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25th August
written by Steph

What a surprise... more books!

Ok, it’s been over a month since our last book buying expedition (our last trip was on the 4th of July weekend), which I think is some kind of progress!  I aim to visit the bookstore no more than once a month, because any more frequently than that would feel pretty decadent.  Also, there’s no way I can read fast enough to keep up with bi- or tri-weekly trips (not that that would stop me).  This time I managed to accrue 10 books in our stack to sell back before venturing to McKay’s.  I figured if I can commit to ensuring that I trade in at least 10 every time we visit then that will be a good way to curtail frivolous and unnecessary spending.  We didn’t get very much money for our trade-ins (just under $1 per book…), but as they say, every little bit helps, since we were able to walk away with 9 books for just $14.  And maybe the math might seem a little strange to you, but it was actually nice to see we were coming away with fewer books than we entered with as it means one less book to store at our apartment! Now, onto the loot!
  • Flaubert, Milington, Zafón

    Flaubert, Milington, Zafón

    Madame Bovary
    by Gustave Flaubert – I’ve been reading quite a lot about this book here and there over the past few months throughout the book blogging world, so I was anxious to give this a try.  Also, I’ve always wanted to read Flaubert, but have never had the opportunity.  Now I do!  This version is translated by Francis Steegmuller, which I hope was a good choice.  Normally I forget to check the translator for foreign works before I purchase, but this time I actually thought to do so… I just hope I made the right choice.
  • Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About by Mil Millington – I don’t know what to tell you on this one.  Tony picked this saying something about how he thought the website this was based on was funny.  I remember thinking that it was funny that he said that this wasn’t really about a man’s girlfriend, and that she was really his wife, only they were European so “girlfriend” was their equivalent to North American spouses.  Last I checked, Europeans can (and do!) still get married… 😉
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – With the recent release of his latest book, Zafón has been a pretty hot author.  I’ve been wanting to get in on the action with this one for a while, but I was put off initially by a friend who read and hated this with a fiery passion.  But I figure that if so many book bloggers have read and loved this book, then I want to be able to form my own opinion and see what all the fuss is about!  Also, it was only 25¢!
  • Gardner, Harris, McLarty

    Gardner, Harris, McLarty

    by John Gardner – This was another bargain book, that came in at 75¢.  I picked it up as I’ve heard of it, but I didn’t really intend to buy it as I’ve never read Beowulf (which features the monster, Grendel).  But then Tony decided he wants to read it, and I wasn’t going to argue over 75¢!
  • Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris – I read and loved Gentlemen & Players (my first Harris) earlier this year, and have been wanting to read more by her.  This was on the bargain shelf and was priced less than $1, so I decided that was a good enough reason to make this my next Harris!
  • The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty – I’ve seen this one a few times on previous visits to the bookstore, though never on the bargain shelf, and I’ve picked it up every time.   The blurb by Stephen King compares it to Catcher in the Rye, Catch 22, and Huckleberry Finn – all books that I have read and loved.  It gave me a strong A Confederacy of Dunces vibe, another book I love, so I decided I should give this one a chance.
  • Grandbois, Maugham, Rushdie

    Grandbois, Maugham, Rushdie

    The Gravedigger
    by Peter Grandbois – I saw this on my last trip to McKay’s and really wanted to buy it because the writing seemed so good (and a blurb compared Grandbois to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Luis Alberto Urrea)… but I held off, and then forgot the name of it and the author.  When I stumbled across it this time and recognized it, I knew I needed to get it.
  • The Razor’s Edge by W Somerset Maugham – Always wanted to read Maugham, never have, this was unusually cheap for his books, decision made!
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages, but copies of it are scarce and/or really expensive at McKay’s.  This wasn’t exactly cheap ($6), but it was in pristine condition and I decided to go for it.  Also, I am expecting this to be a challenging read, but I snuck a peak and read the first page and I am in love with the writing – it makes my pulse quicken.  I’m really looking forward to this one!
So there you have it!  Not our largest haul, but so many great choices, right?  Have you read any of these?  Where would you start?


  1. 08/25/2009

    I’ve just started Midnight’s Children and am really enjoying it. Although it’s a book to be savored slowly, it has a twisty, tangent-filled narrative but the voice is really strong. I am kicking myself that I’ve never read Rushdie before. I^ll be curious to see what you think!

  2. 08/25/2009

    I’ve read the Ron McLarty book and being that Dunces is one of my all-time fave books I have to say that it is nowhere near that level of great writing. However, it was a good read. Can’t wait to read what you thought about it. As for Mil Millington, a friend of mine gave me one of his books for my bday and it is still sitting on the shelf. I had never heard of him, but maybe I will google and find out more about him.

    Great selection and Happy reading!!

  3. Eva

    What a fun post!

    And yay for Rushdie!!! He’s one of my very favourite authors, and I loved Midnight’s Children. 😀

  4. 08/25/2009

    Definitely a very interesting stack of books you bought there. Can’t wait to see reviews on your reads.

    I read Grendel a couple years ago and really enjoyed it.

  5. 08/25/2009

    Out of your most recent haul I have: Madame Bovary, Shadow of the Wind, Five Quarters of the Orange, Midnights Children, and The Memory of Running. I think you will really enjoy Midnight’s Children, it’s very chewy and dense, but a great read. Happy reading to you!

  6. 08/25/2009

    Trip[s to the bookstores have incorporated into my routine because bookstores are all within walking distance in San Francisco. But I usually buy a couple of books per visit. My reading and purchasing have been quite separate because I would stock up on books for which I have to plan or schedule to read. Funny you mention Shadow of the Wind, which has become once again a hit as Zafon released his new book, The Angel’s Game. People who are not in the know actually thought Shadow of the Wind is a new release! As to Rushdie, I would stay away from him for now after The Satanic Verses! 🙂

  7. 08/25/2009

    @ verbivore: I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying Midnight’s Children! I think you’re right that it is a slow read – I am going to wait until I’ve finished 2666 to start it, because I think I will want it to be the only book on my radar when I do read it so I can give it my full attention.
    @ Nadia: Thanks for commenting! I will keep what you’ve said about Running in mind when I do read it. I didn’t expect it to meet the same standards as those other great books (they are tough acts to follow), but if it comes close, then I think I’ll be happy!
    @ Eva: Glad to hear you enjoyed Midnight’s Children! I have high hopes!
    @ Jennifer: I haven’t heard much about Grendel, so I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think Tony will probably tackle that one, but we’ll be sure to post about it (whichever one of us reads it) when we get to it.
    @ zibilee: Since you own so many of these, I feel like we made wise choices. Great minds think alike, after all!
    @ Matt: You’re right – many people have thought Shadow of the Wind is Zafon’s latest. I haven’t read either of his books, so this will be my first venture into his world. Since it’s so bookish in nature, I’m really looking forward to it!

  8. 08/26/2009

    Steph, I have the exact same copy of Midnight’s Children. It’s the last Rushdie I’ve read, and loved it. Your 6 bucks are well worth it. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him so far, except Fury, which was, though still written brilliantly, so very pretentious! Anyway, I agree, his writing is wonderful.

    Also Maugham’s! Have you read the first lines of The Razor’s Edge yet? It’s one of the best opening lines ever. I’ll be reading it, soon, too. Well, soon enough anyway (probably early next year), ha ha.

    I’m curious about Zafon too. I’ll wait for your thoughts before I purchase.

  9. 08/26/2009

    @ claire: I am so certain I will love Midnight’s Children, but I am even happier to hear you have read and loved it! Haven’t checked out The Razor’s Edge yet, but now you have me curious… Ok, I just peeked and you’re right! That IS a good first line! And I’m happy to bite the Zafon bullet before you venture in – for less than $1, it’s one a risk I can afford to take!

  10. 08/26/2009

    Regarding Mil Millington: Actually, I said she was tantamount to a wife — they aren’t actually married but have children and a house together and are committed long term to each other. I know Europeans can get married, I just have always thought it’s funny that “girlfriend” is the term used for something that would seem to be so much more, at least according to our US connotation of the word. Much the same thing I said about us before we got engaged: you were certainly more to me than “just” my girlfriend, yet legally not 🙂 Significant Other just sounds too sterile.

  11. 08/26/2009

    What a great lot of books! Enjoy your reading.

  12. taryn

    LIAR!! We totally went to the used bookstore together when i was in town! And i believe you even bought some books, albeit only a couple, they were possibly for Tony.

    On the positive side, our foray to McKay’s showed that you ARE capable of visiting the bookstore without buying up Emmy’s weight in books.

    On the negative side, you seem to not have “counted” this visit as you did not buy up Emmy’s weight in books.

    Oh my.

    PS: buy a proper desk already!!

  13. 08/27/2009

    @ Rebecca: I’m sure I will!
    @ Taryn: Oh whatever… you’re right that I didn’t count our trip to McKay’s… I guess because I didn’t buy Emmy’s weight in books (which we didn’t come close to this time either!), and you’re right the book I bought was a gift for Tony! It was altruistic book buying!
    And you’ve seen our apartment… Where exactly would you put a desk?

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