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7th January
2009
written by Steph
The first step is admitting I have a problem, right?

The first step is admitting I have a problem, right?

Sigh.  As much as I resolve that my most recent trip to McKay's will be my last until I've made a sizeable dent in that bounty (if not all the other books that languish on our shelves... and floors, as you will see!), it never is.  When it comes to buying books, I just can't seem to quit.  And McKay's really does me no favors, given its fabulous selection AND the low prices.  I reckon that church rummage and library sales might be a tad cheaper, but as I've said before, when a "splurge" means plonking down $5, I'll pay a bit extra for the convenience of being able to buy books whenever I want! Just 1 day into the new year, and Tony and I found ourselves at McKay's, as we had amassed enough of a read books and played video games stack to warrant a trade-in.  Our trip was momentous for several reasons.  First, due to the sizeable trade-in amountn we were awarded, we walked out of McKay's without spending a single penny (in fact, we walked away with credit towards our next spree!). Second, I think you'll notice that this time round, Tony actively contributed to our spending by selecting several books himself.  I love when I have a partner in crime! Without further ado, onto the books! (Click to Enlarge)
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This first column is the one I like to call "The Classics" column.  In it we have: Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - Tony picked this one.  I've never read any Hardy before, and I'm not sure this is the one I would have picked to start off with, so I'll probably leave it for Tony to read, and if he likes it then I'll give it a whirl! 😉 Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse - Again, a Tony pick.  I haven't read any Hesse either, but we do have Siddhartha on our shelves, and I'll likely read that one first.  I should have photographed the cover of this one though, because it is a mass market paperback from the '70s beauty! A Hero Of Our Time by Mihail Lermontov - I was intrigued by this little Russian volume and I couldn't resist picking it up.  It's considered the original Russian novel (influencing later writers such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky); I've been thinking of reading more Russian authors this year, and I figured there was no better place to start! Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov - I've been wanting to read this for ages, and this was the first time I've found a copy at McKay's.  I can't wait to see what all the controversy is about! Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott - Tony's choice.  He claims I will like it because there is talk of buccaneering on the back cover.  It seems like such a boy book!  We'll see which of us gets to it first... Ulysses by James Joyce - I'm not sure who to attribute this one to.  I picked it up kind of on a lark, but Tony said he wants to at least try to tackle it, so he's the one that kept it in the cart.  I think I will have to try to read the much shorter A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man which resides on our shelf before facing this beast.  If I can't make it through 150 pages of Joyce, I've got not hope for Ulysses, right?
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Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins - Tony's choice.  We've both read Jitterbug Perfume by Robbins previously, and enjoyed him well enough to buy other books by him.  I have no idea what this one is about, but knowing Robbins, it's sure to be zany! God Knows by Joseph Heller - Another one that I picked up and showed to Tony, but that he put into our basket.  All I know is that it's King David telling his life story.  Will Heller prove to be a one-hit wonder with Catch-22, or will God Knows be brilliant also? The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - This one's all mine.  You know how I love a crime caper/detective novel, and this one is supposedly one of the best.  Femme fatales, trenchcoats... what could be better? All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - I picked this one out for Tony.  He really enjoyed The Road, and I read this one back in highschool and liked it quite a bit.  I might read it again, as I essentially remember nothing about it storywise! Mating by Norman Rush - This one has been on my wish list for a while, given this description at Amazon: "Had Jane Austen been in the Peace Corps in Africa in the 1980s, Mating is the book she might have written."  Do I need any more info to know this is a book I need to try?  I'm very excited about this one. Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra - A while back, Tony and I were browsing the less-awesome used bookstore in Nashville, and we came across a beautiful copy of this novel.  We decided the price was a bit too hefty, but kept it in our thoughts.  When Tony saw it at McKay's, it was obvious we'd get it (even if it didn't come with a collector's gift box!). A Separate Peace by John Knowles -  This is apparently a very popular book in Canadian highschool English classes, but I never encountered it during my schooling.  I've heard good things about it, so I'd like to rectify this lapse in my education. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I've read this one before and really enjoyed it.  I've wanted to add it to my collection for a while, as I'd happily re-read it.  What's more, I'd like Tony to give it a try, too.

The New Typography by Jan Tschichold - Uh, clearly this was Tony's choice.  Apparently getting it for $4 is a big deal (because it had a limited run and is very hard to fine).  I am amused that someone wrote along the pages opposite the spine "No Value".  Heh. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett - Patchett lives in Nashville, so I thought I'd give her her due.  I think this one has received the most praise of her works, plus it was $1, so this is the one I'll try out. Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris - This was my splurge book at $7.  I've wanted to read this one for a while (it's a murder mystery/mind game set at an English boarding school!  Even Tony agreed it sounded like it was right up my alley!), so I couldn't bear to put it back even given its relatively hefty pricetag. Where You'll Find Me by Ann Beattie - Flat out, short stories are generally not my thing.  But this collection really intrigued me, and flipping through it, the stories really do appear short, so I do think I'll give it a go.  Also, one of the reviews on the back compared Beatie to Hercule Poirot, which really sold me on it.  Maybe 2009 will be the year I learn to appreciate the short story? Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link - Continuing in the above vein, I couldn't resist this short story collection either.  Apparently the stories in it are fairy-tale like but totally bizarre.  If I'm going to enjoy any collection of short stories, surely this will be it! Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier - I would never have picked this up if it hadn't been on the bargain shelf.  But at 25¢, I did pick it up, and then as I read the blurb on the inside flap, I was totally enthralled.  I have high hopes for this one. The Famish Road by Ben Okri -I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about this one, in part because it is so "out there", but I've really been digging all the magical realist stuff I've picked up of late, so I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on this one.  I hope it doesn't disappoint! An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender -I've heard Bender is better known for her short stories, but given that I tend to prefer novels, I thought I'd try this one on for size.  It's about a girl who's in love with quitting things, so we'll see if I stick with it to the end! All in all, this is a pretty good haul, I think.  Provided I can rein myself in, hunker down, and actually read some of these, I think 2009 holds a lot of great reading treasures!  I think the best way to end this post is to offer proof of just how unweildy our book collection has become.  Not only do we have books stacked unconventionally on all available shelf space, we also have books stored (and overflowing) in boxes as well.  Not including the books I've catalogued today, here's a picture of the spoils of our last few book trips (featuring the young master Rory).
Our box o' books runneth over!

Our box o' books runneth over!

6 Comments

  1. Steph
    01/08/2009

    What a great haul!

    I was forced to read A Separate Peace in high school, and HATED it, but I think if I had read it on my own, I would have liked it.

    That bookstore sounds amazing!

  2. 01/08/2009

    Wow, what a haul! I am most excited to hear what you think about “Gentlemen and Players” (of course!), “The Maltese Falcon”, and “Lolita”. Okay, I’m excited for them all! I’ve read “Cold Mountain” before and am excited to hear what you think! Happy reading!

  3. 02/04/2009

    I’m backtracking to look at your other ‘purchase list’ posts.. so fun! Out of this lot, I’ve only read Lolita and The Famished Road. Both good reads. Lolita was very well written indeed but it was a tad disturbing for me, so I’m glad I only borrowed that from the library. The Famished Road, another strange tale. Very ‘otherworldly.’ I’ll leave you to think what I meant by that..

  4. 02/04/2009

    I’ve heard The Famished Road is not for everyone, but I’ve recently discovered that I like a little otherworldliness in my reading (I loved A Hundred Years of Solitude, for instance), so I thought I would like to try this one. As for Lolita, I’ve heard that the subject matter is clearly uncomfortable but the writing is divine. It’s another one of those books that I know I need to experience.

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