Our town library is having its book sale this weekend, and so, of course, I checked it out. In an earlier post a month or two ago I said something about being disciplined and not buying books until I’m ready to read them. At the time I think I owned maybe 18 books that I hadn’t read. Well, that’s changing. I now own 33 books I haven’t read, which by the standards of a lot of you probably isn’t that many. But you can see where I’m heading. Library sales are hard to resist, and the books here cost only between 50¢ and $3, with most of them priced at $1 or $2.

I am sometimes a little uncertain what to buy at these things because I’m tempted to get a lot just because they are cheap, but then I wonder if I’ll actually, really read them. In a lot of cases I come across authors I want to read but not necessarily the book I’m most excited about. Should I go ahead a buy it because it’s only a dollar? Or should I not, because I’ll really be wanting that other book that sounds better than the one before me? I’m not always clear on my criteria for owning a book either. In order to buy it, should I have definite plans to read it at some point? Should I get it if I only might read it, just because it’s a dollar? And I like to have pretty-looking books too, which isn’t always what you find at library sales. Should I buy the older, ugly edition because it’s cheap, or should I be a bit silly and buy the new, pretty edition with the great cover? I can’t stand the mass market size books, so I’ll definitely pass over a cheap one of those for a trade paperback that’s more expensive. It probably shouldn’t matter what the book looks like, but … it does sometimes.

So, although I found many interesting things, I only bought five books:

  • Alice Munro, Runaway. I’ve been wanting to read more short stories in general, and some Munro in particular, since she gets such high praise. In this case, I’m not sure if this is a great book to begin with, but … it was cheap.
  • Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women. A novel this time.
  • Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight. This was a recommendation from a number of bloggers, who told me The Wide Sargasso Sea isn’t her best one, and that this one is better.
  • Junichiro Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters. I read about this in Jane Smiley’s book Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, and I remember reading and liking an essay by Tanizaki and so thought I’d give it a try. I’ve read a decent amount of Japanese fiction and have liked it a lot.
  • Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron. This one sounds like fun — a 14C collection of stories with the plague as their backdrop.

The sale continues today, and books will be half price. I’m tempted to go back …

Also, if you are interested, you can check out my latest post on Involuntary Memory, a blog dedicated to Proust.

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Filed under Books, Lists

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