I have seen the future, my friends, and apparently my life ends with me being crushed by the piles of books that have taken over my apartment. What a way to go, eh?
Seriously though, I think my reading slump may be nearing its end. I mean, I can’t go and buy 21 books over the course of two days and claim that books and I aren’t on speaking terms, can I? I mean, that would just be silly. These two piles of books are from two separate hauls… on Friday, I took a personal day because the weather was so nice… which doesn’t exactly justify how I wound up spending two hours INDOORS at McKay’s, but just roll with it. The books in the right column are the ones that I picked up there. Then on Saturday, Tony and I took a little roadtrip up to Louisville, Kentucky which just happens to have several Half Price Bookstores! After hearing so much great stuff from so many bloggers who live in HPB cities, I knew we had to visit one. And that is how the second stack of books (the one on the left) happened.
So what exactly did I pick up? I’m so glad you asked!
First up, the McKay’s loot!
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami – I picked this up because it was the first Murakami I ever heard of and I thought it sounded super weird, and also because having now finally read a Murakami novel, I want to own all of his stuff!
- A Good And Happy Child by Justin Evans – I read about this one over at Lu’s site and she made it sound deliciously creepy. Which is perhaps my favorite genre of book… if “deliciously creepy” were a genre. Plus, I have a penchant for novels featuring scary kids, so you know I couldn’t pass this one up.
- The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry – This is one that I’ve been wanting to read for a few years but could never find a reasonably priced copy. This was only $2 so I knew my time to read it had finally come. It’s a mystery involving a mental patient, and I don’t even want to know any more until I start reading, but that was definitely enough to pique my interest.
- England, England by Julian Barnes – Even though I didn’t wind up writing about it, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes was one of the best books I read last year. He’s now on that list of authors who I want to collect and read everything they’ve ever written. Also, I love England, so a book all about it (even if it is a satire) is exactly my cup of tea.
- Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart – Speaking of authors I’m collecting, Gary Shteyngart appears to be one of them. I now own every book he’s ever written… and have read exactly zero of them. Why has this happened? I really couldn’t tell you. This is probably the one book by him that I’ve most wanted to read, but again, the cost always prevented that from happening. Until Friday.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I have a love-hate relationship with Margaret Atwood (I love to hate her?), but even though not all of her books work for me, this is the first book I read by her that I actually did like. I am also a complete sucker for Everyman’s copies, so this had to come home with me.
- Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen – Tony and I watched the film version of this memoir a while back and I really connected with it. I have always been interested in mental illness and have recently become increasingly interested in the way mental illness is perceived in women in general and young women in particular. I think this will be really fascinating!
- Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller – Just joking! This slipped into the pile but is not actually a recent purchase…
- Arabella by Georgette Heyer – I am so excited that I will finally get to try one of Heyer’s regency romances! I have one of her mysteries, but I’ve heard so much about her lady love stories (as Tony calls them) that I’ve really been waiting to find one of them at McKay’s. Score!
- The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier – this is another book that I’ve been wanting to read for several years. I’ve watched the price slowly creep down from $7.50 to $4.50, and that’s when I finally nabbed it. It’s kind of dystopian sci-fi, I believe, and looks at the issue of memory, which is another one of my literary triggers.
- Family Album by Penelope Lively – I love Penelope Lively! Moon Tiger was one of my favorite books last year, and I think Lively is such a challenging and interesting author. This is her most recent novel and I’m happy to add it to my connection. Who doesn’t love a novel featuring a dysfunctional family that is full of secrets?
- Mary & O’Neil by Justin Cronin – Most people probably recognize this author from his big blockbuster hit The Passage that came out last year, but I am not really all that interested in reading that one. It did allow me to realize that Cronin had written other things that might be more my speed, so I was intrigued when I saw this at McKay’s. Apparently it calls itself a “a novel in stories” and while short stories aren’t really my thing, I think interconnected ones tend to work better for me as they don’t leave me with that unfinished lingering feeling. The writing was really good, so I’m willing to give Cronin’s debut novel a shot.
- City of Thieves by David Benioff – Another book that I recall reading about over on Lu’s site, but which I know tons of people have read and reviewed. And most importantly, enjoyed! I normally am not interested in books that mention WWII on their back covers, so the fact that I picked this up means a lot!
Moving on to the HPB pile!
A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes – the aforementioned much-loved book that I read last year. Tony picked this one up because he loves a hardcover… best of all, it turns out that this is actually a 1st edition! Cooool.
- The History of Danish Dreams by Peter Høeg – I had never heard of this book but the spine popped out at me at HPB. When I started reading the inside flap of the dustcover, it sounded kind of like a fairy tale and also a lot like magical realism, one of my favorites. Apparently if magical realism can exist outside of South America (ha!) then this is what you would get were it to move to Denmark. I’m in!
- The Effect of Living Life Backwards – Another random pick. I always like to have a few left field choices, because you never know when some random book you’ve never heard up winds up being the best book you’ve ever read. I don’t know much more about this book than what the title suggests and that it is billed as a “cerebral thriller” and was lauded by people like David Eggars and Aimee Bender.
- Shame and The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie – another author whom I am all completist about. Also, claire at Kiss a Cloud was incredibly convincing in her suggestion that Enchantress is amazing, so I had to have it.
- The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry – Another book I’ve wanted to read for ages. Love detecting, love manuals, it’s win-win-win!
- Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee – Coetzee’s books are so hard to find used… probably because he is a genius and so people don’t think to get rid of his books, but when they do, I profit from it! Don’t even know what this one’s about. Don’t even care. I know I will love it.
- Brighton Rock & Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene – Just adding to the collection with these ones. Brighton Rock is some kind of thriller and while I though Travels was maybe going to be some kind of memoir, I was delighted to find that it is actually a piece of comedic fiction (Greene’s only one). These were both those lovely Penguin Special Editions that I love so my other Greene novels will cower in shame before them.
So there you have it – 21 books in 48 hours and not a proper book review in weeks. My life is a tornado of contradictions! Do any of these appeal to you?