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.
Nothing better than the combination of thrift stores and books. I once purchased the entire set of Great Books–hardback–for $14!
Wow! Great find!
Hurray for cheap used books!
No kidding! I think it’s the real reason I have so many.
My question is, how do people stand to get rid of their books? I can’t stand the thought of it. I have a lot of bookshelf space now, but even before that I kept books up in the attic in boxes. My kids school had a book exchange the other day and I actually had to go buy a book to exchange, because I can’t stand getting rid of books. Someday I will read the books that I love to read to my kids, to their kids. Books are too much a part of me to casually drop off at the thrift store. (but yay for those who do, or I wouldn’t have as many)
I have a hard time with that too. I keep lamenting lately how cluttered my house is and how we have too much stuff (just like the Berenstain bears!). But it is partly because I think I NEED everything. Books are especially hard, like you say, because they are me.
I’m with Danielle on this one. I can’t stand to get rid of books. I once lost everything I owned due to a natural disaster. It was horrible to lose but over time I realized how much of my belongings were just “stuff” and I quickly got over it – except my records and books.
Ever since then I have lived with very little and if you saw my house now you would find that it’s very sparse and open because I just don’t collect “stuff” anymore. It’s a relief not have to worry about it – except my records and books.
When I have to move there aren’t a lot of boxes of “stuff” – just my records and books.
I’m not a pack rat like my parents and sister – except for my records and books.
I have room for everything I own – except my records and books.
You see a pattern here? Maybe I need another hobby.
So, if I am understanding correctly, you like records and books, Tony? 🙂 I want my house to be more like what you just described. I am sick of having too much stuff!
One, I love the used bookstore too. I always find so much wonderful stuff there at such cheap prices.
Two, I have that exact copy of To the Lighthouse. I was assigned to read it in my freshman year. I never could get past 20 pages of it. That woman is horrrrrrible. Every touts Virginia Woolf as one of the greatest writers ever, but gosh I cannot stand that lady. I just dont see the hype in her.
Yeah, I’m doubting my ability to read To the LIghthouse. I really like Woolf’s essays and nonfiction. Those are fantastic! Her fiction is, well, Modernist, and therefore dense and sometimes stream-of-consciousness. I did get through Mrs. Dalloway, but it was hard. Afterwards, I was really glad that I did. I think Woolf’s reward is the accomplishment you feel at having finished, kind of like Faulkner. 🙂