Moms and Pop-Ins (and books, books, books)

So, I’m a little nervous about my mom reading my book. She hasn’t done it yet, and has been so removed from the process that both she and my sister thought this book was non-fiction, and was some kind of memoir. When we proofed the excerpt, Mom asked me to fax over the pages so she could see the first chapter. But I hesitated, since it’s all about Barbie sex. Finally, the other day, I confessed to my mom over the phone that the book opens with dirty Barbie dolls.

There was a pause. Then, just before the teeth-sucking noise I was expecting, she said very quietly, “I guess we all do that, then, huh?”

You can officially talk with your mom about dirty Barbie play. There’s your “Jean-Luc!” moment for the day.

The woman who owns the house did a total pop-in the other day. Not even a phone call to say she was coming. We were writing thank you cards when the doorbell rang.

Now, I haven’t seen this woman since we signed the lease; we mostly deal with her husband, so I was nervous to see her. Then when she mentioned the lease ending, I got even more nervous. Then she said they were thinking about selling the house.

If there was one thing we absolutely couldn’t afford to do right now, it’d be to move.

Then she stepped inside. If this woman had shown up on any other day of the year, she’d probably find a laptop on the front table, papers from some rewrite and mail strewn all over the place, dishes in the sink, cats chasing each other, and music on (or a recap show frozen on TiVo). One, if not both of us, would be in pajamas, or working out, or taking a nap, or just getting out of the shower.

It just so happened that we had been out of town, so the house was still clean, and my mom’s about to visit, so we had kept it pretty tidy. It just so happened that we were about to run out and do errands, so we were both dressed (and clean). It just so happened that I had just done the dishes because I was stalling on working on the new script.

She saw a clean, quiet, calm house. And she said, “Oh, I really like what you’ve done with the place.”

Cue Taylor and Olive running at full speed into the living room. She looked down. They froze in their tracks, pushed back their hair and said, “Ahem. I mean, ‘Bonjour.’”

She liked the cats. She liked the house. She likes us. I think we just got another year. Whew.

Y’all. Check out the book drive.

Stephanie joined up:

[readermail]I think it’s so great that you’ve rallied so many people to send books to the Oakland Public Libraries. Count me in as one more. I just went to and sent Photography Past/Forward: Aperture at Fifty to the Piedmont Branch. I hope this book inspires some future photographers.[/readermail]

Feel free to pick your own favorite branch if you don’t want to use the wishlists. I know some of you don’t trust a soul on the Internet, so feel free to donate a box of your own books to one of those addresses; one of the branches we haven’t focused on enough.

Dawn loves free shipping:

[readermail]Finally, after pondering it deeply for a few days, I’ve bought books for the Oakland Library! The Piedmont Branch will soon be receving:

Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone Age and His Search for Soft Trousers – because it is never too early to start teaching children about the joys of soft, comfortable trousers

The Silver Charm: A Folktale from Japan – I like the pretty pictures

The Tin Princess – I could spend a few extra dollars and get another book and free shipping, or I could spend it on shipping. Another book and free shipping wins![/readermail]

Brand new Dr. Hannah Knudsen writes:

[readermail]Love your recaps at TWoP, love your site, and love the fact that you’ve started this project. On the way to the Piedmont Branch are “Break a Leg! A Kid’s Guide to Acting and Stagecraft,” “The Shadow in the North,” and “When My Name Was Keoko.” I probably spent at least half my childhood reading books from the public library, and I’d like to think that it must’ve done some good since I’m graduating with my Ph.D. this Saturday. I went to the website for my local public library to see if they had any sort of online donation system set up. They don’t, but really should. I think I’m going to email them and see if they have plans to start one.[/readermail]

And her link up there? Look out Al and AB:

[readermail]…my favorite local band here in Athens, GA: (which as far as sites go, is not the prettiest, and yes, the sound clips take forever to load, but it’s worth it once they do). They’ve got this Southern blues/indie rock thing going on.[/readermail]

Margaret broke down and hit the “new” button:

[readermail]Breaking a “just lurking” rule of many years standing because this time you hit me where I live — love of books and libraries.

Thanks for putting this wonderful “feel good” cause out on the net.

As the mom of a ballet-crazed daughter, I donated Not Just Tutus. And to up my “feel good” quotient I donated The Magic Gourd and the Carniverous Carnival.

Great cause, Pamie. Great gesture. Thanks.[/readermail]

Chiara didn’t see the Oprah that Po was on, obviously, and that makes this book better for her because of it:

[readermail]Thanks for your entries about the Oakland library. I got What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson. I appreciate its non-Oprah aspect, I guess. I spent a lot of time at the library when I was unemployed and am so sad that Oakland has had to resort to a wishlist to get their books. I am, however, very happy to know that so many people have seen fit to donate…and also, selfishly, that not only do I have a new list of journals to read but more books to put on my own wishlist. Let the circle be unbroken, indeed.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, hope all is well with you.[/readermail]

Julie sent:

[readermail]I work for a library myself, so I *love* that you did this for Oakland Public. Libraries are being hit so hard right now; no one has any funds and it is a terrible thing!

I bought them Mole and the Baby Bird by Marjorie Newman, and Gypsy Girl by Rumer Godden; both off their wishlist.[/readermail]

Old school people remember my friend Jeff, who moved to New York. He writes:

[readermail]I keep imagining the librarian is like Bridget Fonda and Nicolas Cage in “It Had to Be You” when everyone is slipping dollar bills under the door. She’s getting all these books from the postman and she’s like,”Take that taxman, this library is OPEN FOR BUSINESS.” And the kids who are repainting…something, all scream. I got this book about Tupac and one about Captain Underpants. I love you! Great thing to tell everyone about, by the way. And, smart librarians![/readermail]

Jet Girl rocks my world:

[readermail]Sent my contribution today–here’s what they’re getting:

Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree (because it was on their wish list)

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (because I read it and haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since, and I think everyone should have this information too)

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (because Pippi’s a big reason I am the way I am, and I think a few Oakland parents ought to experience what my poor mother went through with me)

Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis (because my sister loves it and she’s currently too poor to donate it herself)

So there ya go! Thanks for spreading the word–it’s nice to help out a cause and actually make a difference, for a change.

Sadly, every website I read is either a DHAK site and thus familiar to Pamie fans, or a sportbike site, which would be of zero interest to normal people. Just tell everybody to please be kind to bikers. :)[/readermail]

Carrie didn’t sent a book:

[readermail]Well, or CD… I donated Shaman by Santana, because I want the rest of the Bay Area to dance around the kitchen, banging on the counter with wooden spoons, just like my mom!

Thanks for being such a do-gooder!![/readermail]

And check out her link:

[readermail]Your Seattle fans can help us out by participating in our study – let the circle of goodness continue!![/readermail]

LisaNH made her garden grow all the way to the OPL:

[readermail]They wanted Cottage Gardens. How could I not help them get started on the garden porn early?[/readermail]

The elusive stee:

[readermail]Dear Pamie,

I was very heartened to come across your website in which you ask for donations for books for the Oakland Public Libraries. I was born in Oakland and grew up in neighboring Berkeley! My my. Thus, I have rushed to my computer and purchased (via Cody’s Books, the bookstore where I fell in love with books, not to mention the erotic fiction magazines they keep in the back room near the windows, where any growing boy with a bus pass and a dream could read them)–

Atonement by Ian McEwan — though I hate his name, Cosmopolis by Don Delillo — because I love his name, and The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book, because Calvin was a little boy with an imagination (not a naughty kid who liked to pee on the back of pick up trucks), and Hobbes was a faux-ferocious tiger that kept young Calvin from being lonely.

I think you are doing a good thing, Miss Pamlea Ripon. Stay sweet.[/readermail]

From Molly, who’s holding onto the Young Americans dream just like all of us who fell in love those eight episodes of summer of 1999:

[readermail]You have been my favorite TWOP recapper since the Coca Cola summer spectacular of Young Americans, dueling Saint Clares, and non-gay love. Not only do I love the idea of helping out an underfunded library, you have brought me well more than $50 worth of funny. So I’m giving back:

I sent the Montclair Branch:

Not Even for Love” by Sandra Brown, because her wonderful son Ryan (who you can now see on the Young and the Restless) generously did an independent film I worked on, and he is adorable. Looks kind of like Val Kilmer before he got all puffy. and “The Body Sculpting Bible for Women,” James Villepigue, Hugo A. Rivera, because perhaps it will inspire me to do some much-needed sculpting of my own.

Piedmont got:

The Thief Lord” by Cornelia Funke, because I have been meaning to read it for a long time.


Big Mouth & Ugly Girl” Joyce Carol Oates, because how kickass is it that Oates wrote a Juvie novel? If it weren’t for the Piedmont Branch of the Oakland Library system, I would never even know such a thing existed.[/readermail]

I contacted my publicists at Downtown Press/ Simon & Schuster, and told them that Zane’s The Heat Seekers was requested at the OPL. Since Zane is a part of the Downtown line, I asked if they’d like to help. Five copies of The Heat Seekers are on their way to Oakland. Thanks, Simon & Schuster!

Misty Bell writes:


I’ve been reading your journal for what-seems-like-ever and had to participate in your book drive. I’m a book-a-holic and can’t imagine ANY kids not having access to great books to read. So I cashed in my jar o’ change on the kitchen counter and ordered Coraline by Neil Gaiman and Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman by Dav Pilkey (Illustrator).

Mostly because i love the illustrators on both those books. Oo! Pretty pictures!

And, well, little Misty had such a cool name – how could I dare let her be bookless?![/readermail]

Lisa helped her legacy:

[readermail]”Time Stops for No Mouse: A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure” by Michael Hoeye
Bug Scientist” by Donna M. Jackson
Sleepy Pendoodle” by Malachy Doyle, Julie Vivas (Illustrator)

Because I’m a book indexer, the daughter of a librarian, and a library patron. Yay books.[/readermail]

I will not sleep tonight, having looked at the cover of Bug Scientist.

Everybody loves Omar, who used to pay me money to write:

[readermail]Hey pam — it’s funny you’re doing this because we were just choosing JournalCon panels last weekend and one of the ones I suggested was one on activism and getting your readers to do cool/good things. Yet again, you raise the bar.

Here’s what I Amazon’ed over:

The Eyes of the Dragon” by Stephen King — this was the first book that got me started on the path to being a writer. I found a nasty copy of it at a thrift store when I was 13. I still go back and read it when I feel down.

Slippage” and “Angry Candy” by Harlan Ellison — by my all-time favorite writer. I used to prowl the military libraries overseas and was never able to find Harlan Ellison books. I’d have to wait and wait for weeks for the inter-library loan thing to work and half the time, I’d be crushed when they weren’t able to locate copies.[/readermail]

Don’t forget when Dana did the AIDS ride. I was pretty proud of her for that.

One of my first idols was Stephen King as well. I wrote a horror short story when I was nine that my mom still has in a drawer somewhere. She wants it to be published.

Maire is a cool kid:

[readermail]I need to share the love too! I contributed “I Love Planes” and “Esperanza Rising” to the Piedmont branch. One donation for each of my boys, because they enjoy the library so much and because they have plenty.[/readermail]

Loyal Squishite Winddance sent:

[readermail]I donated “Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen and “Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography“, because all three branches had the first on their wishlist, and I also could not resist the name “Lemony Snicket”.

Thanks for letting me know about this. Public libraries have always been there for my broke self.[/readermail]

Besides being one of my favorite people, Kim Reed makes me laugh on a regular basis:

[readermail]I finally read your entry and I had to buy a book too. It assuages my guilt over the fact that I have overdue library books sitting next to my front door. Maybe this will inspire me to finally return them and face the music!

P.S. I bought this book because Po Bronson is kind of hot.[/readermail]

Stephanie wrote the word “via”:

[readermail]I just read about the book drive via your site. I love Amazon. I love wishlists. What a great idea — thanks!

1 of: The Broken Cat [Hardcover] By:Lynne Rae Perkins (Author)

1 of: The Wolf Who Cried Boy [Hardcover] By:Bob Hartman, Tim Raglin (Illustrator)

1 of: We Wanted You [Hardcover] By:Liz Rosenberg, Peter Catalanotto (Illustrator)[/readermail]


Another Stephanie writes:

[readermail]Princess Pamie,

With a book description like this:

“Joey, the sweetest, funniest kid on meds you’ll ever meet, has enough trouble trying to keep his “active” self together. How can he win in his new, self-assumed role as “Mr. Helpful” when his divorced parents are out of control, his Grandma is surly and morbid, and Olivia, the mean blind girl he’s forced to homeschool with, calls him a “hyper retard”?”

It was impossible NOT to purchase “What Would Joey Do?” for the Piedmont Branch. Admittedly, I’m far more curious about what Joey would do in any given situation than our old stand-by Jesus.

Thanks for making it so darn easy to do a good little thing. Instead of being proud of us, I think you should be proud of yourself. That’s what Joey would do.[/readermail]

Vicki sent books and pimped her new favorite writer:

[readermail]Yo! Pamie!

Check me out — I went to Cody’s Books and bought:

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury.

This is my favorite new blog. This girl is funny and a great writer. If you don’t read her, you should check her out.[/readermail]

I absolutely can’t see the words “Calvin and Hobbes” without breaking into a smile. Can you? “Smock! Smock! Smock! Smock!”

My inbox has been a thing of joy lately. This, from Jeannie:

[readermail]Hey Pamie!

This is a wonderful thing that you’ve encouraged and I am so happy to be a part of it. I bought these books last night and this afternoon I read the emails you posted on your site from the Library staff and it made me feel warm and fuzzy. I think it’s great!

Anyhow, I donated books to the Piedmont Library. I wanted to send one to each list but then realized I could spend more on books (with the shipping savings) if I sent them to one library. And Piedmont seemed to have had the least donations so far!

They will be getting a copy each of:

Peacock and Other Poems” Valerie Worth

Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My Soup! Recipes for the Kid in Everyone” Emeril Lagasse

Pearl’s Passover : A Family Celebration through Stories, Recipes, Crafts, and Songs” Jane Zalben

Again, thanks for writing about this! Long time reader/lurker on your site! And I love your Gilmore Girls recaps as well! (Dude, what was up with last night’s episode??)[/readermail]

Last night’s episode was such a let down that I haven’t even looked toward my recap today. That and I’ve been busy writing the spec, going to the grocery store, taking phone meetings and preparing for my mom’s arrival.

Molly, a Library Science student, brings up a good point:

[readermail]Just wanted to let you know that I sent the Piedmont Avenue branch of the OPL the following books Can You Guess My Name?: Traditional Tales Around the World, by Judy Sierra
Tell All the Children Our Story: Memories and Mementoes of Being Young and Black in America, by Tonya Bolden

Thanks for getting your readers involved, and remind them that library funding isn’t just an issue in Oakland. They should check up on the funding situation of the libraries in their own communities and let their elected officials know that public libraries shouldn’t be forgotten when planning city and state budgets.[/readermail]

Mary Anne can’t deal with the peer pressure. She’s now a cool kid:

[readermail]Hi Pamie-

Like everyone else, I’ve read your site for ages, and I really appreciate you sharing your life with the world. It can’t be easy to have tons of strangers act like they know you, but it’s just amazing how much I enjoy your writing. Anyway, just adding to the chorus of “you rock!” (in the best way possible…)

I thought about what to send the OPL and was being kinda lazy until I saw that one of my best friends, Amanda Lawrence, had contributed too. Nothing like the spirit of competition to get me off my butt! So thanks to Amanda, the Montclair OPL will soon be getting The Alchemist (Audio CD) and Dora’s Color Adventure!. The Alchemist is because a friend of mine in college told me I had to read, but I never have. Dora is mostly because my husband loves maps (and Dora’s all over learning to read maps). So there you go.

Thanks again for alerting the world to little Misty’s troubles.

(PS- you could have said worse in southern (from like 5 entries ago…) you could have blessed her heart…)[/readermail]

Luckly I haven’t started blessing people’s hearts just yet. I think I’ve got about three decades to go before I start doing that. Hopefully.

This next list is from one generous anonymous donor.

[readermail]Ruby Holler
Bubba and Beau, Best Friends
Bubba and Beau Go Night-Night
The Quigleys
Song of the Circus
Ten Kings and the Worlds They Ruled
Saffy’s Angel
Robots Among Us: The Challenges and Promises of Robots (New Century Technology)
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The Jade Necklace
The Book of Wizard Parties: In Which the Wizard Shares the Secrets of Creating Enchanted Gatherings[/readermail]

Thank you so much. It’s always the anonymous donors that get you all choked up, isn’t it? You’re all, “I could DO more!” The anonymous donor. An important part of any fund-raising activity. What would we do without them?

Cathy joined the cool kids, and gave a shout-out to my cats:

[readermail]Hi Pamie,

Great journal. I’ve been a devoted reader for a couple of years now. Well, I finally did it. Got off my butt and donated some books to the Oakland Public Library. It was the librarian’s letter that got me. I actually teared up a bit. Three more books are on their way to the Piedmont Branch:

1. “Kitten for a Day

In honor of Cal, who is just adorable. Taylor too. And really, who doesn’t love a good kitten story?

2. “What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist

I thought it fitting, with Mother’s Day coming up since my mom’s a dental hygienist, but always wanted to be a librarian instead.

3. “Where is My Baby?” No reason at all. If I’m going to have to pay $5 for shipping, may as well add $3 more and donate a 3rd book instead. I’m all about getting my money’s worth. It’s a children’s book about cows, if I remember correctly.

Thanks for getting this all started! And good luck with your own book.[/readermail]

Heather writes:

[readermail]Hey, Pamie!

Thanks for letting me know about the Oakland Library. We just had a library here in Montreal shut down because of a lack of funding, and I couldn’t let that happen somewhere else.

I bought:

Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Sharon L. Lechter

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Sharon L. Lechter

I don’t remember reading that anyone else had bought those books, and I wanted to get them something they didn’t already have. Maybe if we’re lucky, every single book on that list will be bought!

I hope it helps.[/readermail]

Melissa from Cody’s Books, writes:

[readermail]Your OPL crusade is just super – and to see the enthusiasm of your readers is astounding. Congratulations! Just want to tell you that, unlike other bookstores, Cody’s will be delivering the books purchased for the Oakland Public Library by our customers, both those books purchased on our web site ( ) as well as those purchased in our two stores. If you have space to note that, we’d be ever so grateful.

And the orders are coming in: from Texas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Oregon…[/readermail]

But since I’m a bear of very small brain sometimes, I was all, “Wha?” And then she was all:

[readermail]Cody’s — are delivering the books purchased for donation to the OPL ourselves, in our van, thus obviating the need for the library to pick them up, or for customers to take them to the library. Our customers do not pay shipping charges for orders destined for OPL.[/readermail]

And then I was all, “Sorry. Sometimes I’m dumb.”

And then I was all, “Obviating. That’s a new word for me.” And then I was like, “I’m a professional writer.” And then I said, “U R 2 KEWL 2 B 4 GOTN.”

So make sure to mention these are books for the OPL if you give through Cody’s Books, so they don’t charge you shipping.

SummerRose, a squishite from the old school writes:

[readermail]I’m a reader of your journal and was a poster at Squishy. I think it’s a great thing you’re doing, giving the publicity to Oakland Public Library. My local library is in danger of having its budget drastically cut and losing employees too. It hasn’t happened yet, but with the economy, it probably will soon.

Anyway, I bought 3 books, “Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets”, by Dav Pilkey; Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman; and Learn to Sign the Fun Way: Let Your Fingers Do the Talking with Games, Puzzles, and Activities in American Sign Language, for Oakland Public Library. I basically grew up in my local library that the librarians knew me by name and it has helped me in many ways. I bought the sign language book for personal reasons. You see, I’m deaf and has been since birth. Even though sign language isn’t the language I use (I do speak English), but I’ve learned sign language because it’s interesting and it has helped me with interpreters (If I miss something in lipreading, I could pick up the missing information by watching the sign language). I’ve found that as I made new hearing friends, they always wanted to learn some sign language so I’m hoping there’d be someone who’d learn sign language for fun or to help another deaf person out there.

I feel so great donating these books that I plan on doing the same if my local library goes through the same drastic cuts.[/readermail]

When I was about three, I was in a park with my mom and saw two people signing to each other. I asked what they were doing. She explained ASL to me, and we went to the library that day and checked out a book on basic sign language. That night we learned the ASL alphabet together, and I’ve known it my entire life. I don’t even remember learning it.

Sandy sent books and then went straight to her address book to email her friends:

[readermail]Ok, just finished donating my books. I donated one from my sorry unemployed ass and one from my good friend Jamie, who is also unemployed but very ill.

My book was A Corner of the Universe by Ann Martin, because I for some reason loved the crappy Babysitter’s Club when I was an adolescent.

From Jamie, the library receives The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by James Cross Giblin. Jamie has a bizarre and frightening fascination with Nazis. Might as well educate someone with it.

I also forwarded you an email that I sent to six people, hoping each will donate one book and forward the email on to six more people, and in the words of the shampoo commercial, “and so on, and so on.”[/readermail]

My dad also had a strange fascination with Nazis. He’s the reason The History Channel plays no other biography.

I’m also enjoying seeing everyone’s book selection, and the stories that come out of giving some of our favorite authors or books.

I know that this Jared is a boy. But you don’t get to know why I know that:

[readermail]I sent a copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook because the good people of Oakland should not suffer the same fate that I have (TV dinners and take away), and the latest Lemony Snicket because that’s what all the cool kids (and my mom) want to read.

Go you for getting the word out — save the Oakland Library vs. Save Karyn could be a online journal deathmatch or something, unless Karyn dried up and blew away. Or at least a possible first chapter in Why Girls Are Still Weird, because everyone loves a franchise.[/readermail]

Except that Save Karyn turned out to be a hoax, right? I didn’t follow it, but wasn’t that one woman who bought like, too many shoes or something? And she owned a house?

Don’t you love how rumors get started? “And I heard she had like, a zebra, and um, she was like the president of a nation or something? And all the money that was donated? Yeah, I heard she just set it all on fire. That Karyn was trouble.”

But this isn’t donating to one person. This is a community.

Beanz is cool:

[readermail]Because I cannot resist the siren call of Pamie (or maybe it’s that I’ve just spent several hours shelving books in my front room and I want someone else to alphabetize by author for a while), I have purchased:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki (I’m all about the financial security thing)

The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 9) by Lemony Snicket (my girls love these books)

Captain Underpants And The Perilous Plot Of Professor Poopypants:
El Capitan Calzoncillos Y El Perverso Plan Del Profesor Pipcac
by Dav Pilkey (for the free shipping. and because my kids speak Spanish, but don’t have much to read in Spanish)

I don’t have any thing, personally, for you to link to–my cool-o-meter reading is on the low side, I know–but is a pretty nice place! (…if it hadn’t been for one of the threads there, I wouldn’t have known about the Oakland drive till much later, when I’d caught up on all my journal reading–possibly sometime in 2013).[/readermail]

In one day we almost doubled our list of donated books. I couldn’t be any prouder of you. Thanks for helping out.

See everybody who has donated here. And if you can’t afford to help Oakland right now (because, man these times are hard, I know), then go and visit some of the sites of people who contributed. You just might find your new best friend or your favorite new journal. And won’t that make the people at happy?

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