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.
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:
- The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
A memoir of Walls’ childhood growing up in a dysfunctional family.
- Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk
A YA novel set between the two World Wars; several descriptions include comparisons with To Kill a Mockingbird.
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah
A memoir of Beah’s time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.
- 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!
- Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Another from my bucket list, this gothic novel is set in an old mansion full of secrets.
- Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
A love affair begins on the Italian coast in the 1960s and resumes 50-years later in Hollywood.
- 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.
- Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty
I have mixed feelings about Moriarty, but I picked this up for when I need a quick page-turner.
- Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler
A coming-of-age novel set in New York.
- 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.
- The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
A genetics professor creates a survey to find the perfect wife.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
This is one for my re-read list. A missionary moves his family to the Congo.
- 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.
- 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.
- Before You Know Kindness – Chris Bohjalian
A young girl shoots and wounds her father—but is it an accident?
- Broken Harbor – Tana French
Another Dublin Murder squad mystery.
- The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
The story of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob who is only briefly mentioned in the Book of Genesis.
- 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.
- At the Water’s Edge – Sarah Gruen
A couple moves to the Scottish Highlands seeking the Loch Ness monster in the 1940s.
- March – Geraldine Brooks
The story of Mr. March, the Little Women father who has joined the cause of the Union in the Civil War.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
The story of unlikely friendships in a Paris hotel.
- The Mare – Mary Gaitskill
A poor Dominican girl enters the lives of a couple and an abused horse.
- Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
Advice from Strayed’s Dear Sugar column.
- Away – Amy Bloom
A mother who lost her family in a Russian pogrom searches for her daughter, who may still be alive.