I usually do a weekly summary on Sundays, but I just did a monthly sum-up yesterday. I’d be repeating myself if I did another summary the day after the first one. Not that much has happened in the past day.
Instead of a Sunday Sum-Up, then, I’ve decided to post my August book haul because I bought a ridiculous number of books last month. I’m trying to convince myself that I didn’t spend as much as it seems, since most of them were used or on sale. But it’s still a lot of books. September is officially a book-buying ban month. For real this time.
After deciding that I would refer back to J.R.R. Tolkien’s many letters during my The Lord of the Rings reread, I decided to just buy a copy for myself, rather than continuing to borrow one from the library. While I was there, I decided to pick up a copy of Roverandom, which I owned at one point but apparently lost, and Letters from Father Christmas, which is for children but looked completely charming. Because you can find a lot of inexpensive books at Abebooks (assuming you don’t mind dreadfully slow shipping), I got all three for just under $13.
Thanks to a new kitten and a couple of sales at the used bookstore downtown, I visited there more often than I normally do in a month. I got most of my books there, and while there’s a cute little sign by their register that proclaims that piggy banks love used bookstores, mine begs to differ.
I bought a 1991 edition of The Lord of the Rings, which is the one I’ll be using for the LotR reread because I’ll be taking a lot of notes, as well as a paperback copy of The Hobbit, which had a beautiful Alan Lee painting on the cover. There was a gorgeous paperback copy of Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough, and a translation of Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country. I also bought three books about books: Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion by Leona Rostenberg and Madeline Stern, A Passion for Books which is a collection of bookish essays edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan, and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, A History by Lewis Buzbee.
The final tale from J.R.R. Tolkien’s manuscripts edited by his son Christopher Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin, was released on August 30th. I, of course, had pre-ordered a copy and picked it up as soon as I could. Because Barnes and Noble was having a massive sale, I bought two other books, as well: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I read both O Pioneers! and Wuthering Heights for school, and didn’t enjoy them at the time, but perhaps another reading of them is in order. I’m older now, and it did take me three tries and a college graduation to fall in love with Pride and Prejudice.
The last couple of books were neither used nor on sale, but they looked so intriguing and relevant to my desire to become a more thoughtful reader and a better critic that I couldn’t resist. So far, A.O. Scott’s Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth has been an entertaining and informative read, and it’s made me think more deeply about the things I read and watch. I haven’t started Francine Prose’s What to Read and Why, but it looks like it will be interesting. I think I’ve read some of Prose’s other work, and I recall liking it, but that’s all I can remember about it.
I also received four NetGalley ARCS! I’ve read one of them, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo. The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston is next on the list, but the others aren’t coming out for a while, so they’ll have to wait. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri comes out in mid-November, and Tracy Borman’s Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him is due out in the US in January 2019.
I may have gone a little overboard on the book buying in August… I will definitely have to rein myself in in September. I have plenty of unread books on my shelves. I don’t need to add any more to that list!