It was another $5 bag sale at the Friends of the Library book sale last weekend. Because I need more books like I need warts, I went late and was discriminating (for me).
Here is a run-down of my beauties and why I picked them:
Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon, selected poems of Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Mitchell
With a title like that, who can resist?
The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff
Like Kate Atkinson, Lauren Groff has been a meteor in the blogging world. I’ve never ready anything by her but I dance around reading Fates & Furies weekly, like I did with Arcadia a few years ago. I see this one all the time in thrift stores. Ah, hell, there’s space in the bag, I thought. Plop.
Baumgartner’s Bombay, Anita Desai
Misfiled in the travel section, this is labeled one of Desai’s classics and a novel of the Holocaust. How can it be that I’ve never read any Desai? Besides it’s short. Problem solved.
The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obrecht
Another popular book from a few years ago that lingers in used book shelves. My interest was renewed when I was reading over the short lists for the Bailey’s prize recently. I’ve read — and really enjoyed — many of the books that have been shortlisted or won that prize. Obrecht won for this one in 2011. Plop.
Citizen Vince, Jess Walter
I like Jess Walter’s style — edgy and humorous — even if it is very different from what I usually read, and I have to be in the mood for him. I had no idea he wrote wrote a mystery, and a prize-winning one at that. This one got an Edgar. Plop.
Wine Country, a literary companion
If you spit out my back door, it will hit either Napa or Sonoma, depending on which way the wind blows. I love books and I love wine, so this was a no-brainer. Besides, selections include M.F.K Fisher, Jessamyn West, Jack London, Urusula Le Guin, Robert Louis Stevenson, and a bunch of other people I don’t immediately recognize, but if I like their selection here, my reading list may expand even more. Sigh. Plop.
The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass
I loved Three Junes and they had three copies of it at the sale. And this. Plop.
Japanese Inn, Oliver Statler
This book and others like it are the reason I haunt old book stores and library sales. I hope that my brain squeal was not audible when I saw it on the shelf and my hand shot forward with terminator speed. In Japan the Old Tokaido road connected Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto. Since there were no cars and horses a rarity, it was basically a long, long footpath. Along the way were innumerable inns to accommodate weary travelers. Statler’s 1961 classic, subtitled A Reconstruction of the Past, are his part memoir, part history, part fictitious musings on one such inn, the Minaguchi-ya. The inn is closed now, but it was open for something like 400 years. Can’t wait to read this but I’m just as thrilled to have found it.
The Hungry Tide, Amitav Ghosh
I tried to read Ghosh once before (The Glass Palace) and didn’t like it at the time (but these things can change for me). But this book sounds particularly appealing to my current self. It’s set in the Sundarbans, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal where the famous man-eating tigers live. The book jacket suggests it’s something of a romance with a marine biologist and translator as they head into the remote backwaters with a local guide in search of a rare river dolphin. I also just read in the New York Times that this is one of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s favorite books because of that “moment with the tiger.” Well! PLOP!
A World of Curries, An International Cookbook by Ruth Philpott Collins
Who doesn’t love a good curry? Even if from a cheesy 1970s cookbook. Sometimes these oldies hold hidden gems of recipes, sometimes they bastardize every one to help the Midwestern shopper find ingredients in the local supermarket. Still, I bought it.
And my son filled up the rest of the bag with half a shelf of Star Trek novels. The apple, as they say….