan Jeff Larsen, who’s lived and worked in L.A., has written an impressive debut novel, Los Angeles: The Promised Land (Outskirts Press). In three unrelated stories, he probes the hopes and dreams of those who seek a better life there, and don’t always mind cutting corners.
What they find too often is danger. In one story told in screenplay form, “Borderland,” an LAPD pilot and her boyfriend speed in pursuit through the city’s mean, reckless streets. In a second story, “Grounded,” a young couple on the run heads for L.A. In “Down Track,” action at express-train speed involves criminals pulling off rail robberies.
Sample line: “Start your day off with a smile — and get it over with.”