So, Nashville is now a one Borders town. We used to have three, but two have now officially closed for good, which greatly saddens me since the closest non-used bookstore to me is now a BooksAMillion, which I hate because they have a religious bent that makes me uncomfortable, plus they’re 5 miles away (and I used to be able to walk to one of the RIP Borders in just 10 minutes!). Other than that, you have to drive all the way out to West Nashville in order to go to a Barnes & Noble or out to Brentwood if you want to see the last remaining Borders. When I happened into Borders on the final day of their closing sale, a mother and her daughter wandered in and started asking where they could find a fully functional bookstore and it was so depressing because there no longer are any in the vicinity. Within the past year, Nashville has seen three bookstores close and that makes me REALLY sad.
Anyway, it was a total fluke that I happened to walk to Borders on what was their very last day in operation, meaning all of their merchandise was 80% off. Things were largely picked over, but I did manage to find several books to rescue from the pulp pile. Normally I find that my reading tastes don’t match those of the most bookstore patrons, but this time I did enter into something of a competition with another shopper, as we kept reaching for the same books. I admit, I got rather cutthroat and managed to walk away with the following books:
A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein – I remember when this book came out last year and made a rather large splash, especially with the BookPage editorial staff. I am always looking for good thrillers, so I decided to succumb to the hype and see what this one is all about!
Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum – This is a book that I read about when The Morning News had their Biblioracle in to offer readers with new recommendations. Although I didn’t submit my own reading list for consideration, I did peruse many of the suggestions and this book caught my attention. It’s supposed to be a bit like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as it involves a 7th Grade English teacher and her pupils, so I have high hopes. Also, I just really love when you discover a book online only to stumble across it in real life!
New World Monkeys by Nancy Mauro – Total random purchase. The back cover sounded intriguing (“prickly marriage”; “road trip with unexpected consequences”; “PhD dissertation that won’t get off the ground”) and it had a blurb from BookPage on the front cover that compared it to Zadie Smith, so I thought I would throw caution to the wind and give it a go.
Affinity by Sarah Waters – After reading Tipping the Velvet last year, I’ve been wanting to read some more Waters and this is what Borders had on offer. I do know this is supposed to be one of Waters’s spookier reads, and I remember reading a pretty compelling review of this one over at Fizzy Thoughts. Also, Waters’s books tend to be at least $6 at McKay’s, so getting this one for something like $2 seemed like a good deal.
The House on Fortune Street by Margaret Livesey – This is a book that when I saw it, I was sure I had read about it before somewhere, but could not recall anything about it. I’ve really been into “domestic fiction” of late, however, so a novel that explores a lifelong friendship between to women and how it is affected when they move in together seemed like something right in my wheelhouse. Has anyone read this book or did I have some kind of stroke that makes it seem familiar even though it isn’t?
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea – I haven’t read anything by Urrea, but I know that he has his fans and that this book in particular made a big impression on book bloggers. In particular, I recall Lu at Regular Rumination gushing about this one (yet I can’t find any record of this save for her GoodReads notes which say “I LOVE THIS NOVEL!”), as did Eva at A Striped Armchair. If these two global readers gave it the thumbs up, what more did I need? Also, y’all know I love fiction set in Latin America (save for the dreaded 2666…).
Cooking with Fernet Bianca by James Hamilton-Paterson – Continuing my Borders looting trend of picking up Europa Editions for dirt cheap, I snatched up a copy of Cooking With Fernet Bianca because I looooove to cook and really don’t read enough books that feature the culinary arts. At first I wasn’t sure if this was actually fiction, but it is, and is apparently super funny to boot! I can’t wait!
A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth – Picked this up because it was a Europa but then I saw that it featured a potentially insane “protagonist” doing creepy things and knew it was a good choice regardless of the publisher. I hadn’t heard anything about it at the time, but after buying it, I read a glowing review of it by Thomas over at My Porch so I felt even better about this purchase.
Every Day is Mother’s Day & Vacant Possession by Hilary Mantel – Let’s be honest: the chances of me ever reading Wolf Hall are essentially non-existent (the subject matter just really doesn’t appeal at all, even if it does have the Booker committee’s ringing endorsement), but I woudl like to give Mantel a shot. So I decided to try some of her earlier works which are not historical novels but instead literary thrillers of a sort, which sound far more appealing. I didn’t realize that VP is a sequel to EDiMD until I had brought them both home, but that seems like a lucky shake.
How To Paint A Dead Man by Sarah Hall – Another book that got tons of love by book bloggers when it was released, though I admit I didn’t pay much attention to the reviews. Well, except to register that Claire over at Kiss A Cloud was moved by it, which is good enough for me. I am sure you read it and loved it too… remind me if that is indeed the case.
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Phillip Pullman – We are Pullman fans in this household, and we also like books that present alternate accounts of religious tales. I primarily bought this one for Tony because I think he’ll get a kick out of it, seeing how he enjoyed the Golden Compass trilogy so much.
Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman – You will recall that I read this book last year and found that it stuck to me more than I expected. One of those books that I kept thinking about long after I was technically done with it. So naturally, I was excited to get a fancy schmancy hardcover version of it so that I can read it again and have my heart torn to tiny bits once more.
So there you have it, the last additions to my library that a Nashville based Borders will make. Have you looted any bookstores of late? What would you tackle first in this pile?