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
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.