Rather ridiculous bookish abundance

Yesterday was my birthday, and a few weeks before it, Hobgoblin asked me how I wanted to spend the day. Going into Manhattan to visit bookshops and eating a fancy dinner was my answer, of course. So that’s what we did. But before I tell you about the bookshops, I should tell you about one of my birthday presents: the Nook! The color version. I spent this morning learning how it works and downloading books for it, and it was lots of fun. I like the Nook very much so far. I have about twenty free books I downloaded from various websites plus a couple digital review copies on the Nook right now. If you’re curious, here are the books I’ve downloaded so far:

  • L. M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams (to continue the Anne of Green Gables read-through I’ve been doing. I finished Anne of Windy Poplars last night),
  • Charlotte Smith, The Banished Man (a late 18C early 19C writer),
  • Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady,
  • Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charlotte’s Inheritance,
  • Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier,
  • Isabella Bird, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains (recommended by some of you in my previous post),
  • Abraham Crowley, Essays
  • Sarah Fielding, The Governess; or, Little Female Academy (a mid-18C book),
  • Dorothy Sayers, Clouds of Witnesses,
  • Fanny Burney, Cecilia (a very long book of the sort that reading on an ereader might be much more comfortable than reading in book form),
  • Margaret Oliphant, The Rector (part of her Chronicles of Carlingford series; they don’t seem to have the whole series available online, sadly),
  • Charlotte Lennox, The Life of Harriot Stuart, (mid-18C author),
  • Maria Edgeworth, Ennui,
  • Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence,
  • E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread,
  • Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country,
  • Frances Sheridan, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (mid-18C author),
  • Anna Katharine Green, The Leavenworth Case,
  • Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa (recommended by some of you in my previous post).

I have no idea when I’ll actually read these, or if these are even the ones I’ll read first, but it was so much fun to download them and think about reading them. When I actually read a book on the ereader, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Now, you might be wondering why I wanted to visit bookstores after a gift like this. Because I need books of all sorts, of course! I want to use the Nook to read free books and review copies mainly (and perhaps some books I buy when I travel), and I want to keep buying paper books because I love them so much. I also want to keep supporting bookstores and having the fun of browsing.

So the first stop we made was at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, a used bookstore staffed mostly by volunteers where the money they make goes to help fight AIDS and homelessness. I found all kinds of interesting books here, and came home with:

  • Margaret Oliphant’s Hester, not available online as far as I can tell,
  • Jose Saramago’s The Cave,
  • Deb Olin Unferth’s novel Vacation,
  • A.M. Homes’s Music for Torching.

Next up was McNally Jackson, an incredible store with one of the most amazingly smart and eclectic collections of books I’ve seen. I spent a long time browsing there, and wasn’t anywhere near finished when we left. I bought:

  • Clarice Lispector’s novel Near to the Wild Heart,
  • and Ander Monson’s Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir, which is, I think, a book of essays about the memoir genre. Just my type of thing.
  • Also, Hobgoblin bought Roland Barthes’s The Preparation of the Novel. In spite of skimming a review of this book, I haven’t quite figured out what it’s about. But it looks fabulous. (I told Hobgoblin that the book was available on NetGalley, but he wanted the paper version. Some books just need to be read on paper.)

Next we headed over to Three Lives, another favorite store. I could have bought SO many books, but I limited myself to Janet Malcolm’s In the Freud Archives. The woman who sold us our books raved about what a good book this is and what wonderful books Malcolm writes. I had to agree, especially as I’m in the middle of her book Two Lives right now and am enjoying it very much.

Then it was time for dinner and an hour or so at the Union Square Barnes and Noble before time to catch the train. I wasn’t planning on buying any books there, but I couldn’t resist Terry Castle’s book The Professor: A Sentimental Education, a collection of essays.

It was so much fun. Even with my new ereader, I’m not going to stop visiting bookshops and buying tons of books.


Filed under Books

19 responses to “Rather ridiculous bookish abundance

  1. Welcome to another newbie in the e-reader club πŸ™‚ You showed more restraint than I did with the downloads. I basically grabbed anything from Project Gutenberg that I thought I might want to read someday. So I went into the triple digits–and it still may be months before I get to one. It’s nice though to know that they’re there.


  2. That sounds like an absolutely PERFECT birthday! I’m very interested to hear how you like the Nook once you’ve begun to read books on it — my guess is (like everyone else I know), you’ll love it. What a lot of cool free books you’ve downloaded.


  3. My girlfriend’s father has a Nook. He calls it the Nookie. He loves it, though, and says he reads more books on it than ever before.


  4. First and foremost, of course, Happy Birthday for yesterday. I am seriously envious about the Nook. I do read on both a kindle and my I-Pad but I really wanted a Nook because it accepts more forms than the Kindle, however, B and N won’t sell them in the UK or allow you to download from their site, so that knocked that idea on the head. Very short-sighted business dealings.

    Anyway, you clearly had a marvellous day and I’m sure you will be reading for weeks now, although I’m sure it won’t stop you feeling the need to acquire more books in the next couple of weeks; it never does me!

    Have I, by the way, told you the story of my ex asking me what I wanted for Christmas? I asked for almost exactly what you did, to be turned loose in our local bookstore with tokens to spend. He bought me an electric toothbrush!! You did notice the ‘ex’ bit, didn’t you?


  5. Happy, happy birthday! Your big day sounds perfect. And I do like your approach to e-reading – for the free and review copies. My exact thoughts. And what a bookish haul you have here! Where Angels Fear to Tread is in my soon-to-read sights too.


  6. Sounds like the perfect birthday to me! I have to admit I am undergoing the same sort of transformation you wrote about several posts ago…so convinced for ages I didn’t want/need an e-reader to suddenly desiring one…especially to manage blogs and magazines, and for my commute. I haven’t purchased one yet but it’s been on the mind a lot – I am looking forward to hearing how you like yours!


  7. Happy Birthday! It sounds like a perfect bday. And I’ll be interested in your updates on the Nook.


  8. Happy Birthday Dorothy! Sounds like you had a wonderful celebration. Do keep us posted on how your eReading goes.


  9. Happy Birthday, Dorothy! What wonderful bookish goodness, in all forms! I’m really looking forward to reading Margaret Oliphant (which I hope to do this week) and I can also recommend In The Freud Archives (even though it gives academic psychotherapy a terrible name!).


  10. Michelle

    Happiest of birthdays to you! And what a book haul! Both electronic and on paper. Excellent. I read Fanny Burney’s Evelina on my Kindle and it was great to read in that form – I whipped through it – I will start Cecilia as well!


  11. Happy Birthday!!!

    I keep wondering how the Nook or other e-readers are for more technical stuff. Can you get, for example, history books? Lit Crit? Theory?


    • hobgoblin

      Hi Bardiac,

      I did quite a bit of research before I got the Nook, but one area I didn’t look at was academic presses. I know from speaking to book reps that many of the publishers are “moving in that direction” but I’m not sure who has actually put things out there yet. One of the benefits of the Nook, though, and the thing that swayed me in favor of the Nook Color over the regular Nook, was its platform breadth. It will read just about every format I could think of other than .azw, which is Amazon’s proprietary format. All of the others–including .doc, .docx, and .pdf–will work on the Nook Color, at least according to the things I read. Unless they are tied in some way to Amazon, I think academic publishers will use one of these formats (or one of the open-source formats I didn’t mention, like .opf), so the Nook should be able to read them.


      • Thanks πŸ™‚
        So, have you looked to see what’s available?

        I mean, I could see getting an e-reader only if I can get both academic books AND editions of Shakespeare and such. In fact, having insta access to multiple editions of a given play would be fun sometimes.


  12. Happy birthday! It sounds like you spent it in the best of ways. I am really curious about the Nook color and how comfortable it is to read on it for any length of time. Also, I am curious about annotating and how easy it is to underline and write notes. So keep these things in mind as you venture forth into reading on your Nook. This Kindle owner wants to know if the grass is greener πŸ™‚


  13. Happy Birthday! Sounds like a glorious one.
    Enjoy Anne’s House of Dreams — I liked it very much on my reread, I think more than I had as a young reader; hope you will enjoy as well. And as for all your physical books, wow — what a lot of goodness! I loved Saramago’s The Cave, probably my favourite of his works so far.


  14. Teresa — fun! I’m only getting started πŸ™‚ I recently got an ebook from my library, and I’m happy about that. Definitely nice to know there is so much there.

    Emily B. — so far so good! I’ve read a little on it, and it works well. The cover Hobgoblin got for me arrived today, and it’s great.

    Brandon — I can see how a person might read more on a new machine; it’s so fun, and the pages seem to fly by, if only because they are about half the length of paper pages.

    Annie — an electric toothbrush? Yes, I can see why the “ex” bit is most important πŸ™‚ Hobgoblin got the Nook precisely because it supports the most file types, and I’m happy about that. I do hope, though, that ereading gets easier and simpler; there are too many file types right now, and it would be awfully nice if they all used the same one.

    Frances — isn’t Forster great? I’m looking forward to him. I’m glad we agree on ereaders! I don’t want to stop buying books, so it only makes sense to reserve the ereader for free things.

    Courtney — it’s funny how quickly our minds can change, right? The one I have doesn’t have 3G, so it might not work so well for reading on commutes, but other forms of the Nook might work. I’ll be waiting for the day I hear about your purchase! πŸ™‚

    Lilian — thank you! It really was a great day.

    Iliana — thank you! I will certainly keep everyone posted.

    Litlove — I’m glad you feel that way about the Malcolm book. I wonder if I’ll get annoyed at her if what she does is trash psychotherapy? It’s not my favorite form of theory by any means, but I don’t like attacks on it if they are in any way unfair or exaggerated.

    Michelle — I’m a little scared of Cecilia, because it’s quite a bit longer than Evelina. I have Camilla in paper form, and it’s quite an imposing presence on my shelves! But maybe reading it on the ereader will make it seem quicker.

    Bardiac — I can’t really add much to what Hobgoblin says. I haven’t explored what academic books are available. As far as buying things directly on the Nook, you are limited to Barnes and Noble, but almost anything you can download on to your computer, you can transfer to the ereader. So I guess it comes down to what B&N owns and what you can get in digital format from other non-Amazon sources.

    Stefanie — so far so good. I don’t tend to read any book for long periods of time, so I’m not sure I’ll be a good tester for that. As for annotating/highlighting/taking notes, I haven’t done much of it, but I’ve figured out the basic mechanism, and it seems quite easy. You can look up the meanings of words very easily as well. More later!

    Melwyk — I’m glad to hear that about The Cave. So far I’m enjoying Anne’s House of Dreams very much!


  15. Sorry about my tardiness–but Happy Belated Birthday! It sounds like you celebrated in the perfect way and what fun to get all those paper and ebooks! You’ll have to let us know how it goes with the Nook–I think that is what I would get if I end up buying one. At the moment it is beyond my budget, but maybe if I get back some tax money? I loaded some ebooks onto my computer but I haven’t had a chance to read them, including poor Maisie and the clock is ticking away every day (one less reading day…). Enjoy your books!


  16. Danielle — thanks! I requested the Maisie book, but I haven’t heard back yet (and it’s been almost a week!). I discovered recently that you can download books from Net Galleys again, or multiple times, really, which means that you have access to the file longer (you get another 60 days or whatever each time). As long as the publisher doesn’t cut you off, I guess, you can have access to it indefinitely.


  17. Oh, eReaders make it all too easy to hoard free classics. Convenient, sure, but the hoarding, oh the hoarding that goes on…


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