Fall Library Sale

It’s that time of year again! Our local library recently had its semi-annual used book sale. Usually, I’ll pick up ten or twelve books at these things—this time, I got 27.

Anyhow . . .

A quick disclaimer: the links to the Book Depository are affiliate links. The Amazon links, however, are not. A few of these books are very rare and out of print, so they don’t have links at all.


Affinities: a Short Story Anthology edited by John Tytell and Harold Jaffe – Plenty of good names on this table of contents: Turgenev, Kafka, Chekhov, Poe, Anaïs Nin. Really, it was Chekhov who sold it to me. (See my last post.)

The Bad Beginning and The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket – A friend recommended the Series of Unfortunate Events long ago and assured me that it doesn’t really matter what order you read the books in. Since then, I’ve been snapping them up at sales whenever I find them.

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope – Suzannah from Vintage Novels loves Trollope, and recommended this novel in particular. It’s the second in Trollope’s “Chronicles of Barsetshire” series, each installment of which deals with a different town in Barsetshire and a different minister in each of those towns.

It’s got a pretty gold foil cover, but the illustrations are vaguely reminiscent of Curious George.







The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien – Despite both my enthusiasm for the Inklings and Tolkien’s making semi-regular appearances in my Bookish Links posts, I have yet to read an entire Tolkien novel from start to finish. Here’s hoping that changes soon.

Gone Girl by Gillan Flynn – Michael from Lessons from the Screenplay made this story sound really, really interesting.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – The film is a favorite of mine. The book, I’ve been told, is much different from the movie and I’d like to know how.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Mostly, I just want to be able to understand all of the references that other books and movies make to this novel.

Medieval Russia’s Epics, Chronicles, and Tales edited and translated by Serge A. Zenkovsky – In spite of its rather alarming cover, I was happy to find this. I’m curious to see what these stories are like, since what little medieval literature I’ve read has come almost entirely from the British isles.







The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham – This novel was the basis for another favorite movie of mine, the 1946 adaptation with Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney. I’ve actually started to read this one already. Hopefully, there will be a review before too long.


50 Essays: a Portable Anthology, Second Edition edited by Samuel Cohen – As with Affinities, a few of the names in this collection especially caught my eye: Richard Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Annie Dillard—all authors I either love already or am keen to try.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt – This very famous memoir recounts the author’s childhood in 1940s Ireland, where he grew up in a desperately poor family with an alcoholic father. This one will probably make an appearance on the blog next March for Reading Ireland Month.

The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Helen Vendler – Of course, Helen Vendler is one of the most famous and most widely-respected literary critics in the world, but for some reason, I’ve never gotten around to reading any of her books. This looks like a good place to start.

Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World’s Best Poems by Camille Paglia – I read an excerpt of this book here and decided to keep an eye out for it. I’ve read a few chapters so far, and while they haven’t been as mind-blowing as I hoped (I came up with most of her points about Donne’s “Holy Sonnet XIV” by myself), she does offer some intriguing perspectives.

Collins Roberts French-English English-French Dictionary by Beryl T. Atkins, Alain Duval, and Rosemary C. Milne (et al.) – Up until now, I’ve gotten by with the small Merriam-Webster dictionary I bought for high school, though it happens every now and then that I find a word in a French text that it doesn’t include. This dictionary, on the other hand, is far more extensive.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, edited by W. Grinton Berry – A sixteenth-century British minister’s famous account of the history of Christian persecution. I’ve already read some of it from Project Gutenberg, but it’s nice to have a hard copy too.

I and Thou by Martin Buber, tr. by Ronald Gregor Smith – I’m cautiously beginning to enter the field of philosophy. I bought this book because it has been referenced more than once in some of my other reading.

Latin: an Introductory Course Based on Ancient Authors by Frederic M. Wheelock – As a student of French, I’ve often thought that some knowledge of Latin might be helpful. Wheelock (I’ve been told) is the expert for books on learning Latin.

Marina Tsvetaeva: Author by Tom Vtoroy – A Russian language biography of the great Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva. I can’t really read much Russian yet, but it looked interesting, and it could be an example of Russian text to measure my reading skills against later. After Googling the name on the little tag on the back, I found out that this book apparently came from Beryozka, Soviet Russia’s state-run department store. My sister says the cover is probably full of microfilm. We shall see.







The Paris Review Interviews Volume I – Mere days after I learned the heartbreaking news that The Paris Review has put all of their interviews behind a paywall, I found this book. It collects sixteen interviews from across the history of The Paris Review, none of which I got the chance to read while they were free.

Promenades Littéraires et Grammaticales by Renée Waldinger and Gisèle Corbière-Gille – For practicing French!

Secrets in the Dark: a Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner – A couple of other bloggers (Christopher and Ethan) piqued my interest in this particular writer. Buechner is a Presbyterian minister and author who’s writing deals especially with the concepts of faith, doubt, and imagination.

The Shaker Cook Book: Not by Bread Alone by Caroline B. Piercy – This book apparently was part of a series of cookbooks focusing on the cuisines of different cultures. There was a Polish cookbook, an Israeli cookbook, a Chinese cookbook, and this Shaker cookbook that I picked up for I don’t really know what reason. I doubt if I’ll ever cook anything in it, but it looked interesting nevertheless.


Le Livre d’Or de la Poésie Française Contemporaine by Pierre Seghers – A book of contemporary French poetry, published in the 1960s. I think it will be good French reading practice, mais non?

Songs of Innocence by William Blake – An interesting little edition printed in the 1970s with all of Blake’s original illustrations included. It’s pretty and strange.

To Urania by Joseph Brodsky – These sales almost never have any translated books, let alone translated poetry. I’ve been quite interested in Brodsky’s work lately, so I was excited to find this buried in a stack of Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain.

With Cat for Comforter by Ray Bradbury – This book is a longish illustrated poem about cats. It’s also a Ray Bradbury book that I didn’t have, and had never even heard of before. The Bradbury completist in me wanted it.







Do let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought about them!

5 thoughts on “Fall Library Sale

  1. What a treasure trove! Isn’t it weird how sometimes, you come home from the library book sale with like two books and the whole endeavor was most disappointing, and then other times you run out of books to haul home your stash? Happens to me that way, anyway.

    I’m leading a read-along of LOTR starting Nov. 1 if you’re interested. Details are here. If you want to try reading it that way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. like the razor’s edge and angela’s ashes very much, and the Trollope!! i wonder if the Susan Howatch CofE books were inspired by these. may i ask what stopped you reading any JRRT books. I too did not get right into them at first.


  3. Interesting books! Have you read much in French? I am reading Manon des sources right now and would love recommendations if you’ve found anything you like. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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