Wandering around a bookstore

One of the most therapeutic things I ever do is take an hour or two to wander around my Barnes & Noble. The best days are the ones that I don’t have much to do, anywhere to go, and nothing specific in mind. Especially when there are exciting new releases, I love to go and explore the shelves and see what stands out to me.

This is how I used to buy books when I was kid: there was no Goodreads or Amazon in my life, and no recommendations from friends. I had to pick books based on feelings, and yes, the covers. I try to do that more often: just wander around, pick books up and see what jumps out.

Today I did that, and I found some gems. Here’s what I bought:

I picked up The Golem and the Jinni from those New Releases tables, and the thing that first hooked me was, I won’t lie, the weight of the book. I think there’s something so much better about reading a physical book that feels good in your hand. When the binding is weak and the pages are light, I’m less satisfied with buying a book. I like it to feel weighty. And then I read the inside flap and decided to had to have it.

The first paragraph of the inside flap: “Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.” Seriously, so excited.

The second was a must-have: The Occupation Trilogy, three novels written in 1968 about the Occupation in Paris during World War II. This won a Nobel Prize in Literature. I’ve been fascinated with learning more about the Occupation ever since I read Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris, so this seemed like the perfect place to start.

I’m really excited to get into these! What’s your favorite way to find new books?

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These are the books I’m dying to get my hands on this fall

Alas, it is almost the end of August and come September, a whole slew of new books and new music will be released, and I can’t wait for any of them. I’m the kind of person who buys half a dozen new books and then lets them languish on my shelves for months while I read through my extensive back catalog of books, and the cycle continues ever on and on. But this fall, I’m so looking forward to ushering in a new, multi-hued season with these books.

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The Girl In The Spider’s Web

I don’t know how I feel about this one, to be quite honest. I was totally in love with the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series a few years back, but the trilogy satisfied me enough, and I’m not a huge fan of new authors continuing the thread of other authors’ stories. It feels somewhat disrespectful, and in any case, “sequels” like this are never as good as the original. Even so, I’ll have to stop by my library and peek into this one, and maybe I’ll be proven wrong!

Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray

I’ve been a huge fan of YA author Libba Bray since I was 12 or 13 years old, and it took her over three years to get her sequel to 2012’s The Diviners to a release date! She’s notoriously terrible with deadlines so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I’m still beyond impatient to read this YA novel. The first one is a supernatural historical thriller set in 1920s New York City. If that doesn’t sell you on this novel, nothing will!

The Girl From Krakow, Alex Rosenberg

This is a book I just heard of. It tells the story of a young Polish woman named Rita Feuerstahl who moves to the University of Krakow as a student in 1935, and it’s set against the looming presence of Nazism in Europe and World War II. Sounds like my kind of historical novel!

What is everyone looking forward to reading this fall? signoff

The Rory Gilmore Reading List // Take the challenge!

Have you heard of the Rory Gilmore Reading List? It’s an exhaustive list of every single book ever mentioned on Gilmore Girls, and it’s something like 300+ books long. You can find the complete Rory Gilmore Reading List here, and check off the ones you have or haven’t read! I’ve personally only read 74 of the 339 books (22%) so I had better get reading!

Seriously, Gilmore Girls ended seven years ago and it’s still my favorite show. I’d like to pretend I don’t plan my mornings around ABC Family reruns of it, but I’m not a liar. I’d also like to pretend I didn’t wear out my first set of DVDs and have to buy another but you get the point. The show never gets old. The writing is pithy and intelligent, the characters are well-written and complex, and I think I learned half of what I know about obscure pop culture references from watching it. But the best part of the show, in my opinion (besides Jess Mariano), is the emphasis on good literature.

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Book Lust & Black Friday

I wish bookstores had Black Friday sales so I could get a bestselling $27.95 hardcover for like seven bucks. That would be a merry Christmas! I guess I’ll just have to wait for Read Tuesday though. My family knows me very well by now so they know I usually ask for specific books and if they can’t find those, or if they’ve already been bought, a B&N gift card is always appreciated. On my wish list this year are several of those aforementioned expensive hardcovers released recently:

1. Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield

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I loved Setterfield’s first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, and was so excited by the prospect of another unique, many-layered novel like that. I read The Thirteenth Tale when I was very young, fourteen I think, and it was a book that made me stop reading YA for a time and focus on adult literature, and so I credit it with introducing me to new books and new authors. I’ve heard Bellman & Black has gotten less-than-stellar reviews but I’m still eager to experience it myself.

2. The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri

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Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favorite authors, even though her novel The Namesake was my least favorite of her books. I liked her short story collections much better, especially The Interpreter of Maladies. Anyway, I got sticker shock when I saw the price on that one and kept putting off a trip to the library so I could read the thing already, and then I decided to ask for it for Christmas. I’m super excited for it, even though all my other Lahiri books are paperback! But I do like mismatched shelves, and I like hardcovers even more.

3. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

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I found such a gorgeous hardcover edition of this classic at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago and had to forcibly stop my hand from picking it up and buying it immediately. I want this edition specifically because it’s pretty because I’m sure I could get a cheap paperback of this for close to nothing. Unfortunately, I like pretty books.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Box Set Trilogy, Stieg Larsson

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This one is a guilty pleasure. I loved the books but I don’t own them, having borrowed them from my sister a couple years ago. She’s got the cloth-covered box set that I covet, and since they’re so expensive, I feel like they’d make a great gift from my long-suffering family! Barring that, I’ll get myself a used set. Pre-loved, I always say.

What’s on your wish list this holiday season?

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