By now, many fellow bloggers have posted about the spoils of trips to Borders locations that are closing in the face of the corporation’s recent declaration of Bankruptcy. In the Nashville area there are three Borders locations and all but one are closing their doors. The first location that is slated to close does so at the end of this week, so Tony and I decided to go check it out one last time to see if there was anything left worth bringing home. With literature prices slashed to 70% off, I didn’t expect to really find anything, but as you can see from the above picture, clearly I did. Turns out that my reading tastes are perhaps not quite as mainstream as the general public’s. Their loss is my gain, and all that, but I feel like one thing that has been missing from many of the posts I’ve read about these store closings is how unbelievably depressing the atmosphere is. The closing of any bookstore makes me sad in principle, but to actually witness a repository of books being dismantled, the shelves bare, books carelessly shelved any which where… depressing is the only word. Thankfully I was able to bring some lovelies home with me so they can escape the indignity of the pulp pile, but my visit to Borders did reiterate to me just how little most people value and treasure books. Sad.
But enough maudlin musings. Let’s revel in the good stuff after the jump!
- Teetering at the top of the pile is a Fodor’s guidebook to India. Normally I find travel guides too expensive to purchase (especially given how quickly they go out of date), but this one was a good enough deal that we figured it will serve us well for planning a trip to India. No, we don’t have a specific date fixed, but it’s somewhere on the horizon and we definitely intend to make our way there one day.
The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno – Despite not having huge success with Meno’s most recent novel, The Great Perhaps, I have always been curious about this earlier novel of his. When I was perusing reviews of TGP many people who mentioned being somewhat underwhelmed by it talked about how it didn’t hold a candle to this one, so I’m hoping I’ll have better luck with this. A quick flip through suggests it’s written in a somewhat experimental style, using lists, etc., in the telling of the story, so that’s already looking promising!
- The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist – This is a book that I saw discussed quite a lot on several trusted book blogs last year. I was worried that the premise might be too similar to Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a book I really did not like, but Jill over at Rhapsody in Books assured me that they were sufficiently different that reading this one would be worthwhile and might actually bother me less. We shall see!
- Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden – This was actually recommended to me via Your Next Read, so I suppose we’ll see how accurate it is at suggesting books I like. This was a finalist for the Orange Prize in 1997, and is billed as a very slow, contemplative novel that spans just one day. I’ve been in the mood for quieter, more reflective novels, so I was really excited to see this one.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey – This is a book that I’ve read before but don’t have a copy of it. I love books that delve into the notion of sanity and mental illness, so it should come as no surprise that I like this book a lot. Very happy to add it to the home library.
- The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell – Another previous read, this was actually the first O’Farrell I read and I loved it. I only had an ARC and gave it to a friend, so I’ve been looking to replace the gap in my shelves for a while now.
- Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas – See above. Read an ARC of this on my ereader last year, and have since decided I liked it enough that I wanted a physical copy. Lucky me, they had the hardcover in stock, which is seriously one of the prettiest and most striking books I’ve ever seen. I’m now on a mission to collect all of Scarlett Thomas’s books… don’t you love when you discover a new author to love?
- Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco – This won the Man Asian literary prize and I’ve also never read anything by a Filipino author, which almost seems like reason enough to pick this up. Throw in raves from Chasing Bawa and Sasha & the Silverfish and I was sold. Exciting! My shelves become increasingly diverse…
- The Lonely Polygamist by Bradley Udall – When this book first came out, I dismissed it as being too similar to The 19th Wife and/or the television show Big Love to warrant my time. Then I started to read things about its humor and wonderful story, and I began to reconsider. When Zibilee at Raging Biblomania talked about how much she liked it and how engrossing she found this monster, I changed my stance and decided I had to read it. And now I can!
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene – Greene is an author that Tony and I have been slowly collecting because he is all kinds of awesome. Don’t really know what this one is about, but it hardly matters—I’ll read it anyway.
- Oracle Night by Paul Auster- Ditto Paul Auster. I’ve not really heard very much about this book except from Amanda over at The Zen Leaf who hated it, which isn’t exactly a reason to buy it, but I am a completist and I figured I might as well buy it and read it and if I hate it, then I can easily get rid of it.
- Death With Interruptions by José Saramago – And same goes for Saramago. I love him but his books are always SO expensive at McKay’s. For $4.50 I got his penultimate novel new… and I’ve been wanting to read this one ever since it was released.
- Slow Man, Summertime, and Diary of a Bad Year by J.M. Coetzee – I also love me some Coetzee even though (or perhaps because?) he is 10,000 times smarter than I am. Like Saramago, his books cost a pretty penny (or 800) at McKay’s, so with these at half that price, stocking up was a no brainer.
- The Art of Losing by Rebecca Connell – Here starts the part of the pile where I went crazy and picked up as many Europa Editions as I could find. Don’t really know much about this one except that involves a young woman who sets out to find the man she believes is responsible for her mother’s death. It sounds like the book is perhaps quite dark and très tragique so I’m excited.
- A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé – A book about books! How could I resist? Especially after reading the great reviews over at A Common Reader and Nonsuch Book. Clearly I could not! It’s also a mystery to boot (even if that’s not the strongest part of the novel). Sold!
- In A Strange Room by Damon Galgut – Read quite a bit about this one when it was up for the Booker Prize last year and I know it’s supposed to be quite experimental and perhaps somewhat Coetzee-esque. I figured that at $4.25, I could risk giving it a shot.
- Chalcot Crescent by Fay Weldon – This one I picked up on a whim having never heard of it before. But the premise was intriguing: Weldon’s mother suffered a miscarriage not long after Weldon herself was born and lost a daughter in the process. Weldon wrote this novel in which she envisions what her sister and her life might have been like had she lived.
- God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam – Another author suggested to me via Your Next Read. Apparently she is very funny and in this book she does some skewering of religion, so it seems as good a place to start as any. I am hoping I love her!
So that’s what I rescued from just one of the closing Borders… I hate to think of what I might find at the one that is within walking distance from my home. But more than that, I hate to think of the gaping wound Borders will leave when it is empty and the lights dimmed. I will pass it every day, and will probably feel a little bit sadder each time I think of all the books that were once in there, waiting for people to share their stories with, only to find that not enough people wanted them.