August 10, 2012

What was all that about keeping life simple, reducing the amount of stuff on hand, etc.? I seem to have taken a step or two back, and it’s no surprise that books were involved.

I had been quite good about not buying a lot of books lately—that is until the bookish stars aligned in a most particular way in the past month. Suddenly I find myself inundated with a large pile of books from: 1. a library book sale; 2. my local used book store (where I at least turned in some books for credit); 3. Paperback Swap and 4. a sale at (I also bought a couple books from my library’s used book store as well. It’s a sickness, I tell you.)

I justify this sudden influx of books by noting that I’ve only bought books that I either can’t get at my library, books I especially want to add to my personal collection, or books that I need/want for reference for a writing project. I also can’t help it that one of the books on my Paperback Swap wish list became available during this same period…

And just when my to-be-read stack seemed to be shrinking.

Curious about all this book bounty? This post would be far too long if I describe all of these, so I’ll just share a few:

Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin. I found this at my local used book store. I was under the impression this was a series of essays, but it turns out it’s a novel, set in San Francisco. After visiting San Francisco, I’ve wanted to read more about it, and more books set there. 

Very New Orleans, Diana Hollingsworth Gessler. Another travel-inspired title. I’m adding this little illustrated book to my growing list of books about New Orleans, one of my favorite cities. 

The Solitary Summer, Elizabeth Von Arnim. A novel by the author who wrote Elizabeth and Her German Garden. In this book, Elizabeth is to have a summer all to herself, with no guests, but plenty of time for her books and her garden and general roaming of the countryside.  Sounds like heaven to me.  I bought this one and the next from the Abebooks sale. 

The Lady Vanishes, Ethel Lina White. I love mysteries, and this sounds like a good one. Originally published in the 1930s as The Wheel Spins, Alfred Hitchcock eventually made a movie out of it. 

Pears on a Willow Tree, Leslie Pietrzyk. This was one of the books my son could have chosen to read from his school’s summer reading list last summer. He didn’t choose it, but I decided to read it. Described as “a multigenerational roadmap of love and hate, distance and closeness….four generations of mothers and daughters of Polish ancestry are bound together by reminiscences and tangled relationships.” (Doesn’t sound like anything a teenage boy would want to read, does it? Who chooses the summer reading lists, anyway?!) Another purchase from my library’s bookstore.

Cousin Kate and The Spanish Bride, Georgette Heyer. I used to read Georgette Heyer’s historical romances when I was a teenager and young adult. This summer, I picked up Heyer’s biography, which turned out to be fascinating, and renewed my interest in her work. She was a very private woman, refused to do interviews to promote her books, and was quite expert on the Regency era in England in which so many of her books were set.

England As You Like It and England for All Seasons, Susan Allen Toth. I dare you to read Toth’s books on England and not want to pack your bag and go. I already had Toth’s My Love Affair With England and decided I wanted to complete the set—thanks to Paperback Swap, I did.  

Belle Weather, Celia Rivenbark. A collection of funny essays focusing on southern life. I’ve read her other books (including Bless YourHeart, Tramp, and Stop Dressing YourSix-Year-Old Like a Skank)  My library bookstore had Belle Weather for just a dollar, so I snatched it up.

I admit I go overboard with books. I really do not need to own all these books, but chances are pretty good that I will pass at least some of them on eventually, back to the used book store, library or Paperback Swap. In the meantime, I will revel in the wealth of printed material I have to choose from. I just finished a novel, so what shall I pick up next?

What do you go overboard with?

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  1. At least all the books were either used or on sale - that's a good thing. Tales of the City sounds interesting - I'll have to look that up. And I know you'll love Very New Orleans - at least I do.

    What do I go overboard with? Hmm . . . it used to be books too until joining Paperback Swap, although that membership has meant I have LOTS more books than I can probably read in the next 5 years. Now it's anything quilt related - fabric, books, patterns, etc.

  2. Oh - and sketch related too - like paints and palettes and and and!!!

  3. OK - I just found Tales of the City at PBS - I'm going to order it. You bad person you! LOL!! You know I'm kidding of course!!!!!

  4. You don't have to justify anything to me, Kathy. A book is NEVER a waste of space, lol. And at .50 or $1, they are the most affordable of all addictions, I think.

    Have a super weekend of reading,

    Kathy M.

  5. Cheryl--Oh, great, now I'm taking people with me down the path to excess! :) Hope you enjoy Tales of the City--we'll have to compare notes after we both read it. (Paperback Swap is awesome--thank you for introducing me to to it!)

  6. Kathy--I think books, at least the way I seem to get them, are a very affordable splurge. The hunt for a bargain is half the fun!

    Hope you have a great weekend, too. I do plan to do some reading, getting a start on that stack!

  7. At least they are used or secondhand books so you are recycling, which is a good thing! And what a lovely pile of books! :) I've read several of them--loved the Ethel Mina White and was just thinking I want to read another book like it (but nothing has come to mind off hand). The Maupin is fun and was serialized in the newspaper when it first came out. And Georgette Heyer is always good to have on hand. Which biography of her did you read? I read one by Joan Aiken Hodge (at least that's who I think wrote it), but I know there is a newer one out as well, which I would like to get my hands on.

    Enjoy all those wonderful new books!

  8. That's right, Danielle, I'm keeping books out of the landfill!

    The biography I read was the one by Jane Aiken Hodge--I think I even read about it first on your blog. I didn't know there was a new one--I'd like to see it to see how it compares.

    I've already started The Solitary Summer and am enjoying it a lot.

  9. Will we see you any time before Thanksgiving?! With so many fun reads on your hands, it seems unlikely.

    It seems that books always come in cycles. And it's feast or famine, so enjoy your feast.

    As for me and my overboard passions....pens, palettes, sketchbooks, bags......

  10. That's true, now that I think of it--it does seem to be feast or famine. I will enjoy my feast, but I will most definitely be out and about before Thanksgiving!

    It's fun to go overboard, isn't it? Passions are fun! And yours are useful, too.

  11. I definitely go overboard with books, too! And since it's probably the only thing I go overboard with, I tend to use that to justify myself (or pacify the guilt, more like!).
    Great haul you've got there! The Susan Allen Toth books sound really good. Will have to keep a lookout for those. And I saw you've got the Reader's Guide to Writer's Britain! So do I. :) It's a lovely one to enjoy, no doubt.
    Have also started Tales of the City, after being reminded of it while reading Danielle's post last month. Book passions can be so infectious, don't you think so? :)

  12. Michelle--Definitely check out the Susan Allen Toth books--they are really nice reads. I'm looking forward to the Reader's Guide to Writer's Britain--I hope to go there in the next couple of years.

    Book passions are definitely infectious--and Danielle has "infected" me many times!