Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fabulous and Favorite Finds: How I Became Stupid

I have just been home in Missouri for about a week, which, combined with my terminal laziness, will explain the absence of posts. My parents are antique dealers, and my sister is a talented young artist, so I can proudly say that I got quite a haul for next to nothing, unless you're going to count airfare. 

I will soon regale you with stories about "playing jewelry" in my parents' hidden cache of stuff and giggling over our embarrassment of art riches, I promise.* However, I'm always more than faintly sad after leaving home, and this particular time is the first time I've been back to Missouri in the Spring in 5 years (!), so it felt a little like leaving for the first time all over again. 

With that in mind, I was thinking about some of my favorite things to cheer me up, which led me to thinking about some of my favorite thrifted things. Not just the things that saved me money or made me look awesome, but things that were somehow important in my life, like How I Became Stupid

"Don't I look clever and headless?"
I found this book on the shelf at the Daly City Goodwill. It was sitting there, flaunting its sassy orange and black spine, proudly calling out the fact that it is a Penguin Book. I'm a sucker for satin or flat finishes on paperbacks, and this is a rough flat finish that had already picked up a casual coating of grime in its wrinkles. And then there's that title. 

It's a quirky (and invitingly slim) story about Antoine, a Paris academic who is desperate to become stupid because he believes he'll be happier that way. He tries everything he can dream or do, from alcoholism to playing the stock market. In the end, it is a clear-eyed novel with a sense of hope that is somewhat sneaky, but nevertheless intriguing. 

At this point, I have no idea what I paid for it, but likely $2.19. I've since picked up at least 3 more copies (there are 2 living on the bookshelf in the living room right now). And at most recent count, I've bullied 4 people into reading it. 

I'm not certain what it is that appeals to me so much, and I'm equally uncertain that anyone I've forced to read it feels the same way I do. Still, I feel about it the way I feel about songs that are fun to listen to, but don't necessarily suit my philosophies: It's nice to get to live for a little bit in a world I don't want to inhabit permanently. But in this case, Antoine goes ahead and lives out his own disturbed fantasy rather than just, in a completely hypothetical example, listening to a latter-day Fall Out Boy song. 

I also really love the end. And in a world of books that make me say, "It was ok, but I didn't like how it ended," that is something interesting and special indeed. 

*I also do not fail to recognize that I am 2 posts into a proposed 3 part series, which I will soon bring to a breathtaking close.**

**Breathtaking might be a bit generous. 

So, what are some of your important or favorite thrift store finds?


  1. I want to read that book now. Also I'm totally in agreement about the textures of certain book covers.

    At the main SF Goodwill, I found a book called "The New Single Woman" which I ended up blogging a lot about and recommending to everybody. It was surprisingly good and relevant for something I just came across randomly.

  2. Well, I have an extra copy, and it's yours now. :)

  3. Your parents sound really cool and wise.

  4. Surprisingly so, I would say. :P


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