Sunday, January 20, 2008

Some of Us Read Some of Us Just Buy Books Part 2

Twice a year great days come to pass at the next town over's public library. These great days are, as you may well guess, the days of the library's used book sale. Though many nearby and not so nearby libraries host large book sales, few (none) take place in the dead of winter or are so well-stocked as this library's book sale. The denizens of said town and friends of said library who deign to donate from their book collections have astonishingly good taste seeing as the sale is not the largest by far, but I always seem to walk away with the most books (and the least money). Having missed the past summer book sale as result of living in Boston in a state of utter (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating) poverty, I was gleeful at the prospect of attending this winter's in a state of only moderate poverty. Poverty or no, when I'm even moderately unhappy (and sometimes when I'm moderately content) I have no power to stop myself from buying stacks of glorious books, especially if said books populate my monstrous wishlist. So with some glee and no small amount of shame, I present to you - the haul (complete with over-enthusiastic comments/excuses and an abundance of exclamation points to take your mind off the fact that you're really just perusing a gigantic list of books). Go forth, be jealous, be astonished, be distressed (along with me) that I have no place to put these glorious book nor nearly enough life span within which to read them! (But they're practically new! They're on my wish list! They're really cheap! I want them! I need them! *salivates*)

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez - Natural history about the far north that won the National Book Award!
Matrimony by Josh Henkin - Seems like everybody's talking about this one lately!
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee - Because I've heard too much about this author to not give his work a try and it's a Booker!
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - Because how often do you get to learn about the world and read about books at the same time?
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - Because I think Africa is wildly interesting, yet I manage to have so few books about it!
The Pacific and Other Stories by Mark Helprin - Because I've been itching to try stuff by this author, and I keep promising myself I'm going to give short stories a chance!
Arabian Jazz by Diana Abu-Jabar - Because of my weakness for immigrant stories - the folks in this book are transplants from Jordan.
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult - Because once I actually start reading her books, I'll know that I have a ton more hanging around to indulge myself in a Picoult-fest.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan - See above, and I feel like I was just talking about this with relation to book reviews. Oh, that's because I was.
West With the Night by Beryl Markham - I feel like a few bloggers have been talking this one up though I, for the life of me, can't remember which ones.
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart - Because it's like a travelogue! Of Afghanistan! This is where wannabe traveler me and political science/international relations nerd me can get together and play!
Downtown by Pete Hamill - Because I find NYC fascinating despite my desire to never live there!
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - Because it's The Good Earth!
The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks - I went to college in Gettysburg. It's pretty mandatory for me to have at least a passing interest in American Civil War novels and so I do!
Snow by Orhan Pamuk - Another author I've wanted to try for awhile, and it seems to me someone on BookObsessed recommended this one highly at one time.
The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell - Because I picked it up for my mother to buy and ended up being interested in it myself!
The Woods by Harland Coben - See above.
The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley - See above above.
Dog Years by Mark Doty - Because it's a memoir! With dogs!
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - Because it's a true Holocaust resistance story!
Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen - Because I'm a Holocaust history junkie for reasons that I can't quite explain, and this is supposed to be some really good scholarship on causes which I suppose is good to know if you can stomach
March by Geraldine Brooks - Loved Year of Wonders. Also see "passing interest in American Civil War novels."
Cape Breton Road by D.R. MacDonald - Because I've kinda got a thing for Scottish/Irish immigrants and Alistair MacLeod said something good about it on the front cover which made me think about No Great Mischief. While I was thinking, this book fell into my bag...or something.
War Trash by Ha Jin - Yet another author I've been wanting to try. This one won the PEN/Faulkner I think...and I'm a sucker for a good award winner.
Joe College by Tom Perrotta - Because everything I bought seems all deep and heavy (okay, my reading tastes generally run toward the deep and heavy) but this seemed like more of an entertaining read...
The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn - I think there's been a copy of this in just about every historical fiction swap ever on BookObsessed, and somehow I still didn't have one of my own.
The Master by Colm Toibin - I've heard a ton about this author and have nary a book of his to my name...until now.
The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud - Could it be that Caribou's Mom wrote a review of this that made me reconsider my not having added it to my wishlist? Or was it someone else? Memory....failing.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - See explanations for Jodi Picoult and Ian McEwan.
Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley - Oh about a year ago I read a review of this in Entertainment Weekly, thought I should have a copy, and now I do. I see now that the ratings on LT are a bit frightening....
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist - Because what's a book sale without the purchase of one good looking chunkster? If all else fails, I can use this to prop a door open or something, right?
Bad Dirt Annie Proulx - See "short stories" explanation, plus a strong fascination with books about the west since having traveled there. And the picture on the cover just makes me love it even more. It's a fab picture.

32 books. 18 from my wish list. I'm $39 poorer, but as it turns out, money can buy happiness. Well, at least for a few hours until I have to find a place to put them. Now it's up to you whether to congratulate or scold me. ;-)


  1. Megan! Am I jealous? YES. Did you get a BIG bang for your near-impoverished buck? YOU BET. Kudos to you for getting such a wonderful collection of books for almost 40 bucks. Did I mention that I am jealous?

    I see you snagged The Sparrow. A wonderful book that I hope you enjoy.

    I was also enthralled that you went to college in Gettysburg. I have a huge interest in Civil War Fiction and enjoyed Widow of the South immensely. The Battle of Franklin was bloodier than Gettysburg, if you can imagine that. It's a haunting book.


  2. Awesome haul!

    I might be responsible for the Gilded Chamber... I don't think it had been in a VBB before I had a few extra copies left over from my book club... check the JEs next time you see it. Lovely book, btw. Great read.

    I have March on my TBR, too. One of these days...

  3. Looks like a bunch of fun! :) Do you know what would also be fun? A huge, teetering pile for us people who have promised not to buy any new books to salivate over. ;)

  4. Wow...32 great books for $39 has to be the best haul I've seen in 2008.

    I'm also a Civil War freak and really love Civil War novels if they are well written. It always amazes me how much history can be learned from a well-researched novel.

    I spent a whole day in Franklin, TN, a couple of years ago touring the plantation home that is featured in the book you bought and looking around the town. It is not the greatest novel in the world, but having toured the area just before reading it, it became a memorable one for me.

    You did good... :-)

  5. You got a great deal and a lot of great reading ahead of you! I seem to bring more books in than I actually read and so sometimes I feel like all I do is buy books. I'm working my way through them though and so that must count for something, right?

    I've only actually read one of the books that you recently purchased (Reading Lolita in Tehran) but several others are in my TBR collection.

  6. I've tagged you for a meme I made up! Feel free to participate or not-up to you. :)

  7. Thank you, thank you! *takes a bow*

    Jill, I'm greatly looking forward to The Sparrow, I've heard so much good about it. Gettysburg was a crazy place to go to school - how many places can you stand outside the door of your college apartment and watch a Civil War-attired band march by or run into ghost hunters in the elevator on your way to work (but never actually see any ghosts)?

    Susan - Ah, it was you! You started it all! ;-) Looking forward to reading it!

    Eva - Hey, you've got teetering book piles too, I've seen them with my own eyes! :-P And I'll definitely do your meme here in the next few days. =)

    Sam - I totally agree. I've probably learned as much history from novels as I have from non-fiction history books, and in novels, the history seems so much more accessible.

    Literary Feline, that's definitely me, too, bringing many more books into the house than I'm reading, but I'm always reading *something* (and yes, that does count for something!) so I'm confident I'll have time to get to them all or, at least, plenty to bequeath to my loved ones when I'm gone...right? Heh heh. =)

  8. Wow! "The Haul" is right -- that has to be one of history's all-time greatest shopping trips...

  9. JK, I'll say it was a quite a haul. I finally stashed them on a shelf under my TV for lack of other space, and just seeing them there makes me smile. LOL! =D