I did not do too well with the whole “buying fewer books” thing this month. I feel like I kind of gave myself a free pass this month because I’ve been trying to diversify my reading (which is definitely not good for my book buying addiction), so I bought a lot of different kinds of things. My focus was mainly on nonfiction, as well as some lesser-known books. I have a bad habit of sticking more towards literary trends than reading what I’m actually interested in reading (don’t get me wrong, I’ve found some amazing books that way, but I do feel like I’m missing out on a lot more). Add in the fact that my dad was nice enough to take me on a Barnes & Noble shopping spree, and a trip to the dollar bookstore (which is so dangerous), I obviously bought a lot of books. I have a problem. We’ve established this. I did unhaul one book this month, though! (Does it really matter that I gave it to a friend because I accidentally bought a book I already own?)
In March, I read a book called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, in which he writes:
Always be reading. Go to the library. There’s magic in being surrounded by books. Get lost in the stacks. Read bibliographies. It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.
Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away. Filmmaker John Waters has said, ‘Nothing is more important than an unread library.’
Don’t worry about doing research. Just search.
It really spoke to me. I collect books faster than I can possibly read them because being surrounded by books makes me feel inspired. So, you know what? This month, I don’t feel bad about buying a lot of books. (Okay, I feel a little bad. But not enough to stop.) Seriously though, as soon as I read that quote, I realized why I’ve been unable to stop hoarding books. And it’s because there is magic in being surrounded by books, whether or not you’ve read them yet. So enjoy my giant book haul!
- The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. I’ve been reading a lot of WWII fiction lately, and this one stands out because it follows a grieving family in British-occupied Germany after the end of the war.
- God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. I have a complicated relationship with Toni Morrison. Unfortunately, I have a hard time identifying with her characters. But I’m kind of into learning about the lasting effects of things that happen to you in childhood, which is what this book is about. So I’ll give Morrison another shot.
- Love Me Back by Merrit Tierce. This is about a young single mother struggling with addiction. Not what I usually go for, but I’m curious.
- Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff. I’ve read exactly one page of the first book in The Lotus War trilogy, but I liked it. So – because I have really bad book buying habits – I got the second book because it was on sale.
- Endsinger by Jay Kristoff. Ditto, except this is number three in the series.
- A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell. This book follows three sisters who decided to commit suicide together because of some sort of dark family legacy. I don’t know much else, but I kind of don’t want to going in.
- Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield. I loved Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale in high school. This book sounds awesomely creepy, so I’m looking forward to reading it. (P.S. I almost bought this in B&N last month, because it was discounted to $7, but I’m so glad I didn’t, because I ended up finding it on Book Outlet for $1!)
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (signed copy). This book has gotten almost as much hype as All the Light We Cannot See. And, well, I can’t resist a good WWII novel.
- The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (Annotated Edition). I really enjoyed this book in high school, and am planning on rereading it this year for one of my reading challenges (can’t remember which at the moment). So I thought it might be interesting to read the annotated version. Ok, fine, I just liked the cover and it was on sale.
- Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet by Abraham H. Foxman. I’ve decided to read more nonfiction this year, and since most of the nonfiction I own is historical, and I can only read so many history books in a row, I wanted to get some more contemporary nonfiction. And this one looks really interesting, because it seriously baffles me how horrible people can be on the internet.
- The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand. I’ve heard great things about this book, which is about a group of intellectuals who met in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1870s to talk about ideas. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for history, and I actually don’t think I’ve read anything from that particular list (which needs to be remedied).
- Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy. Since joining Our Shared Shelf, I’ve been getting more into feminist literature (both fiction and nonfiction). This one intrigued me, since it is about feminism in the Middle East, which is not something I’ve seen very many books about. Plus, even though I’m half Palestinian, I haven’t read much about Middle Eastern history or social issues.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I think I have a really crappy mass-market version of this somewhere. But this is leather-bound and was only $4. So I had to.
- The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer. There was a huge, gaping hole in my ancient classics collection. This filled it. I think I read The Odyssey in 8th grade (maybe), but all I remember about it I’ve gotten from pop culture references or Percy Jackson. So…
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I’ve heard good things about this series. And it was on Book Outlet for $4. That’s really all it takes.
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist a contemporary YA book inspired by Sherlock Holmes.
- All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. (Yes, she does the whole e. e. cummings lowercase thing with her name). Anyway, this was the March pick for Our Shared Shelf, and I picked it up because I’ve loved the other two picks, so I definitely trust Emma Watson’s book recommendations now.
- The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida. I’ve been looking at a few books that center around autism recently, because I’m curious to read one from an autistic person’s point of view, and this one looks great. Real reason I bought it: Pierce Brown posted on Instagram about reading it. I actually already read this one, and I have to say it’s fantastic. So eye opening! I’d highly recommend it to anyone, especially teachers and parents.
- Mythology by Edith Hamilton. Okay, this one is research, I swear! I started writing a novel involving Greek mythology, and this was to hold me over until I get Bullfinch’s (since I obviously need the pretty, leather-bound one).
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. I already read an ARC of this, but I loved it so much I preordered a hard copy. And it’s beautiful.
- Loner by Teddy Wayne (NetGalley ARC ebook). This book appealed to me, because its about a shy Harvard freshman who falls in love with a rich girl and starts to compromise himself to be with her. It’s supposed to explore gender politics and class on a college campus, which I love. It doesn’t come out until September, so I’m trying to wait a bit, but I’m excited to read it.
- Our Town by Thornton Wilder. I was planning on reading this next month for the Reading New England Challenge – the April theme is poetry or drama – so I jumped on it when I saw it on Book Outlet.
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert Mccluskey. Another Book Outlet purchase for the Reading New England Challenge – August’s theme is children’s books. I walked by the statues that
inspiredwere inspired by this book I don’t know how many times while I was living in Boston, and have yet to read it, so I’m looking forward to finally seeing what it’s about.
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I haven’t read a book by Márquez, and I feel like I should fix that.
- All The Odes by Pablo Neruda. Honestly, I bought this because the cover is pretty. And I’m supposed to read a book of poetry this year (I can’t remember which challenge it’s for), so I might read this one.
- Starry Night by Isabel Gillies. This is a book that has been in my Book Outlet cart like seven times. But I kept taking it out because of mixed reviews. When I saw it on there again, I decided to just try it, because I’m still drawn to it for some reason.
- Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas. While I don’t think I’ve heard of this one before, it was on sale on Book Outlet for about $1.50, so I read the synopsis. It’s about a pregnant woman who discovers her husband has been having an emotional – not physical – affair with another woman. Which just sounds really interesting.
- The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer. I have absolutely no idea what this is about, but everyone has been saying it’s really good. I guess I’ll find out.
- The First Bad Man by Miranda July. This book popped up when I was researching feminist literature. It sounds weird, but good, and I’m intrigued. (I also can’t resist super simple covers like this one.)
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I was supposed to read this in college and never did. I’m planning on reading it for my Reading New England Challenge in July, and I saw the really beautiful (bargain-priced) Fall River edition at BN, so I picked it up.
- The Arabian Nights translated by Sir Richard F. Burton. The gorgeous BN leather-bound classic copy of The Arabian Nights has been on my radar for a while, but it was always on my “I’ll buy it someday” list. I was spending a nice day with my dad, and he offered to take me to BN to buy some books, so, obviously, I went for it. It actually worked out well, because he got excited and told me his grandmother used to tell him these stories when he was a kid (he grew up in Jerusalem), which I never knew. So I’m even more excited to read them now!
- The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. This was a past read for my bookclub. I really enjoyed it, so when I found it at the dollar bookstore, I had to get it. Mostly because I have no self-control when it comes to books.
- Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I have heard wonderful things about this book, and I’ve passed it up at the dollar bookstore quite a few times, so I finally got it. (Update: turns out, I didn’t actually pass this up at the dollar store. I bought it. So now I have two copies.)
- In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman. Another book I’ve almost bought a few times, and finally got it because I saw it at the dollar bookstore. Clearly, I should not be allowed in the dollar bookstore.
- An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. This was a dollar bookstore find I’d never heard of, but am really interested in. It’s a book of seven short stories about “neurological disorder and creativity.” I’m excited about reading it!
- All Other Nights by Dara Horn. This was mainly a cover buy, because it’s gorgeous, but it sounds really good, too. It’s about a Jewish soldier during the Civil War, and I’ve actually been looking for a good Civil War novel.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I’ve, regrettably, read very little of Hemingway’s work so far. But what I have read, I’ve loved, and I’m really interested in him as an author, as well. This book is about his relationship with Hadley Richardson, the love of his life.
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I keep coming across this book, and, since I’ve been looking for some more historical fiction that takes place BCE, I thought I’d give it a shot.
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. This book is about what a young girl does after her grandmother, who is also her best friend, dies. It’s supposed to be sand and funny, and I’m looking forward to reading.
- The Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. As a history major and American studies minor in college, I spent surprisingly little time studying the Civil War. From what I know, I actually do like Grant, so I thought this might be an interesting read. (Plus, it’s rumored to have been ghostwritten by Grant’s good friend Samuel Clemens, aka: Mark Twain.)
- The King’s Grave: The Discovery of Richard III’s Lost Burial Place and the Clues it Holds by Philippa Langley & Michael Jones. I had to read Shakespeare’s Richard III for my Graduate Studies in Shakespeare class, and it ended up being one of my favorites. He’s a fascinating character, and I’m curious to learn more about the real Richard III.
- Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (ebook). I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, because it’s kind of WWII fiction with a twist, and I’ve heard some really amazing things about it. So when I saw it on sale on iBooks, I bought it.