Stacking the Shelves: July Library Book Sale

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Linking up with Tynga’s Reviews for Stacking the Shelves. 

In the past year, I’ve started buying more books. For a long time, I never bought any books. I was (and still am) an avid library user. Why buy books when you can borrow them? Before my kids were born, I would set aside a couple of hours every few weeks to wander the library, carefully reviewing and selecting the books I wanted to read.

Stacking the Shelves: Finds at the Library Book Sale

I don’t have that kind of time anymore. Now our library trips consist of story times, grabbing children’s books, helping with the kid games on the computers, and playing with the puzzles and toys in the community room. I almost never look for books for myself.

Our library has a small area set up for book sales that I largely ignored until late last year. I didn’t really understand why anyone would go to the library to buy books—didn’t they know the library had them for free?

And then I went to one of their large quarterly book sales. Boxes and boxes of books, most donated (though some are retired from the stacks), many recent releases and in like-new condition, and none over $4—and I usually pay $1 or $2 per book.

Now I make a point to go to these sales. Not only do my purchases support the library, but I’m able to fill my shelves with months worth of reading material. I almost always find books I’ve been wanting to read, and this puts them at my fingertips—no waiting lists, no debating whether to spend the money on a different book. I let myself buy freely at these sales. And the sale this week had a particularly great selection; I came home with 28 books, but there were more that I considered. I spent only $53–my kind of shopping spree!

Here’s what I got:

  1. The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
    A memoir of Walls’ childhood growing up in a dysfunctional family.
  2. Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk
    A YA novel set between the two World Wars; several descriptions include comparisons with To Kill a Mockingbird.
  3. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah
    A memoir of Beah’s time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.
  4. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
    A family discovers a connection to  wealthy, noble family and sends a young daughter to live there. One from my reading bucket list!
  5. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
    Another from my bucket list, this gothic novel is set in an old mansion full of secrets.
  6. Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
    A love affair begins on the Italian coast in the 1960s and resumes 50-years later in Hollywood.
  7. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories – Flannery O’Connor
    I don’t usually read short stories, but I’ve been wanting to read O’Connor.
  8. Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty
    I have mixed feelings about Moriarty, but I picked this up for when I need a quick page-turner.
  9. Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler
    A coming-of-age novel set in New York.
  10. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
    One of my favorite novels that I’ve been planning to re-read, Bel Canto is the story of a small band of terrorists who take the occupants of a South American opera house hostage.
  11. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
    A genetics professor creates a survey to find the perfect wife.
  12. The Likeness – Tana French
    I’ve been hearing about French’s Dublin Murder squad mysteries but haven’t had a chance to read any. Many have said this second one is the best, so I was glad to find it.
  13. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
    A dystopian novel that I believe is a prequel to The Year of the Flood, which I read years ago.
  14. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
    This is one for my re-read list. A missionary moves his family to the Congo.
  15. Moonlight Mile – Dennis Lehane
    I’ve been hearing a bit about Lehane lately and thought I would check out this mystery about a young girl who went missing at age four, only to be found and then go missing again at 16. I happened to get a signed copy.
  16. The Story of a New Name – Elena Ferrante
    The second in the Neapolitan novels—a great find, since I read the first one earlier this year.
  17. Before You Know Kindness – Chris Bohjalian
    A young girl shoots and wounds her father—but is it an accident?
  18. Broken Harbor – Tana French
    Another Dublin Murder squad mystery.
  19. The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
    The story of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob who is only briefly mentioned in the Book of Genesis.
  20. The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware
    A journalist aboard a luxury cruise hears a woman being thrown overboard, but all passengers are accounted for.
  21. At the Water’s Edge – Sarah Gruen
    A couple moves to the Scottish Highlands seeking the Loch Ness monster in the 1940s.
  22. March – Geraldine Brooks
    The story of Mr. March, the Little Women father who has joined the cause of the Union in the Civil War.
  23. The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
    The story of a couple who move into a gated community where, in alternating months, residents must leave their homes to serve as inmates in the prison system.
  24. The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean M. Auel
    I’ve heard raves about this series set in the dawn of civilization for years and thought I would give it a try.
  25. The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
    The story of unlikely friendships in a Paris hotel.
  26. The Mare – Mary Gaitskill
    A poor Dominican girl enters the lives of a couple and an abused horse.
  27. Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
    Advice from Strayed’s Dear Sugar column.
  28. Away – Amy Bloom
    A mother who lost her family in a Russian pogrom searches for her daughter, who may still be alive.



  1. Wow, that is an impressive book haul! I have read several of these books and they are wonderful. I particularly liked Beautiful Ruins, and The Red Tent. I know how it is when you have small kids. There’s not a lot of time for yourself, so it is smart to get a bunch of books so you will have something on hand to read. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Yes, I can hardly believe I bought almost thirty books at one time! It is nice to have a variety on hand, though–there’s always something there that I know I want to read. Glad to hear you enjoyed those two–I didn’t realize The Red Tent was so popular. Thanks for visiting!

  2. I love the library so much. I love buying books, but I always have an enormous pile checked out from the library, too. The only one of these I’ve read was The Red Tent–and that was ages ago–but The Woman in Cabin 10 is on my list. Happy reading!

    1. Libraries are amazing. One day I’ll have a chance to check out a big pile of books again, but I’m sure I’ll keep haunting their sales as well 🙂

  3. Although I buy books, I frequent my library too. You manage to get a wonderful selection of good ones including ones pretty currently Happy reading.

  4. I buy a lot of books (mostly from second-hand bookstores) but I go to my library around four times a week. I’ve been using the library since I was really little and it’s always felt like a second home to me! I’m even volunteering there 3-4 times a week over the summer because I just love spending time there haha!

    Enjoy your new books! 🙂

    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic
    My Book Haul!

    1. Wow–four times per week! That’s great that you’re volunteering there. Some of the (mostly retired) women who help run the sales have tried to convince me to join the Friends of the Library, but now’s not the right time for me. But I probably will someday!

  5. I do love libraries too, but at the moment I’m living in Belgium, so the library’s stock of English-language books is, alas, somewhat limited. Still, even that library has some of the more popular recent books, so it’s always a good place to check, heh. Looks like you have quite the haul here — hope you enjoy!

    My STS.

    1. That would be tough to have a limited supply of English-language books, but it’s always worth checking! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Would love to hear if you see any favorites. Thanks for stopping by–off to check out your post 🙂

  6. That is a wonderful selection of books you purchased. I haven’t been to a library sale before, I do need to check on them because I always see others getting really good deals. I just finished a Chris Bohjalian book and I would like to read more from him, I did hear wonderful things about the book you picked up. I hope you enjoy them all, have a wonderful day.

    1. Glad to hear it! I’ve been hearing his name more lately and thought I’d give one a try. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Ha! Books are never-ending temptation! I need to stop for a while and catch up on the ones on my shelf 🙂

  7. Wow you got some great books. I always look forward to library sales and see it as ways to support my local library – which I love. I go through spells where I read more library books than others, but I’m always visiting, checking out and even requesting new purchases for their stacks. Hope you have a good time reading these!

  8. What a great haul! The Woman in Cabin 10 is excellent–one of my favorite books of 2016. I recently bought copies of The Poisonwood Bible and The Red Tent as well and I can’t wait to read them! Unfortunately, I’m going to miss my library’s fall sale this year, but at least I brought home a lot of great books last year.

    1. Good to hear! I may be ready for a page-turner soon and I’ve been a little disappointed by some of the thrillers I’ve read in the last year. Hopefully this will get me out of that slump.

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