Friday, September 29, 2006

Back to Book Buying, With a Vengeance

My challenge was to make it through August without buying any books. In fact, I lasted nearly two months, an unprecedented occurrence in my adult life. Today, I more than made up for it with the purchase of 22 books all in one go. Happily this monumental indulgence didn’t break the bank as the forum was my favourite annual university booksale, and most of the books were going for two or three dollars apiece. These are the riches that I came home with:

John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle;
Susan Cheever, Home Before Dark: A Biographical Memoir of John      Cheever;
Alasdair Gray, Ten Tall Tales & True;
Ronald Hingley, A Life of Chekhov;
James Joyce, The Critical Writings (edited by Ellsworth Mason &      Richard Ellman);
Margaret Laurence, Heart of a Stranger;
Bernard Malamud, The Stories of Bernard Malamud;
Katherine Mansfield, In a German Pension;
Mary McCarthy, How I Grew;
Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and other stories;
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire;
Frank O’Connor, An Only Child;
Frank O’Connor, Collected Stories;
Katherine Anne Porter, The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne      Porter;
Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight;
James Salter, A Sport and a Pastime;
Muriel Spark, Aiding and Abetting;
Muriel Spark, The Bachelors;
Muriel Spark, Memento Mori;
Robert Louis Stevenson, Weir of Hermiston and Other Stories;
Elizabeth Von Arnim, The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rugen; and,
Wu Ch’Eng-En, Monkey, Folk Novel of China (translated by Arthur      Waley).

Adding a little extra interest to this haul are the items left behind in a few of the books by their former owners. In the Alasdair Gray, there's a boarding pass for an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Honolulu; in the Katherine Mansfield, a yellowed newspaper clipping of a review of the 1984 edition of Mansfield’s Collected Stories; and, most fun of all, in Monkey, Folk Novel of China, a letter dated 1961 from a fellow who used the exclamation “gads!” and signed off not “Sincerely” or “Yours Truly” but “Toodles.” BookLad has promised a post on all the ephemera he’s found in books over his years in the book trade. I’m sure he’s found much odder items than these. Nevertheless, they added a bit of colour to today’s used book extravaganza!

Now, I invite you to guess which of these purchases were inspired by recent blog posts and discussions, and on which blogs...


Rebecca H. said...

Hmmm ... I remember Stefanie reading Frank O'Connor, and the Slaves of Golconda reading Murial Spark, and a number of people recommended that Rhys novel to me, although I can't remember who. What a great list -- enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Aw nuts. I totally forgot about this and I had today off too. I know, I could go later this weekend but I'm kinda all tied up for then too.

The Traveller said...

Ooh, Monkey is great. The Arthur Waley version is the best one to read because the original is something stupid like 130 chapters, and in true Chinese style is very repetitive. I hope you enjoy it. And I must say, I am extremely impressed that you a) held off book buying for almost two months and b) bought so many books in one go! How on earth did you get them home?

Quillhill said...

Pale Fire on Of Books and Bicycles. I like this game!

LK said...

I know about the critical texts on Joyce and Chekhov! Good selections.

Anonymous said...

I just had a book binge too, Kate, and it felt really good. Looks like you got some great stuff; I too am curious how you got them all home.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What great stuff! I have been so bad lately I won't even begin to own up to all the books I have bought. Same problem as you--getting too many suggestions and ideas from other bloggers. I love finding ephemera in my books, too!

Nancy said...

Oooh, Pale Fire is one of my favorites. In fact, it's in a small stack just to my left right now....