Today, I thrifted. Hard. For the last year or so I have nary touched a new book. Because I’m such an eyes-are-bigger-than-stomach kind of reader (which should read as “eyes are bigger than eyes” but that makes no sense) I have the tendency to buy books in bulk, let the volumes languish on my shelves, and then re-read like a fiend while the new books sit and stew and get jealous of the older ones. So I’d been making a conscious effort to read all the books I already own before buying any new ones.
That ended today. In a big way.
I blame the Westsider. My favorite bookstore in New York is literally a hole in the wall, two floors, and what seems like a million distinct titles jammed together so tight if you take one book out the others exhale and leave no room for you to replace it. But that’s okay, because you can always buy that book and give it a nice home, aka your already overstuffed shelves.
Books follow me home like sad puppies. And I fall for it every time.
First I hit the Strand because I had some old (read: terrible) books to sell and with the credit I received, I bought the most expensive book I could afford: a $15 copy of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. The only other Murakami I’ve read is Norwegian Wood, which I’ll review in due time. I thought it time to dive into his repertoire. Since I hardly ever read by-author (I tend to read by-interest, if that makes sense), and since I successfully just read a block of books by Eugenides and liked the experience of focusing on one author for a good amount of time, I figured this was a good place to start.
So I bought Michel Faber’s novels, novellas, and short stories because I am a Crimson Petal and the White fangirl. And then I bought a new translation of Madame Bovary, partly because of the pretty, pretty girl on the cover. And then I treated myself to one guilty pleasure: a 1968 edition of one of my favorite novels, A Room With A View. It’s green and it’s got gold lettering on the cover. And it was $7.
Then I left before I could look at the new arrivals section. They gave me a free tote bag as well, because those masterminds at the Strand know I’m a sucker for hipsteresque canvas. I’d call them evil if I didn’t love their prices so much.
After a brief sojourn into a Housing Works, I headed uptown to my happy place, Westsider Books. This place is so quiet and so cramped; there are books piled floor-to-ceiling, two deep on the shelves and alphabetized only lazily, so you really have to search to find something. This place is less “I’m looking for this” and more “Wow, I can’t believe I found this.” Come with no expectations, no book list, and you’ll invariably leave with gold. It’s every book lover’s dream.
I allowed myself five new books, each representing an author I’d like to explore deeper: McEwan, Garcia Marquez, Coelho, Parker, and as a treat, Andrea Levy’s Small Island (it was required reading for a study abroad class and sadly I left it in London when my suitcase became too packed with stolen pint glasses).
Here’s my whole haul:
At least it’s out of my system. I can stop whenever I want.