Jane Finds Marginalia in ROLLING THE R’S

This is a book that little Jane needed. Published in 1995, why didn’t my kid hands hold it, my kid eyes read it? Judging from how much this book has been checked out (borrowed 37 times, the first due date recorded is December 14, 2004), Rolling the R’s is a book that many needed. Considering an acclaimed book like Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club, also published in 1995, has been loaned 27 times since 1999. (Note: Other than the fact that I’m returning both books today, this comparison is random. Both books are great, and deserve to be read, praised and shared.)

Roll itToday, R. Zamora Linmark’s debut novel is the most written-in library book I have had the pleasure of consuming. In “Lips,” three places are checkmarked alone:

  • “‘Do the men you go out with ever know what you really are?’ I ask.”
  • “‘Well, I always knew deep inside me that I was made to follow in Sister Eve’s footsteps, but my mother hated apples. In fact, she was allergic to them, especially mountain apples. That’s why I came out a boy instead of a princess,’ Exotica says, giving them her revised version of Creation.”
  • “‘You think my lips hide a million secrets?’ asks Edgar.”

The underlining, the stars, the dog-eared pages made me linger longer on the text. Public libraries boast at least threat of punishment for defacing its property, and the fact that a borrower, or multiple borrowers, ignored this says something, right? What’s the worst that could happen: replace the book and keep the original? (Give or take a minor non-refundable processing charge.) Mahalo!

 

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Jane Finds Marginalia in DOGEATERS

Seven years ago, a friend gifted me a handout from her literature course. “You should read her,” she said.

I always remembered that name, Jessica Hagedorn, her remarkably high cheekbones and cool stare, the title, Dogeaters. I have an inkling of what that might mean.

Like her, I am Filipino. Like her, I have hoop earrings, poems in lowercase letters.

I saved that sheet of paper, carried it with me through five moves. I don’t know why I didn’t seek it out then, but I found a used copy at Left Bank Books and have added to the margins.

DOGEATERS