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12th October
written by Steph

*only you're not at all surprised, are you? As we saw from my recent post regarding our newly acquired bookshelf meant to deal with our overwhelming TBR book situation, clearly the last thing I needed was to buy more books… so you know that that’s exactly what I went out and did! It’s a sickness I tell you! And McKay’s is no help since I trade in most of my books there once I’ve read them, so the cycle is never-ending. Based on our instore credit, this haul cost a whopping $2.20, so while my shelves might not thank me, I promise you my book buying habit isn’t sending my family to the poorhouse. Full rationalization of my haul after the jump… Kiss & Tell by Alain de Botton – Ever since I read and LOVED On Love last year, I’ve been jonesing to try more de Botton. Especially his books about love, because they make me swoon. Also, I may have loaned my copy of On Love to a friend who has since moved out of state and I fear I may never see it again, so I’ll probably have to buy another copy of that if I should find one.  I am hoping Kiss & Tell might tide me over until a replacement copy of On Love. Little Children by Tom Perrotta – This one is all Amanda’s fault. I had no real interest in reading anything by Perrotta, but all her praise for him won me over and when I found this in the discount section for 25 CENTS I decided that just because I think Little Children will be the same as Revolutionary Road, I should probably just read it already and know for sure. And maybe I’ll find a new author to enjoy! Mortals by Norman Rush – I dunno. This was also in the discount section and cost 50 CENTS and I have a copy of Mating by the same author (which I have, of course, not read) and so I picked this one up. And then I flicked through the opening pages and found the writing style engaging and a bit cheeky/ironic which I like, so I decided I would bring it home and maybe even read it some day. Fury and The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie – We have this ongoing joke at home that Tony thinks all books are badly written unless they happen to be written by Salman Rushdie. Despite these grandiose claims, Tony and I have each only read two books by Fishdie (as we affectionately call him), so obviously we need to rectify that by buying up his back catalog. I have no idea what these books are about, but they were each less that $5, which seemed like a bargain for hardcovers, so home they came. Paradise by Toni Morrison – This was actually a duplicate, as I already own a paperback copy of this book, but when I saw that this mint condition hard cover was only $1.50 I decided I could afford to replace my paperback. The Dancing Mind by Toni Morrison – Ok, so this is apparently a speech that Toni gave when she won the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award back in 1996. I am sure it will be beautifully written since when does TM not write amazingly, but the real reason I bought it is because it was $3 and also SIGNED BY TONI MORRISON HERSELF.  Clearly this is something I need to have in my library. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – I have a love-hate relationship with Atwood (I love to hate her?). My first experience with her as a teenager was disastrously bad and ever since then I have been leery of her, even though I have read other books since that first encounter (with Lady Oracle, if you must know) such that I know logically that I don’t hate everything she has ever written. So whenever I see a book of hers that is reasonably priced, I buy it because I just never know if it will be awesome or awful. This was $1, so now I may finally judge The Blind Assassin and talk about whether it deserved the Booker Prize in 2000. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami – I’ve spoken before of how I love Murakami and want to collect all of his books. This furthers that goal, but apart from that, I know nothing about it. The Lighthouse, The Black Tower, Death of an Expert Witness, and Cover Her Face by P.D. James – I am on something of a mystery binge at the moment, and have decided that I will love P.D. James. I already had one book by her (Original Sin), but I want to read her Adam Dalgliesh series in order. I don’t care if you say I don’t have to read them in order, after I had that disastrous Dorothy L. Sayers Gaudy Night reading experience last year, I am determined to read serial books in chronological order. For reasons that are unclear to me now, I placed these books such that they are in reverse chronological order (and certainly there are huge gaps), so for those of you wondering, Cover Her Face is the very first Adam D novel to start with. The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian – I know I read about this somewhere, and was intrigued by it, but I honestly can’t remember the source at this point or even what it was that intrigued me… Awesome, right? I think it’s supposed to be quirky. When I saw this for just $2.50 I picked it up, recognizing the title, and then skimmed the first few pages and like it well enough. I promise that whenever I read it, my review will be better and more informative than this paragraph has proven to be. So that’s it. I know I shouldn’t have bought any books, but for $2, who can blame me? Plus, our used bookstore is so close to the international market that Tony and I visit on a biweekly basis, so really when you consider how many times I am close to this bookstore and don’t go in and buy stuff vs. those occasions when I do, my restraint is actually impressive… Right? Have you read any of these books? Where would you start?


  1. 10/12/2011

    I’m glad you bought Little Children, though I’ll understand if you end up thinking it’s too similar to another book. I haven’t read that other one, so it would be difficult for me to say. Of course, I do hope you’ll like it. 😀

  2. 10/12/2011

    The Blind Assassin is very good. I read it before I even knew who Margaret Atwood was. Amanda has made me want to read Little Children too! Enjoy your books 🙂

  3. I really liked The Blind Assassin, and I, too, am picky about Atwood’s books. I think you’ll really enjoy it. Little Children was pretty good but sort of depressing. I’ll be curious to see what you think of it.

    P.S. I love your tag “i have no self-control.” 🙂

  4. 10/12/2011

    My gosh but what purchases. Three P D James’s, a Morrison, a Margaret Atwood a Rushdie – what a brilliant choice. And not breaking the bank!

  5. 10/13/2011

    Alain de Botton! I remember that it was your review that lead me to pick up On Love once and for all, and, like you, I fell head over heels with it. I’ve read his other books on architecture, “status anxiety,” and have got his books on philosophy and Proust waiting for me. And and and I just bought his Romantic Movement because, like you, I just need more of him talking about love. Basically, I ENVY YOU AND WANT TO READ KISS AND TELL.

    Re the Tom Perrotta, uhm, I had the same thought as you. That he was a contemporary Richard Yates, that this one was Revolutionary Road. But, uhm, my subsequent reaction is in the minority and, uhm… Okay. I’ll just wait until you read it, haha.

    [Also: Nope, not surprised at all, haha.]

  6. 10/13/2011

    What a great bunch, and I still believe that you can’t have too many books 😉
    I adore Atwood so I’d recommend you go ahead with The Blind Assassin, I loved it and also all her books are quite different.
    I have yet to read any P.D. james mystery but her Talking About Detective Fiction was great.

  7. 10/20/2011

    @ Amanda: It’s been long enough that Revolutionary Road is pretty hazy in my memory, so I think I’ll be able to give Little Children a fair shot. I know everyone RAVES about RR, but I just found it soooooo depressing that it was a bit painful to read!
    @ Stephanie: That Amanda sure is persuasive with her book recommendations, isn’t she? And I’m so glad to hear you enjoy The Blind Assassin! I’m not sure if I’ll read it this year or maybe re-read The Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood instead… I know there’s no rule about reading an author more than once per year, but for certain writers I find it helpful to space their books out!
    @ jenn: Well, I found Rev Road SUPER depressing, so while I hope that Little Children won’t be so painful that I loath picking it up, I suppose I’ll have to try it to find out!
    And I really don’t have self-control when it comes to books, so that tag is apt!
    @ Mystica: I know! I can’t feel too bad about my book splurge since it hardly made a dent in my wallet at all! And I’m sure all of these books will fit in nicely with my other books!
    @ Sasha: I’m so glad someone else out there feels the de Botton love! I’ve also got his book about travel (The Art of Travel) waiting for me, but the romantic in me craves his books about love most!
    I’ve heard enough about Perotta that I feel I should at least try the man before writing him off for not any real reason at all. I love an experiment so it should be interesting, no matter what!
    @ Bina: I agree that Atwood’s books are all sufficiently different from one another that even if I really dislike one, I find I’m still open to try her other books. I remember when The Blind Assassin came out that there was a bit of a kerfuffle about it (esp. when it won the Booker), so it’ll be nice to see what all the fuss was/is about.
    @ zibilee: I used to have enough disposable income before I met Tony that I would allow myself one pair of shoes a month as a splurge purchase. I LOVE shoes, but ever since discovering McKay’s I’ve been funneling all my extra funds towards increasing my library! 😀

  8. 10/13/2011

    A lot of these are new to me, but I did read and love Little Children a handful of years ago, so I hope you enjoy it too. And the book buying thing is like a sickness, I agree. Whenever I discover that I have some extra money, I feel the need to go out and buy a few books. It doesn’t really matter to me that I have more here than I will ever be able to read, because after all, who doesn’t need more books? Lots of great stuff in that haul. I can’t wait to hear what you think of them!

  9. I have that exact edition of The Blind Assassin on my TBR. Let me know when you’re ready to start reading it and we can exchange impressions along the way.

  10. kay

    I think I’m still in shock of discovering P.D. James is a woman. I don’t know why, I was certain James was a fifty-something with a big mustache. And I have NO idea who the picture I have in my head right now really is!

    I have the Blind Assassin on my to-read shelf, if you read it first I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on it!

  11. oh my gosh! when i saw your “surprise!” post title in my comment luv, i thought quite a different surprise was in order at chez steph and tony! lol. well, quite a selection of ‘heavy’ reads, there. perfect for winter reading, right???

  12. 10/15/2011

    Wow, I think I wish I lived near this McKay’s, too!! I loved The Blind Assassin. I listened to it earlier this year. Definitely shows Atwood’s fiction side over her more sci-fi leanings.

  13. 10/20/2011

    @ Alex: Will do! I have no idea when I’ll get to it, but it’s been a while since I read an Atwood novel, so I may feel the urge to try it soon!
    @ kay: Heee! What is it with authors who have those pesky “initial” first names? I remember thinking that S.J. Watson was a woman when I kept hearing so much about that book “Before I Go To Sleep” and it threw me for a loop when I discovered that she was a he!
    @ nat: Ha! I know what you thought our surprise would be and my immediate reaction to your comment was “ew! gross!”. So now you know my thoughts on that matter! 😉 For the near future, you can expect that the only bundles of joy that will be gracing S&T will either be puppies or bundles of books! 😉
    @ Erin: McKay’s would be the downfall of any blogger! I promise you that it’s not simply that I’m weak-willed (though that certainly is true…)!
    @ Nymeth: “Strange and surprising” seems a good way to describe any Murakami book, no? 😀 I know I read one of his books last year, loved it, but it was so weird that I’d be hard-pressed to tell you anything about it now!
    @ Kim: I hope I like it too! I think I remember your review of it a while ago and that you were very gushy, so I hope this is an Atwood novel I love (since there are plenty I feel ambivalent about)!
    @BuriedInPrint: Knowing me I’ll now promptly ignore most of these books for at least a year and then start to read them. I’ve already read one of the PD James novels already though, so at least I’ve made a nominal dent!
    @ Joanna: As I said in my post, I never know how I’ll feel about Margaret Atwood, which may be why I keep going back to her. There’s a bit of a thrill in not knowing what to expect from an author!

  14. 10/16/2011

    I can’t say I’m surprised, no 😛 Those are some excellent finds! Sputnik Sweetheart was my very first Murakami – it’s been many years since I read it and I don’t remember it well, but I know the ending was strange and really surprised me. Then again, that’s not saying much about a Murakami book. Perhaps it only stayed with me so much because it was my first and I wasn’t expecting it.

  15. I loooooved The Blind Assassin so very much. I hope you like it!

  16. 10/17/2011

    I think you should start with the ones that are calling to you most dramatically; I’d guess that’s the only way to knock a few off your stack. (Not that I would know anything about that, as my own specialty seems to be adding to my own stack at an inexcusable rate. You should ignore my comment. Perhaps even do the opposite.)

  17. 10/19/2011

    I really liked The Blind Assassin but I liked most of what I’ve read by Margaret Atwood. Great new stash, happy reading!

  18. Great haul – glad to see your wallet isn’t feeling the pinch, which is what normally happens after one of my book-buying sprees. 😛

    I couldn’t finish The Ground Beneath Her Feet when I attempted it, but I reckon that might have had something to do with me being fifteen when I tried reading it. I thought I was smarter than I was!!

    Never read anything by PD James, but heard lots of good things about her writing, so yay!

    And finally, looking forward to your thoughts on Paradise and the Murakami. Both are books I want to read.

  19. 10/27/2011

    I’m a firm believer that you need to read a series in order, especially if it’s crime! Just because however much the stories are separate, there’s always a large story arc that will definitely enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the books. So yay for your purchases of P.D. James:) I still haven’t read anything by Alain de Botton although I think my sister has the On Love book. I may have to go and steal it.

  20. 10/27/2011

    @ anothercookie: I don’t expect all of Rushdie’s books to be as good as The Satanic Verses (well, except for Midnight’s Children), but even if they’re half as good, I think I’d still be very happy!
    @ sakura: Oh, definitely do go and steal On Love! I like to think that I’ve started the tradition of it being stolen from those who by it, since I doubt I’ll ever see my copy again…

  21. 11/09/2011

    I can’t believe that you got all these treasures for only $2.20! Envy you 🙂 Love the fact that you are in a PD James collecting spree! Hope you enjoy reading all her novels! I read ‘The Lighthouse’ a few years back for book club and liked it in parts. I want to read the first Adam Dalgleish novel sometime. I have a feeling that I will like it.

    Enjoy reading your new acquisitions! Happy Reading!

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