Sunday Salon: More Book Binging

After my huge spree at the Green Valley Book Fair this month, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make July a month of acquiring with abandon. So today when I went to the Daedalus Books Warehouse with Frances and Thomas, I didn’t hold back. Daedalus is a warehouse of remaindered books in Maryland, just outside DC. I hadn’t been before, but Frances and Thomas suggested visiting it together a while back, and we thought it would be fun to go together.

Daedalus is set up more like a traditional bookstore, albeit a no-frills one, than Green Valley, but the bargains are just about as good, and the selection was also impressive. With any kind of store like this, you can’t go determined to get a particular book, but when your tastes are as wide-ranging as mine, it’s not hard to find something worth taking home. Today, I mostly got books by authors I keep meaning to try, as well as a few books recommended by other bloggers—Frances and Thomas among them of course, as they were there to make recommendations in person.

So here’s the booty:


  • Home by Marilynne Robinson: I’ve already read and loved this, but I didn’t actually own a copy.
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf: It makes me slightly sad that my one experience with Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway in college) was so terrible when so many blogging friends love her so much. Emily recommended this as a possible good choice to try again with, and it was the one I had in mind as well. So I have it. We shall see.
  • The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago. I’ve wanted to read more of Saramago’s books since discovering The Double and Blindness two years ago. This title is naturally one that appeals to my theological side. I don’t know that I’ll agree with his take on Jesus, but I’m sure it’ll give me plenty to think about.
  • The King Must Die by Mary Renault. Renault’s version of the Theseus story has been on my list for ages.
  • A Time to Be Born by Dawn Powell. Powell has been on my radar ever since I saw Danielle’s review of Dance Night. There were a couple of Powells to choose from, and Frances said both were worthwhile. I went with the one with the prettier cover.
  • As We Are Now by May Sarton. I’d never even heard of Sarton, but Thomas’s impassioned description of this book about a woman in an old age home was utterly irresistible.
  • Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. I loved The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet so much that I want to go back and read Mitchell’s earlier books. His debut novel was the only one available today, but I hear I can’t really go wrong.
  • Dictation by Cynthia Ozick. Jenny put Ozick on my radar, and when I was pondering the three or four Ozick offerings, Frances said this collection of four stories was the one to try.
  • The Tsar’s Dwarf by Peter H Fogtdal. Catherine‘s review of this book about an angry young dwarf in the court of Peter the Great put this on my list just last week. I couldn’t believe my luck at finding it.
  • The Photograph by Penelope Lively. Another author I’ve been meaning to try. There were only a couple of options, and Thomas said this one was pretty good (though not as good as Consequences, which they did not have, alas).
  • Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann. I can’t remember who put me onto Lehmann, but I know I’ve seen her name around, and the description on the back cover was too good to pass up: “Ill-at-ease in a flame-coloured, home-made dress and with a gawky would-be curate as an escort, Olivia Curtis endures her first dance.”
  • Veronica by Mary Gaitskill. This is one of those titles I keep seeing and being curious about without ever quite knowing what it’s about. I’m not even sure I’ve seen it reviewed.
  • I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted by Jennifer Finley Boylan. Eva put this memoir about a transgendered woman growing up in a haunted house on my radar. (Is that a niche-y concept for a book or what?)
  • Thomas Hardy: A Life by Claire Tomalin. Thomas Hardy. A highly regarded biographer. How could I not, being the abject Hardy devotee that I am.
  • The Professor’s House by Willa Cather. This was a gift from Thomas. I’ve wanted to read Cather for ages, and this is a book that Thomas is a bit of an evangelist for. I did promise that I would put it at the top of my list, and that if I didn’t love it that I would lie. (And I do fully expect to love it, having heard good things about it from others.

So that’s the haul. I also really enjoyed spending time with Frances and Thomas (who are both extraordinarily well-read!) As seems to be the case with book-blogging folk, we never ran out of things to talk about, both bookwise and blogwise (but mostly bookwise). We weathered triple-digit temperatures and Thomas and I drove through a sudden violent storm (a common DC summer phenomenon). The storm was in fact so violent that I holed up in Thomas’s library for a while, breathing a sigh of relief that the downed tree in his street missed my car (but not the minivan right in front of it)! But I am home again, with lots of reading to do…


Notes from a Reading Life

Books Completed

  • The Outcast by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (Morland Dynasty #21). Harrod-Eagles does a nice job with the U.S. Civil War.
  • War on the Margins by Libby Cone. A well-done novel about the Channel Islands in World War II. (*whispering*I liked it better than the Guernsey one.)

Currently Reading

  • Four Past Midnight by Stephen King. Yes, I like Stephen King. I have ever since Jenny put a copy of The Dead Zone in my hands a good 15 years ago and made me read it. I’ve since kept up with most of his new books (through Lisey’s Story anyway) and read several us his early works but hardly any from the 1980s and early 1990s. So I’m picking through his backlist. This is a collection of four novellas. I’m almost done with the first.
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (audio). I wasn’t sure how well this would work on audio, but it didn’t take long for me to viddy that Alec’s horrorshow goloss wasn’t so hard to pony. I’m almost to the last disc, so I’ll probably finish this week.
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster (reread). I’m nearly done with this, my second read, of Forster’s masterpiece.
  • Waiting for God by Simone Weil. A collection of Weil’s essays and letters that I’m working through slowly. Reading just one or two selections each week, but only have two essays left.
  • Holy Vote by Ray Suarez. For my church’s book club. We read a bit each week and discuss it, so we’ll probably be reading for a couple more weeks.

New Acquisitions

  • A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott. A crime novel set in 1950s Scotland. Arrived unsolicited with a note thanking me for participating in the Atria Galley Alley promotion, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t do.  but the first few pages were OK, so I may give it a try. Or not.

On My Radar

  • Tearjerker by Daniel Hayes. A novelist kidnaps an editor to compel him to edit his novel, which is about his real-life situation. Lizzy at Lizzy’s Literary Life says, “Sounds contrived? Not at all. Tearjerker is metafictional and successfully so. It’s also very funny.” There’s also talk of em-dashes which means I’m required to read it.
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46 Responses to Sunday Salon: More Book Binging

  1. Wow, your Daedalus haul is a good one! I used to order books from their catalog all the time; some day I need to stop there when I am in Maryland visiting my Mom. I might get lost in there and never come out, though!

  2. Melissa says:

    We have a trip to Baltimore scheduled for September, and I just Mapquested Daedalus to see how far it is. Looks like this is within the realm of possibility! Sounds like this was a wonderful day.

  3. winstonsdad says:

    wow ,great haul loads of goodies there ,all the best stu

  4. Steph says:

    What a wonderful haul! Of course it just goes to show how vigilant we book lovers must be. One little purchase here and there can so easily avalanche into a full abandonment of our book buying bans! ;) Not that I blame you one bit! Daedalus Books sounds like a perfect paradise… If only I lived in the D.C. area…

  5. Skip says:

    Love The Professor’s House, even after writing a chapter about it in my dissertation (a process that is notoriously hard on literary affection).

    You probably won’t have to lie about it…

    • Teresa says:

      That’s very good to hear. I can only imagine how sick of even my favorites I might be after a dissertation. (Makes me a little happy I didn’t go to grad school in literature.)

  6. Wow! That whole stack looks great (well, maybe not the haunted one)! I’m jealous of your month of acquisition — I had an absolutely dry week, book-binging-wise. I got no book this past week at all, maybe for the first time in ever.

    I enjoyed The Photograph just fine. There was something hinky about the ending that bugged me and I think Moon Tiger is much better, but The Photograph was thoroughly entertaining.

    Enjoy!

    • Teresa says:

      My acquisitions had slowed down considerably, which made me happy because they were coming in faster than I could read them, but I’m also happy to have the choices on my shelf.

      I can’t remember what the other Lively option was, but it wasn’t Moon Tiger. I thought the premise of The Photograph looked interesting.

  7. amymckie says:

    Oh what a great list of new acquisitions! Lydia of The Literary Lollipop recently reviewed The Tsar’s Dwarf and has me really wanting it so I’m interested to hear what you think of it. Also, the Saramago book sounds really interesting.

    • Teresa says:

      It’ll probably be a while before I get to the Tsar’s Dwarf. I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity when I saw it. Catherine’s recommendations are usually quite reliable for me.

  8. The King Must Die is on my list too, although it’s paired with another Renault for maximum enjoyment. It came recommended that way.

  9. christina says:

    I definitely want to read A Clockwork Orange again; but I can’t imagine listening to it! Wow. What a surreal experience I’m sure.

    And also, yay for the splurges!

    • Teresa says:

      I’m almost done with Clockwork Orange, and I’m astonished at how well it works on audio. I think hearing it at the reader’s pace means I can’t get too worried about not knowing what every word mean. I can just ride the wave.

  10. Danielle says:

    What what a perilous journey and all in the name of books (glad your car was okay!). I used to get the Daedalus catalogs and they do have some great books–I didn’t realize they have a warehouse–it looks like you found some great books. Yay for Dawn Powell–I hope you like her and this is a reminder I need to read more. And I am reading The Professors House right now and it’s really good. Enjoy your boooks!

    • Teresa says:

      I think I used to get the Daedalus catalog too. Since that’s their main business I imagine the selection is even better that way, but looking at the books in person is such fun!

      I do plan to read The Professor’s House in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll be interested to compare notes.

  11. I would send you toward Home first and then toward The Photograph. Two amazing reads.

    Great purchases!

    • Teresa says:

      I’ve read Home already, and it is amazing! This copy was just for my permanent collection. And I’m glad to hear another endorsement of The Photograph.

  12. Great haul! It is always dangerous to go book shopping with other blggers – I always find their suggestions lead to far more purchases :-)

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Saramago – I really want to read that one, but haven’t found a copy yet.

    Enjoy your new books :-)

  13. Eva says:

    I just got The Tsar’s Dwarf from the library! It was a great review, wasn’t it? And I can’t wait to see your thoughts on I’m Looking Through You. ;)

    LMAO at your thoughts on A Clockwork Orange!

  14. bookssnob says:

    Wow fantastic haul! And crazy sounding weather! How lovely that you and Frances and Thomas got to meet up – book bloggers are the friendliest people!

  15. litlove says:

    Oh fabulous! I loved The Photograph and Invitation to the Waltz is on my top twenty. Several books there I’d like for myself! Looking forward to hearing all your reviews.

    • Teresa says:

      And another The Photograph endorsement! That will definitely be a priority. And I’m glad to hear I got a Lehmann that you enjoyed. I never know when I just pick a random book by an author I want to try. What if I got the worst one?

  16. diane says:

    What a wonderful collection; I have never heard of that place before.

  17. Iris says:

    That is a splendid haul! And I’m quite jealous of all the wonderful books you picked up!

  18. Sarah says:

    Lovely acquisitions Teresa! I prefer Virgina Woolf’s essays to her novels, and A Room of One’s Own shows her at her vivid, discursive and satirical best so is a good place to start. The Tomalin bio is wonderful as well.

    • Teresa says:

      I’m glad to hear that about Woolf. I do want to like her, and I suspect my dislike of Mrs Dalloway had as much to do with my age when I read it and my extreme dislike of stream-of-consciousness back then. I might feel completely differently now, 15 years later. Still, I want to start again with something that’s a better bet.

      I was so excited to get that biography. I’m getting close to having a complete Hardy collection, and this should be a wonderful supplement.

  19. The books at Daedalus were a distant second to the fun I had meeting you and Frances. And that crazy storm left a lot of my neighorhood without power all night. Thankfully I was spared.

    • Teresa says:

      Totally agreed. I’m looking forward to our next get together, whenever that may be.

      I saw on Twitter this afternoon that power is *still* out at Politics and Prose, so you were lucky.

  20. Kristen M. says:

    I might be in Maryland in September. I might need to find time to go to Daedalus!

    And I wish I had your copy of The Professor’s House because it matches another Cather I have. My copy doesn’t match. :(

    • Teresa says:

      If you’re in that part of Maryland, it’s worth a trip. And I believe there were plenty of matching Cathers. (I hate when mine don’t match, too.)

  21. Jenny says:

    *laughs* So when you said you needed more books like you needed a hole in the head, you meant you had just acquired a whole bunch of them. That’s really the best time to get one more book though–you can just sneak it in with your other new books and pretend it came with them. :p

    The King Must Die! Hooray! I just reread that and loved it way more than I did when I was in high school. But then I am feeling ridiculously fond of Mary Renault this summer. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything, so if you don’t have the sequel to hand, it won’t be killing you. If you do happen to want the sequel, though, it’s The Bull from the Sea.

    • Teresa says:

      It does seem like once I let the floodgates open, I can’t shut them again. But I’ve done well getting rid of books and not getting new books this year, so it’s ok. Two big sprees in one month should hold me for a while. The handful of singleton books I’m getting as well won’t seem like much in comparison ;)

  22. Frances says:

    I finally got power back! Was worried about the two of you as that storm came out of nowhere. Glad to hear that all is well and looking forward to another field trip soon.

  23. kiss a cloud says:

    Your stack is enviable!

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