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28th March
written by Steph

Behold as Mount TBR increases once again...

Behold as Mount TBR increases once again...

There actually has been quite the downpour ongoing today (complete with intermittent tornado warnings, which Tony deemed scaremongering, citing insufficient cloud density or something to that effect), but who cares about the weather when Tony and I finally made our way back to McKay’s after what seems like months of abstaining from book buying (in truth, it’s only been about 8 weeks, if that, but it has felt like FOREVER)?  I’ve been trying to curb my book-buying bug of late with trips to the library (it’s just a block away from the Y, which we visit 3 – 4 times a week), but public and private libraries hardly compare!  Sure, my rampant book buying just contributes to my never-ending, never-lessening TBR stack, but what I like about owning books I’d like to read is the fact that I feel no pressure to actually read said books.  Counterintuitive, I know, but when I visit the library, I inevitably take out more books at a time than I had originally intended (I have impulsive tendencies, have you noticed?), and then I feel pressured to read all of those books one after the other, even if I’m not necessarily in the right mood for them.  [Tony thinks that’s crazy talk by the way – he’s one of those people who can make a list of the next 10 books he’ll read and stick to it and feel perfectly happy.  I, on the other hand, have to wait until I’ve finished one book before I can even contemplate the next one, and then it’s a deep soul-searching process… Thankfully, today I was somewhat vindicated when we were at the store and ran into a friend of Tony’s who says she is the same way as I am when it comes to picking her next read!  Huzzah!]  Anyway, I realize I could return books to the library unread, and I often need to do so, but it feels like such a defeat to do that!

Ok, so today’s total damage?  25 books.  Eeps!  BUT.  In all fairness to me, today Tony actually picked out a large number of books today (not the majority by any means, but he still contributed to the haul!), and also, most of these were bought using store vouchers we had accrued through various trade-ins, so we really got 25 books for only $9 (real money), and that hardly counts as a splurge, right?  RIGHT?!?!

After the jump, an in-depth analysis of our loot!
Davis, Kazantzakis, Yates, Lovecraft, Sellers, Tartt, Pym, & Russo

Davis, Kazantzakis, Yates, Lovecraft, Taylor, Tartt, Pym, & Russo

  • The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf by Kathryn Davis - I read Davis's The Thin Place late last year (pre-blog era), and really enjoyed it, even though it was wacky and weird (wait, do I even need the "even though" in this sentence?  Perhaps "because" would be a better causal indicator).  Her writing sometimes made my brain foggy, but only in a good way, so I always intended to read more of her in the future.  Her books don't show up all that often at the used bookstore, so when I saw this beautiful hardcover copy for just $2, I nabbed it.  What's it about?  Not really sure.  Something about parallel storylines, one being based in New York, one involving a fairytale of the same name as the novel?  I'll let you know when I actually read the thing!
  • Freedom and Death by Nikos Kazantzakis - There were two copies of this book on the shelves: this one and one called Freedom Or Death.  I am not sure why Tony selected this one, or why its title was slightly modified, but in one of those "just one word makes a big difference" kind of ways.  Maybe it should really be called Freedom And/Or Death?
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates - Finally I get a copy of it (after the Reservation Road debacle)!  True, it is the wretched movie tie-in version, but beggers can't be choosers, and at $2, I'll overlook the cover and focus on the fact that the text will be the same as if it had a pretty, artsy cover.  I would never buy a movie tie-in book otherwise (which is why we have not bought a copy of No Country For Old Men yet, as we can't find a non-movie version), but it's a used bookstore; some allowances must be made!
  • The Road to Madness by H.P. Lovecraft - Tony's choice.  I have not read any Lovecraft, and given how FRICKIN' SCARY the cover of this book is (as well as the back cover), I am not sure I ever will.  There are spikes protruding from ghoulish, skeletal eye sockets, people!  I do not exaggerate as to the horror!  Click this link if you don't believe me (I shan't besmirch our blog with the image... Tony will do that when he writes about this collection, no doubt).
  • A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor - It won the Pulitzer, and it takes place in Tennessee (even making mention of Nashville throughout), so this one was an obvious choice for me.  I get a kick out of reading books that are set in places I actually know in real life.  Also: Pulitzer winner, so it's bound to be halfway decent.
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt - I've seen this one several times over at the bookstore, but I've never felt compelled to pick it up.  I kind of always though it was going to be smutty, in large part because of the author's name.  I am ashamed of this, because the back cover actually makes it sound like it's really a dark mystery involving ancient rites set on an upper crust university campus, which is way more my kind of thing.  Also, I saw several reviews of it through the blogosphere that were positive, so there's that too.
  • Excellent Women/Jane & Prudence/An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym - I know I didn't exactly LOVE No Fond Return of Love but given what it was, it was pretty good, and I think if I have appropriate expectations when I next approach Pym, I'll probably like her a good deal.  Excellent Women is arguably her best work (it's certainly her best known), so this collection was worth it just for that alone.  Also, it was $1.50, so each of these novels is only setting me back 50 cents a piece.  I'm really breaking the bank here.
  • Straight Man by Richard Russo - Having recently read and enjoyed Empire Falls, I mentally flagged Russo as an author to buy and read more of.  It came down to this and Bridge of Sighs, and I wound up selecting this one for two reasons.  First, it was talked up quite a bit in the comments by several of you kind readers when we discussed Empire Falls, so I knew this was one I'd like to try (it takes place on a university campus, which is apparently another secret literary vice I have that I just recently realized...).  Second, Bridge of Sighs, is his latest novel and I see it on every trip to McKay's (generally multiple copies), so I figured I'll likely have an easy time getting a copy in the future, should I like.  This one I've never seen before, and was the exact same price as the paperback copies of Bridge of Sighs, even though this one was a hardcover.
Robinson, Brijs, Greene, Ishiguro, Rushdie, Balzac, Orczy, & Mitchell

Robinson, Brijs, Greene, Ishiguro, Rushdie, Balzac, Orczy, & Mitchell

  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson - I admit, I have a copy of Gilead sitting on the shelf that I haven't touched for reasons that I am slightly unclear about.  Robinson is supposed to be such a powerful and skilled writer, but I guess I've been slightly reluctant to try Gilead because it's so slow-moving and light on plot.  Housekeeping actually sounds like it has a tangible story, and an interesting one at that, so I figured it might actually motivate me to finally read some Robinson.
  • The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs - I was drawn to this one for the cover - it looked eerie and spookie, but in a quirky way, and then the back cover was interesting and the first page was well written.  It was an impulse buy, I admit, but I have a hard time resisting books that promise to be thrillers and page-turners, because I figure they have the highest likelihood of completely engrossing me.  It involves a doctor and a set of triplets who are disfigured, and was compared to Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde... I couldn't say no!
  • The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene - Tony's pick, although I would like to read some Greene eventually.  At least I do in theory.  I've heard such good things about him, but then I never think the synopses of his novels sound very interesting, but I figure he's one of those authors I should read.  This one involves a priest on the run in Mexico, which I realize comes across as though that should be totally interesting, and yet, somehow I feel I've made it sound more alluring than the back cover did...
  • The Remains of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro - Tony almost banned me from buying any Ishiguro, because of how I didn't like Never Let Me Go, but then he saw (and recognized) the title of this book before he realized who wrote it, and said that I could get it because it's supposed to be so good.  And then even when I pointed out it was Ishiguro, he couldn't really backtrack on his previous approval, so he used the fact that it was only 50 cents as reason enough to just buy it.  I hope I do like it more than Never Let Me Go!  I think I will.
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie - So, I technically picked this up and put it in the basket, but I was also the one who was leaning towards putting it back, but then Tony stepped in and said he wanted to read it, because he wants to know why it caused so much trouble.  I worry that much of it will go over my head as I don't think I have the religious know-how to get all the references (and therefore, will not see why it is such an incendiary novel), but maybe I'll make Tony read it first and then he can explain it to me...
  • Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac - Tony's choice.  He says he's always wanted to read some Balzac, and that's about all I've got for you on this one...
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy- Tony's choice.  Did I not say that he was totally into the book buying today?  He says this one will be filled with derring do, but I thought that was why he bought Rob Roy during our last trip, and he hasn't gone anywhere near that one since then (not like I'm one to talk!).
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I'm late to the party, but now that everyone else in the reading blog world has finished reading this book for Matt's read-along (or just about), I finally find a copy and will eventually read it.  I heard nothing but good stuff from everyone who read it, so I'm really looking forward to this one.  I haven't seen the movie, so I'll be going into this one with a completely blank slate!
Murasaki, Saramago, Jackson, Saint-Exupéry, James, Banville, Køeg, Foer, & Ledgard

Murasaki, Saramago, Jackson, Saint-Exupéry, James, Banville, Køeg, Foer, & Ledgard

  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu - Tony's choice.  This was his splurge book (a whole $8!!!), but he was very determined to buy it.  He has a thing for Japan, as well as classic literature, so I can see him ultimately appreciating this one a lot.  He even said he might join in Matt's read-along whenever that happens!
  • Baltisar and Blimunda by José Saramago - I love Saramago.  Need I say more?  The summary on the back of this book make it sound like it's completely unlike any of his other books (it sounds way more plot driven and action-y than most of his other stuff), but I'm sure I'll like it.  Set in 18th century Portugal, it involves romance, religion, deceit, and magic... What more could you want in a novel?
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - This is one of those classic horror/thriller/mystery novels that I've wanted to read for a while.  It involves a girl who is practically orphaned when most of her family falls victim to arsenic poisoning.  A cousin returns, which apparently spells imminent disaster, as he has his eye on the family's fortune.  Gasp!  I expect this one to be darkly humorous.
  • The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Collection - This contains The Little Prince as well as a trilogy Saint-Exupéry wrote called Airman's Odyssey.  I admit, we have a copy of The Little Prince in our possession already, but you should see how beautiful this book is, and most notably, how wonderful the paper in it feels!  Not quite glossy, but silky smooth, I just couldn't say no to this one.  It really feels like a book to treasure.
  • Original Sin by P.D. James - By now you all know I'm a huge British mystery fan, and yet despite this, I've never read any P.D. James.  A recent post by Jenny over at Shelf Love convinced me that I should actively seek to rectify this, and also assured me that I need not worry about reading the books in any set order.  There were quite a few books by James at McKay's, but I liked this copy best so that was the basis for my selection.
  • The Sea by John Banville - I was iffy on this one.  I know Banville won the Booker for it, but I've also heard how controversial that win was.  I've also heard he's the kind of writer you need to keep a dictionary in hand while reading... but I figured I'd chance it.  Even though I'm not convinced this is a book I will love, it is one that I'd like to read.
  • Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg - It's a mystery/thriller, and it's written by a Dane, and for some reason I have the personal belief that Scandinavians write really good thriller literature.  I have no basis for this belief, as I've not read any Scandinavian literature.  So I guess this book will either prove me right or wrong on that count.  Also, one should always be trying to stretch one's literary horizons in a global sense, right?
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - Jackpot!  The last time I saw a Foer at McKay's, it was horribly marked up and deemed unpurchasable by yours truly.  I never see his stuff, and so I felt doubly lucky to see a copy of his first novel, i.e., the one I haven't read.  And for only $2!  What's up with that?  I enjoyed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (though not as much as The History of Love), so I'm really excited for this one.
  • Giraffe: A Novel by J.M. Ledgard - Tony's choice.  I would not have gone anywhere near this book, because it is about the slaughtering of a bunch of giraffes in communist-era Czechoslovakia (true story, by the way!), and I really don't want to read about that.  Ever.  Because I will cry, and I will just be too sad.  I wish Tony the best of luck with this one, but I doubt I will read it.  I have a hard time reading about animals, because I inevitably get attached and then take it really hard when something bad happens to them (as always happens in books involving animals.  Old Yeller anyone?  Or Where the Red Ferns Grow?).
So there you have it!  Any thoughts on what you'd tackle first (or have already read and (hopefully) loved)?


  1. 03/28/2009

    I always look forward to you McKay’s posts. I do feel the same way as you. I like to purchase better than borrowing from the library because I also tend to borrow a lot and feel pressured to finish them all successively, which is sometimes not so fun. This year has been the only time I’ve done a little planning with my reading, and only because of the challenges. I haven’t even been that faithful in following my plans either, lol. Always have reading on a whim.

    Anyway, what a great haul! That looks like a beautiful edition of Gone with the Wind you have. I’m kind of positive you’ll like it, Steph. 😀

    Whoops.. hubby’s home. Have to heat up his dinner (and eat with him, too, which is what I do every night, wait up for him). To be continued..

  2. 03/28/2009

    Oooooh! More books! And so many of them I have too on my list of books I want to buy/borrow and read (Everything is Illuminated, The Secret History, Gone with the Wind, Revolutionary road and The Satanic Verses to name a few!) Thinking of Balzac’s Lost Illusions gives me a headache though; a few years back, when I was still studying litterature, I had to analyze it from beginning to end and head to toes. It absolutely killed my fun, if I may say!

    And I absolutely relate to your “crazy book talk”, I do exactly the same. I always chose too many books at the library and put the pressure on myself to read them in time. More often than not, two days later, I’m not even in the mood to read the books I borrowed! It’s really hard for me to close a book and jump right in a new one, unless it’s a series. The Man in the House here is like Tony; he has a very small pile of books on his bed table and read them in order. THIS is something I can’t understand!

  3. 03/28/2009

    I’m back. Okay, Revolutionary Road, I’m also waiting for a non-movie-tie-in cover, lol. Housekeeping, I really want to read, and feel like I’ll like it more than Gilead. The Remains of the Day is great, hope you like it. It’s way better than Never Let Me Go. The Satanic Verses I also just bought from the library for 25cents. The title on the spine is huge, so I’m reluctant to place it on the shelf with the spine facing out because my kids will read it and there’ll be no end to the questions, and it would start with why I read anything with the word satan on it. And aside from my fixation to read all works of fave authors, including Rushdie, my main reason for picking it up is also the same as Tony’s. What exactly is it that made it so controversial?

    The Tale of Genji.. I’m jealous! I’m reading it for fall. May I ask who the translator is? Thanks. And, Steph, why do you keep finding those Saramagos?? There never seems to be any around here. Love The Little Prince. Didn’t like The Sea. And after reading Nicole Krauss, I’m wanting to read Foer now too. 😀

    That’s amazing, Steph.. all for 9 bucks, wow.

  4. 03/29/2009

    25 books for $9–that’s a very nice haul! Makes me miss having a good used bookstore handy. You have lots of books by authors I’ve read, although only a couple of books that I’ve read.

    I liked Remains of the Day, but I liked Never Let Me Go a little better. I adore the movie of Remains, so I just couldn’t get past the differences, even though the novel came first and is arguably more complex and interesting. I just wanted to read the movie I guess. Weird, huh?

    I read Power and the Glory years and years ago, and I remember that I liked it, although I couldn’t tell you more than that. I did just read Heart of the Matter, and it made me cry.

    Everything Is Illuminated is very good but it suffered in comparison to Extremely Loud and Dangerously Close, which I read first and found to be a more tightly constructed book with a more compelling central character, but I gather that my opinion is in the minority.

    And Gone with a Wind is just much better than I thought it would be. I found Scarlett insufferable in the movie and thus have never liked the movie much. In the book she’s equally insufferable, but I got the dinstinct impression that Mitchell knew it, which made the book good fun.

    There are several books here that are on my own list (Housekeeping, Revolutionary Road, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and anything by Saramago), so I’ll be curious to see what you think of them.

  5. 03/29/2009

    Oh, what an amazing haul! You struck gold! The Secret History, Straight Man, and Housekeeping are three of my very favorite books. Straight Man is funny in a dry way. Oh, I hope you love them all, but even if you don’t I will love to hear your thoughts. Smilla’s Sense of Snow is also quite good. I am adding some of these titles to my TBR list. I am especially intrigued by the Shirley Jackson–it seems to be cropping up everywhere lately.

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I love looking at pictures of other people’s hauls. Maybe I should seek therapy!

  6. 03/29/2009

    @ Claire: I’m glad I’m not alone in terms of justifying buying books over borrowing! 😉 I do think I’ll like Gone With The Wind – I read several things suggesting it was kind of like a Civil War era Pride & Prejudice; what’s not to love there? At $6, it was a bit of a splurge (I would have been happy to just pick up a crummy pulp paperback copy), but I figured the niceness of the edition justified the relatively high price. Our copy of The Satanic Verses has a hugely ugly cover, but Rushdie books are fairly rare at the used bookstore. More important to me than the cover is really what the text is like inside – I hate when books have a bleary/smudged text that is too thick or too small. This one had readily legible text in it, which maybe makes up for the ugly cover. Our Tale of Genji is an Everyman’s Library edition, translated by Seidensticker; I hope it’s a good one! Sad to hear you didn’t like The Sea; I’m not sure it will be to my tastes, but it was only $4.50, and I thought that was a price worth giving it a shot.
    @kittykay: I don’t think anyone here will be trying to analyze the Balzac! We’re all about reading for fun (as well as edification, but certainly not sacrificing one for the other) in our household! And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who is fickle when it comes to library acquisitions! At the time, I get overwhelmed by all the choices, and given that they’re free, what’s the harm in borrowing 5 books or so? And then I don’t know where to start, and when I finally do read one, I’m not so sure about the others. The last thing I ever want is for my reading to feel like a burden! Scheduling it through lists is really counterintuitive for me.
    @Teresa: It was only $9 because of vouchers! Otherwise it would have been quite the hit. But I will say that it was upon discovering this used bookstore that Nashville living became more bearable for me! 😉 I haven’t seen the movie of Remains of the Day, so I’ll have nothing to compare it to. I always face this dilemma of whether to read the book or watch the movie first – I find that reading the book first causes me to be overly critical of the movie, but watching the movie first can remove some of the surprise that comes from reading a novel, but doesn’t necessarily ruin the book for me. Recently we watched the HBO adaptation of Empire Falls, which was very good, but paled in comparison to the actual book. re: Foer, I’ve often heard that people tend to prefer whichever of his books they read first. Like you, I’ve already read EL&IC, so I think I’ll definitely take some time before I approach Everything is Illuminated, because I’d like to up my chances of approaching it fresh. Tony will be glad to hear that you enjoyed Heart of the Matter; I probably will give it a shot!
    @ Priscilla: I love seeing what people snag on bookstore trips as well! Glad to hear that I picked up some of your favorites, and now I’m doubly looking forward to those titles. I remember you pulling for Straight Man in the Empire Falls comments, and that certainly influenced my decision to pick this one up yesterday. And yes, the Shirley Jackson does seem to be quite popular of late – I have high hopes for it!

  7. 03/29/2009

    I can’t wait for all of your reviews!

  8. 03/29/2009

    Steph, you might possibly like The Sea. It’s good writing and I could see that. I was just bored by it, or, more likely, in the wrong mood. Does that happen to you, too? When you know you might’ve liked something if you were in the proper mood?

  9. 03/29/2009

    PS. I’ll take note of the Genji translator. That’s probably a good one, being a Modern Library.

  10. 03/30/2009

    Wow – that is an impressive book acquisition. So many wonderful, wonderful books. I’m drooling just looking at the photos.

  11. 03/30/2009

    And just a quick note – I like the Seidensticker translation of Genji quite a lot, so I’ll be interested to see what you think.
    I also really liked The Sea (a bit less than Eclipse, but I think its because i read Eclipse first – had I read The SEa first I suspect i would have liked it better) basically, if this is your first Banville, I think that’s all that matters.

  12. 03/30/2009

    It’s always good to see someone else who buys as many books as I do. I also have to pick what I read one book at a time, if I make a list I lose all interest in the books on it.

    The Secret History is a dark literary thriller which blew me away when I first read it, and has impressed me on re-reading so I’d start with that. I’m also a fan of P.D James and her updated British cozies, so hope you enjoy Original Sin.

    When I first read Gone with the wind I found it a compulsively readable historical saga. On re-reading it though whilst I still love Scarlett, Rhett and co I do find its view of Civil War and Reconstruction history disturbingly one-sided.

    Re Graham Greene, maybe you should start with one of his “entertainments” i.e novels he wrote for fun more than anything else e.g Our Man in Havana.

  13. 03/30/2009

    @ Chavonne: But where have all of your reviews been! 😉
    @ Claire: I completely understand what you mean about reading experiences being hugely affected by mood! That’s why I don’t like to pre-plan my reading. I figure that if I just go with my gut, I’m giving each book the greatest chance of pleasing me! There are a bunch of books that I think I liked less than I would have if I had had the appropriate expectations (by which I mean, sometimes I am in the mood for a serious book, and a book winds up being zany and trite, and I get annoyed. Or sometimes you don’t want a book to make you depressed, and consequently, more serious/sad fare might seem melodramatic, or you just might not be as receptive to those types of stories/ideas).
    We didn’t even consider the translator when picking up Genji… I always forget to take into account how much this can influence one’s reading experience!
    @ Verbivore: I’m glad you enjoyed the Seidensticker translation! After the fact I read some reviews suggesting it was a bit lifeless, but the snippets I read seemed engaging enough! And I haven’t read any Banville previously, so I’ll have nothing to compare The Sea to. I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it goes!
    @ Sarah: Maybe the extent to which people buy ridiculous numbers of books correlates with scheduling reading (on an inverse scale)? In the sense that people who don’t like to plan out their reading may be more predisposed to buying a ton of books in one go so that the chances are always high that they’ll find something they want to read? Also, glad to hear that yet another person has enjoyed The Secret History! I might have to bump that one up my reading queue… I’m not really a history buff, so I have no idea how I’ll respond to the War stuff in GWWTW. I fully admit I’m more interested in the Scarlett/Rhett storyline! 😉

  14. 03/30/2009

    @ Steph et al, regarding @ Sarah: I think this is true, as evidenced by our own trips to the bookstore. Steph always, always picks out two or three times more titles than I do, and I think this really is influenced in large part by how we deal with our reading lists. I tend to approach my mental reading “list” in a much more methodical manner than Steph. When I’m done with a book I simply look for the next closest book to check off of my mental TBR list, and I generally give very little thought to its relation to my current state of mind, for whatever reason. Perhaps the difference lies in why we read books the books we do. I think a lot of people read to affect their mood (or in response to their mood), while I generally read to escape it. Not to say that the former group doesn’t also find escape in reading, but perhaps, more simply, the type of escape is more dependent on what is going on in “real life,” while I tend to view these things independently. This is almost certainly an oversimplification, but I really do think there is merit in what Steph said about book purchases, and I think we are a prime example of that dichotomy. It all comes back to Giraffe, I think. Steph says she won’t touch it because it would be too sad, while I am kind of looking forward to that, actually (I guess that sounds kind of messed up). I am a huge fan of anything that can make me feel real emotion, whatever that may be, and I think this is what fosters my strongest opinions about art and media — this love of catharsis. If art can make me feel something, awe, beauty, sadness, joy, disgust, &c then it is almost certainly a success on some level in my mind. Now, of course this is heavily qualified by the content (read: Twilight + feeling disgust), but is a good rubric for the things I love. Okay, I’m cutting myself off. I think this is a good seed for a post involving a more in-depth discussion of this topic, so look out internets…

  15. 03/30/2009

    Oh what fun! I love the piles of books. there are so many books in your pile that are on my TBR, I don’t know what to tell you to read first. How long will it take you and Tony to read all of those?! Do you require yourselves to finish them before you go back to the store again?

    I didn’t know The Tale of Genji was that huge! I was going to read Gone with the Wind too, but it never happened. I’ll “read along” with myself in a few months, I guess.

    I don’t think I’ve ever bought more than five books in one day. I’d love to go on a book-buying spree. But I try not to buy books unless I’ve already read them and loved them. Then I KNOW I want them around forever.

  16. 03/30/2009

    @Rebecca: We don’t have the rule that we have to read all of them before we can go back to the store! I wish we had such self-restraint, but we certainly don’t. What I’ve been trying to do, however, is require that I have at least a few books to trade in when we go, so that some of those can go towards our “new” purchases. It’s the one thing that can slightly curb my book acquiring habits! I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, so generally speaking 25 books should last me about 6 months or so… You’ll note that it’s only been about 2 months since my last trip, when I bought about 15 books! I admire your “don’t buy until you’ve bought it” strategy; I tried that one about 6 months ago only to utterly cave and just buy whatever struck my fancy. I know your strategy makes the most sense, but we do have a great bookstore where the average book price is only $1.50 or so, which takes most of the sting out of book buying!

  17. 03/31/2009

    I’ve got Nikos Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ sitting (forever) on the book-case. Years ago I was on a binge of fictional jesus. But after I read The History According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago, I was a bit overwhelmed and there goes my whim for Jesus!

    I am very confused about The Secret History, The History of Love, and The Historian. (grin) I heard The History of Love is supposed to be a great read with a literary twist. Feedback on The Secret History is split in the middle. I’ll keep my eye on your thoughts.

    I like The Remains of the Day better than never Let Me Go. It wasn’t poorly written but the premise of the story just wasn’t very appealing to me.

  18. 03/31/2009

    @ Matt: I have to say, “Jesus” is a pretty interesting reading theme to choose! 😉 I’ve read both The History of Love and The Historian (though both before Tony & I started this blog); History of Love is a wonderful novel, and very literary. The Historian starts of strong and revolves around the Dracula legend, but it had too much, um, history for my taste, and the middle portion REALLY dragged. I think I’ll like The Secret History, but there’s only one sure way to find out! I recall that you really enjoyed The Remains of the Day, in particular that you liked the writing. Neither the prose nor the plotting particularly blew me away in Never Let Me Go. The whole thing just left me cold and wondering “is that it?!?”

  19. 04/02/2009

    Wow! Some great stuff in that pile. Out of the ones you chose I have read a few of them. Revolutionary Road was a great book, although it really made me squirm. I had mixed feelings about The Secret History, but I mostly liked it. I tried really, really hard to get into The Satanic Verses and attempted it at least 3 times, but the cultural and religious references made almost no sense to me and I had to put it away. I thought it was really confusing most of the time. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on all these.

    P.S.- I feel the same way about the library as you do.

  20. 04/04/2009

    @ Zibilee: Yes, I think Tony will be the one to tackle The Satanic Verses, because I expect I would have a similar reaction as you did. I have only heard good things about Revolutionary Road, especially with respect to the writing, so I am really looking forward to it. The Secret History I am expecting to be more of a fun read, but I don’t have any real expectations with respect to the writing or even the story! I can’t wait to get to all of these!

  21. 08/08/2011

    I’ve stumbled upon this blog and I love everything! I’m particularly thrilled when I see your book loot because I’m a bit addicted to shopping for books too each time I see a bookstore (which explains my ever-growing ToBeRead stack).
    I was wondering if you’d be interested in joining our themed, day-based book club? (

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

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