Monday, October 01, 2012


I spent $78.30 on books today at Bookhaven, my favorite used book store. I like used book stores because even though I go with a list, something great always jumps out at me, or something apparently great since I don’t know until I’ve read it. I found books from my list that made the last cut. I found books on my list that went to the 'no' pile (this time), like Samuel Beckett’s I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On. I found books I didn’t know I wanted but it turned out I did. Of course some books on my list weren’t there, like Liz Jensen’s Ark Baby and Richard Ford’s Canada, which, yes, I left behind in Frankfurt. Here’s what I left the bookstore with:

Old Filth by Jane Gardam. This has been on my list a long time, and last trip I didn’t find it at the Strand in NYC. This is a novel about an 80-year old character Sir Edward Feathers, nicknamed Old Filth, Filth being an acronym for Failed in London Try Hong Kong. I must admit part of the charm of this book is the title.

The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek. I also looked for this at the Strand last trip but no dice, so I left with Wonderful Wonderful Times instead, which was intense. This is about a piano teacher who becomes entangled in crazy sexual relations with a student. I don’t hope everyone dies at the end but they probably do.

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright. Another one from the list. About Al-Qaeda in the run-up to 9/11. Won the Pulitzer for non-fiction.

Recyclopedia by Harryette Mullen. Poetry. Not on the list, just found it on the shelf and browsing proved promising so voila.

In a Landscape of Having to Repeat by Martha Ronk. Ditto above. Never heard of her until today.

Little, Big by John Crowley. From the list. Off the beaten track. Has the potential to disappoint. Fantasy fiction. Here’s hoping.

What a Carve-Up! by Jonathan Coe. From the list. I’ve heard this political novel is very funny. I need that.

Plainsong by Kent Haruf. From the list. I’ve seen some rave reviews. It has the potential to be a goody-two-shoes community novel but maybe that’s ok?

Morte D’Urban by J.F. Powers. Another from the list that I wanted because of the strength of various reviews. It’s a comic novel about a priest, but the priesthood is comic to begin with. Won the National Book Award for fiction the year I was born.

The Stories of J.F. Powers. Not from the list, just saw it, loved the cover, decided I haven’t done enough stories this year, paid my money and left.


Anonymous said...

savory. thanks for sharing your list. one of my brothers keeps a list in his wallet. it's such a joy to watch him in conversation take his wallet from his back pocket, thumb through his dollar bills until he gets to his list. then he asks for a pencil.

poppy said...

HI Sarah -

I enjoyed Old Filth, but Little,Big was a little too little, a little too big. I read it because it is Harold Bloom's favorite book. Not mine, you can guess.

SarahJane said...

I am glad you liked Old Filth. I don't know a soul who's read it. I just liked the seemingly lurid title.

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