I like to buy books at thrift stores. We have a large chain of thrift stores in my area called Deseret Industries. We frequently donate, and get tax deductions for it, but I also frequently shop for books there. And, on occasion I’ll find children’s toys or bikes in great condition.
Anyway, my most recent finds only cost $6.50, and the books were on my list to read anyway. Here they are:
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) by Zora Neale Hurston has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I have never gotten to it, but now that I own it, I will. I promise, I will. I recently read an essay by Alice Walker called “Saving the Life that Is Your Own: The Importance of Models in the Artist’s Life” in which she mentions Hurston. Walker highlights the importance of having models as an artist and how knowing that somebody paved the way before is a confidence builder and a foundational tool for any artist.
Walker’s essay also alludes to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. This is my favorite of Woolf’s books, and I already owned it, but it was part of a large anthology, so now I have a copy of it all by itself. (Did I really need it? No. Did I want it? Yes!)
I also picked up Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927), which I attempted to read once a decade ago and never got into it enough to finish. I plan on reading it now, especially since I have already tackled the much more daunting Mrs. Dalloway and I have since become enthralled with Woolf’s life and work.
I also found The Best American Short Stories 2003. I love these collections, especially The Best American Essays. It is a great way to find new authors and to see what is happening currently on the literary scene. I have since come to love Maile Meloy because of exposure to one of her short stories. We’ll see who I find this time, although the edition is a decade old. Good storytelling never goes out of style.
The last book is How Green Was My Valley (1940) by Richard Llewellyn. I first heard of this book a few years ago when compiling a list for a group of young women in my neighborhood to choose from. My good friend Toni recommended this one, along with Jane Eyre, as a book the girls would like. Toni is one of the smartest and well read people I know. She had already read 70 of the books on the BBC book list as of 2009 when the list first made its way among my friends on Facebook. She will soon graduate with a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in literacy, and she is somebody whom I admire and love. I am sure that this book is a good one because of her recommendation, and I know the story was popular because of a movie version. It also won the National Book Award. We’ll see what this tale of a Welsh town has to offer.