Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jenny's Books Added - January 2014

In true meta-librarian fashion, one of the books on this list inspired this list.  Nick Hornby (the author I first knew from High Fidelity) writes a monthly column for The Believer called "Stuff I've Been Reading," which starts with a list of books bought and read each month. The three Hornby books on this pile are basically collections of previous columns, and I was inspired by the very first chapter of The Polysyllabic Spree. In hopes that imitation can still be the sincerest form of flattery, and with full credit given to Mr. Hornby, I'd like to start posting about the books I've added to my collection each month.  This will not include library books I've brought home, although if I can restrain myself from returning books immediately after reading them, I'd like to post about that too.  (This month, it is far too late for that, as I've read and returned at least a handful.) 

Books added to my collection may not stay, in fact probably won't.  I only keep books I can see myself re-reading or referring to.  These books will include used bookstore finds, gifts, swaps, and the rare new book purchase (oh hey, this pile actually has one of those!)  I thought it would be fun to give a brief narrative of why these books ended up with me.

Just In:
The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane
The Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun
Dear Exile: The True Story of Two Friends Separated (for a Year) by an Ocean by Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery
The Book Borrower by Alice Mattison
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby
Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby
The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion by Jeff Toalson
Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel

Some of it has to do with reading goals - Indiridason for my year of reading Iceland; Liftin & Montgomery, the anonymous Portuguese nun, and Toalson for reading more letters; Zelazny as one of the authors I'd pledged to read in 2014.  I read The Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun right away.  It was short, I was intrigued, and I reviewed it a week or so ago.  The Toalson is the book I paid full price for, at the very site where the General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the north, signifying the beginning of the end of the War Between the States (aka the Civil War.)  Sometimes a book can be the best souvenir!

One category of books I actually seem to keep around is books about books.  I even have a shelf devoted to them in GoodReads! The Mattison was 50c at the used book store, so how could I resist?  The Hornby books were a gift from the second friend to insist that I would love them and must read them.  All four of these fit the category of books on books.

The other books demand more of an explanation.  I claim not to buy books I don't want to read.  Well, I had a hint that the Moran might be coming up for one of my book clubs.  The Macfarlane strokes my cold weather island obsession, the DeLillo was $2 and I really wanted to buy one book from each bookstore on Main Street in Charlottesville, VA.  I had read Sister Mine by Hopkinson earlier this year and was happy to find another book by her, and I had read and not really enjoyed the Maazel I read this month.  I guess you could say I'm giving her a last last chance. 

There you have it!  Will I read any of them right away? Nope. Why do I buy books when I work in a library?  That's a story for another day. 

Tell me about the books you brought home in January!


  1. I absolutely love this idea. I hope you do this every month! I didn't add any new books in Jan which is unusual for me and I've made sure to fix the situation already in Feb. :)

    1. Thank you Amanda! I hope to. I'm already hoarding the library books from this month so I can blog about that too!


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