Back in the day, my friend CJ and I would scrape the change out of our ashtrays, hop into the Scirocco, blast Antichrist Superstar and rock our way to Maui Friends of the Library in Pu‘unene.
Until recently, it was this dingy little shack covered in red dirt and cobwebs with rows and rows of books. There were also large insects and the occasional rat, but they were friendly, I swear. But I was shocked, and a bit sad, when I walked in a few weeks ago and realized that my cozy little bookstore had undergone a dramatic makeover.
Instead of smelling like dust and mildew, it held the scent of fresh paint. And the books were sitting on new shelves–straight shelves. I felt a pain in my chest. It was like finding out that your grandma had a face-lift–an obvious improvement, but I missed the wrinkles.
Regardless, Maui Friends of the Library is still a place where we paupers always leave feeling like kings. For seven bucks (the price of a cheap paperback) you can buy 70 books. You heard me right–books cost a dime.
I recently took Calendar Editor Jessica Armstrong and intern Ynez Tongson on a fieldtrip and this is what we got for a grand total of $1.50:
Anton Chekhov: Selected Stories, Anton Chekhov, 1960: I don’t know what to write about Chekhov without gushing bias. The way he writes makes me want to dot his i’s hard and thrust into his o’s. [YT]
Atonement, Ian McEwan, 2001: A Swedish girl on a bus in Thailand asked me to explain several English words from this book. It was a long bus ride so we ended up reading several chapters together and I promised her I’d finish the book some day. [JA]
Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, Susan Love, M.D. with Karen Lindsey, 1990: Titties, Ta-tas, Juggies… no matter how you say it, almost everybody loves boobies. The Breast Book will fill your brain with knowledge, without filling your nether regions. [YT]
How to Meet Men as Smart as You, Sandee Brawarsky, 1972: One of the tips in this lovely little pamphlet is to ride around on a tandem bicycle in the hopes that someone will find that compelling, then ask for a ride. Next book: How to Hook Up With a Sociopath. [YT]
The Hypochondriac’s Handbook, Wendy Marston, 1998: There’s so much to be afraid of, but worry not—bacteria, microbes, parasites and thousands of diseases will call for your demise before something as silly as stress gets you. Do you have bad breath? Well, severe halitosis is a symptom of a lung abscess… you should get that checked out. [YT]
Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins, 1984: It’s a cult classic! Well, maybe not, but it was my first and very favorite book by Robbins and I will read it for a third time. [JA]
The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking, Edited by Alex Comfort, M.B., Ph.D., 1972: I really want to read this book. It’s just I can’t tear my eyes away from the painfully explicit illustrations. Nothing is left to the imagination—from a woman’s armpit, blooming with hair to a man’s ass crack and the hair sprouting from it. [YT]
Karl Marx, Isaiah Berlin, 1963: Honestly, I bought this book just because it looked cool. It’s bright red, with black lettering. It gives me joy to watch my snobbish, cultured friends make their way to my bookshelf, reeking of clove cigarettes and communism. Their eyes caress the spine of the book with longing, and then jolt with horror when I tell them I use it to squish roaches. Just kidding. [YT]
Like Water For Chocolate, Laura Esquivel, 1992: Food, sex and romantic Spanish men. Okay, I know it’s kind of girly, but I like a good love story every now and then. [JA]
Maybe If I Loved You More, James Kavanaugh, 1982: I just really liked the title of this book of poetry. Imagine this: You’re at a restaurant with your significant other. You begin to argue. Instead of crying, you slam your hands onto the table and shout, “Maybe If I Loved You More!” A hush settles onto the restaurant, and you stand to leave… Check please. [YT]
On The Road, Jack Kerouac, 1955: I picked up this book to see how much sex, drugs and rock & roll have changed since the 1950s. I think probably not too much. [JA]
Son of Rosemary, Ira Levin, 1997: Reading Rosemary’s Baby (1967) during pregnancy is not recommended. The masochist in me insisted on picking up the sequel. [SB]
Sex, A Man’s Guide, Bechtel and Stain, 1996: A quick flip through this book taught me that more men fear impotence than contracting AIDS. Seriously!? I’m hooked. [SB]
Taming the Star Runner, S.E. Hinton, 1988: I’ve read this book a gagllion times. Not as good as Hinton’s That was Then, This is Now, but way better than her recent Hawks Harbor. Vampires? You gotta be kidding me. [SB]
The Women’s Room, Marilyn French, 1977: Even though this book is fiction, I found it on the self-help shelf. That’s about all I know about it, but it looks enlightening. [JA]
Maui Friends of the Library 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Th-Sa. Located behind the Puunene sugar mill by Community Work Day program. 871-6563. MTW