An Accidental Book Haul

You know when you drive by a used bookstore and say to yourself: “Well, maybe I’ll just pop in for a few minutes…” That happened to me recently, though a few minutes quickly turned into a few books making their way to the check-out counter with me. Sometimes you just can’t help it…

These are the secondhand books I ended up purchasing:

Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros

I read a few of the stories in this collection for my Modern Latin American class this past semester and really enjoyed them, so I was thrilled when I saw this book on the shelf. Cisneros writes stories about life and culture on the border between Mexico and the United States, which is an incredibly fascinating and important focus. Though this collection is in English, there are plenty of Spanish words and phrases incorporated in her beautiful writing. From what I’ve read of this collection in the past, I know that her writing really makes you think about how we define culture, identity, and borders.

¡Yo! by Julia Alvarez

I’ve always wanted to read something by the prolific writer Julia Alvarez, but I never knew where to start with her novels. When I saw this sitting on the shelf I just decided to go for it and make this my starting point with her work. I was mostly intrigued by the fact that Yo is the name of the protagonist of the novel, yet it also refers to the pronoun “I” in Spanish… I love double meanings like this! I’m really looking forward to finally reading some of Alvarez’s writing.

Solibo Magnificent by Patrick Chamoiseau

I’ve never heard of this book or author before, but after reading the blurb on the back cover I couldn’t put Solibo Magnificent back on the shelf. It sounds like a strangely charming yet morbid story, one unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I’m really interested in learning about oral tradition in general, so I feel like this will be a really interesting book to read from that perspective as well. Fingers crossed this turns out to be a great impulse buy!

J.B.: A Play in Verse by Archibald MacLeish

Okay, I’m going to be completely honest here: I basically bought this book solely because of the gorgeous cover design. (I know, I’m the worst. But just look at that cover! How can you blame me??) After researching it a bit, I learned that it actually won both a Pulitzer Prize AND a Tony Award!!! Needless to say, I’m very excited and intrigued to read this play. I can’t believe I never heard about it until recently!

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

Joseph J. Ellis is one of my favorite historians. I love his book Founding Brothers, so when I saw this in the used bookstore I knew I had to grab it. I haven’t read many biographies, but this one on George Washington promises to be meticulously researched, brilliantly written, and incredibly interesting. I haven’t read much non-fiction lately, so this will be a great change of pace whenever I actually get around to reading it.

Hopefully I’ll find time to read at least a few of these books before I leave for England! What are your thoughts on these books? What books have you purchased or received recently? Let me know in the comments section below!



23 Replies to “An Accidental Book Haul”

  1. I’ve read some of both Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez and enjoyed both of them. And your other books look interesting to. I LOVE LOVE LOVE used bookshops; I haven’t been to one for a while 9because India), but last time I was in one I got this beautiful Daughter of Smoke and Bone hardcover. I’m so looking forward to living in new zealand where used books are quite common again.

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    1. It’s so good to hear you like Cisneros and Alvarez! And I agree: used bookshops are the best! I like to think of them as in between regular bookshops and libraries. The books are used, but you still get to keep them! 🙂

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  2. I can never seem to go into a used bookstore and walk out empty-handed, haha. You can find some seriously awesome hidden gems there and they’re usually really cheap, too. It’s a win-win! 🙂

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  3. I haven’t heard about any of the books you bought but they look so interesting! Especially Yo & Solibo Magnificent! I’m gonna have to check them out myself!
    And man, I’m so jealous of good used bookstores!! There aren’t that many in Poland and even if you find some, there are mostly books I wouldn’t want to buy anyway. :(( I’ll admit a lot of that is because since I started mostly reading in English a few years ago, I can’t seem to able to switch back to Polish but still!!!

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  4. Oopsies! The only secondhand bookstore where I live doesn’t have a very wide selection, and most of them aren’t ones I’m interested in. But I 100% support secondhand books because they’re cheap+it’s nice to reuse books. I read a short story/character sketch by Sandra Cisneros for my creative writing class, and IT WAS AMAZING even though it was very short (kind of like me, hahaha)

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  5. I love books! I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child. I can’t pass a used book store and like you, I always say I’ll only go in for a few minutes but often spend a couple of hours looking at whatever catches my eye. My biggest fear is that I’ll never get the chance to read all of the books I’ve bought over the years before I die. My favourites are biographies and true crime. I’m currently writing a book about my experiences of being raised in a doomsday cult and the negative lifelong effect it’s had on my life. Writing is also a passion, but trying to set up the best blog site for myself is very challenging as I’m not great with the technical aspects of using a computer. I learn better when someone shows me things in person as opposed to trying to figure it out on my own or with detailed instructions in an email or on the site itself.

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  6. I love the secondhand love here! Im in a bit of a reading slump trying to finish off a book im not that into. Plus im a total scrooge so no buying new books til I get through the massive pile at home! (Library books still totally acceptable!)

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