Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Eleven New Books for Under $35

This is why my TBR list continues to grow faster than my "completed list." I stopped into a couple of local bookstores yesterday and could not resist picking up this stack of bargain-priced books. All of them are in new, never read, condition and I paid only one or two dollars each for most of them.



Suite Francaise is the only one of the lot for which I paid anything near full price. I've been hearing good things about this novel for a while and I seem to have finally reached the point at which I could no longer resist its pull.


In The Magdalen Martyrs, Ken Bruen continues the saga of Jack Taylor whom I first encountered in The Guards. I was so taken with Bruen's writing that I snapped this one up from the bargain table as soon as I spotted it.



I've always enjoyed novels set in the American Civil War period and it seems that I'm finding them on a regular basis lately. The Glory Cloak portrays Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton working together to solve the true identity of a mystery soldier they find in a Union hospital.


John M. Del Vecchio's Darkness Falls is described this way: "Corporate mergers, downsizing, and public schools in turmoil all form the background for this novel of love, hate, violence and glory, rescue and murder...a complicated story of life in America's core - the suburbs." Considering my own recent "downsizing," it's no surprise that I had to have this one.

I have always been partial to Southern writers, probably because I can so easily identify with their subject matter, so I snapped up this biography, Carson McCullers: A Life. I was also a bit intrigued by the fact that the book was first published in France and that I found its British publication in a used books bookstore in Houston. I don't think that particular combination has ever happened for me before this one.


Paradise Salvage is one that I spotted on the shelf at least two weeks ago and didn't buy. But for some reason, it stuck in my mind and, when I saw it was still there, I decided to give it a try. I'm not familiar with its author, John Fusco, but being a fan of The Sopranos, I couldn't resist this cover blurb: "Cross The Sopranos with Catcher in the Rye and you'd probably get this suspenseful novel - and very good it is."


This is another Civil War novel that I had never heard of before yesterday. The Rope Eater tells the story of a young Union soldier who volunteered after hearing a particularly stirring recruitment speech. When confronted with the realities of warfare, he deserts the army and signs up as part of the crew of a whaling ship, something else about which he knows absolutely nothing.


I'm not entirely sure why I picked this one up other than the fact that I've enjoyed several of Sharyn McCrumb's books in the past. But I am one of those folks who just don't "get" NASCAR at all; I draw a complete blank when it comes to listing one appealing thing about that particular "sport." St. Dale is the story of a group of strangers who go on the "Dale Earnhardt Memorial Pilgrimage" and what happens along the way. We'll see.


How could anyone pass up a brand new copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition of an American classic when they find it priced at $1. Impossible, certainly for me. The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow, was first published in 1953 and was recognized as something special from the beginning. I'm a longtime admirer of Bellow, so this book will definitely find a permanent home on my bookshelves.



I'm desperately hoping that this one isn't of the "chick lit" variety but since I heard some good things about it, and because it's another Southern novel, and since the price was certainly right, I decided to give it a try. Gods in Alabama tells the story of a young woman who returns to small town Alabama, her black boyfriend in tow, to confront both her roots and the fact that she knows exactly what happened to the high school football hero who disappeared.


I bought this one based entirely on the reputation of its author, Dan Simmons. I wasn't aware that Simmons had started a private investigator series before finding this third Joe Kurtz novel. I'm a sucker for series novels for some reason and I have high hopes that Hard as Nails will start me off on another fun ride.

All in all, this was one of the most cost efficient book buys that I've ever made. Seven of the books, all new, were purchased at one bookstore for less than $10, including tax. The other four were bought at a different store for under $25, including the one for which I paid near full price, Suite Francaise. It was a good day.


18 comments:

  1. That's quite the stack for $35. I would love to find The Adventures of Augie March for a buck. I commend you for your acquisitions.

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  2. You know, considering that I paid about $10 for the one on the top of the stack, it turned out to be a really productive outing.

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  3. That copy of Augie March is a delight. I'm sure you'll enjoy both reading the text and holding it in your hands. Well done!

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  4. Ted, you hit the nail on the head. This is one of those books that just make you feel good about having your own copy. It's a beautiful thing...and I was shocked to see a $1 sticker on it. Inventory clearances are a wonderful thing for book lovers. :-)

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  5. 11 books for $35? Way to go! I'd be hard-pressed to do that even with my store discount.

    I'm interested to know what you think of Glory Cloak.

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  6. Way to bargain shop for books! Taking home all those books for so little is very satisfying, isn't it?

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  7. It really was, Stefanie. I can't remember ever walking out of a bookstore with seven books in my arms before this experience.

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  8. Anne, 4 of the books were bought at the B&N nearest me, including Suite Francaise at 30% off list. I really must have been in the mood to buy books that day because I seldom buy four at a time at B&N.

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  9. I've read Paradise Salvage and really loved it. Fusco is a screenwriter and wrote Young Guns, Hidalgo, Thunderheart, and Spirit, the animated film.

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  10. Thanks for the info, Deb. I'm looking forward to the day that Paradise Salvage reaches the top of the stack.

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  11. I'm eager to hear your thoughts on Suite Francaise. I read it recently and enjoyed it.

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  12. I'm looking forward to it, John, because I've heard good things from everyone I know who's read it so far.

    I'm totally immersed in The Known World right now and can't wait to spread the word on that one. I can't believe that it took me almost three years to find the thing.

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  13. Amazing haul! That's some excellent shopping! I have Suite Francaise sitting in one of my TBR piles, let me know what you think, maybe you'll inspire me to pick it up more quickly.

    And by the way, I really enjoyed The Known World, too...

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  14. I finished The Known World today and plan to write something about it tomorrow. Right now I'm feeling as if it's the best book that I've read so far this year.

    Suite Francaise is high on my list but I decided to start Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood next; I seem to be in a "Southern" groove at the moment. :-)

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  15. That's an impressive stack of books! Which bookstore did you find them so cheaply? I'm looking forward to reading the Nemirovsky!

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  16. Danielle, my local Half Price Books regularly restocks a few shelves in the very back of the store with books that have failed to sell in a "reasonable" time. They always price the books between one and three dollars each, despite the fact that many of them are brand new books by well known authors. It's always my first stop when I shop there. Sometimes I find nothing, but every once in a while I find two or three books that are perfect. But a haul like this one...seven books for nine dollars...was a first for me.

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  17. Wow, you did great, getting so many books for that price! I'm a Carson McCullers fan, and I hope to read that biography soon. I love the picture of her on the cover.

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  18. The McCullers bio hasn't made it to the top of the stack yet but I'm looking forward to it. I'm thinking about re-reading some of her work first, though, so it may be a while.

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