Yes, I made another pass through Borders.

No, I haven’t read the books from the last two trips, but sixty per cent off is too much for any book junkie to resist.  The Borders in my neighborhood is clearing out, but there were still plenty of goodies to be had, and I came away with two hardbacks and five trade paperbacks, about $100 worth of books for which I paid $40.  How could I resist that much shopping fun?

I started in the World History alcove, with an eye out for a book I didn’t find, and picked up two there.  The first was another “blame it on NPR” book, Pirates of Barbary by Adrian Tinniswood.  That goes on the stack with other books Public Radio interviews have turned me on to:  the fall of the Comanches, the history of Prohibition, and that scholarly biography of James Tiptree Jr.  Further down the shelf I found An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage.  Several decades ago I majored in anthropology and archeology at Florida State University, and I’ve always been interested in the history of foods and their connections to culture.  (I do have a couple of books about edible humanity in my library, from a project involving an Aztec background.)

In the mystery section I spotted a novel by Georgette Heyer, They Found Him Dead.  This is not one of the Regency romances Heyer is most famous for (I have a couple of those, as yet unread, on my Kindle), but a mystery first published in 1937, one of a dozen or so she wrote.  Somehow when I was reading my way through British mysteries of that era, devouring the works of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and Margerie Allingham, I missed Heyer.  I haven’t read anything by Alexander McCall Smith, either, so I picked up The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, the first in what has become a very popular series.

On the science fiction racks I found an anthology called Chicks Kick Butt.  The title pretty much says it all.  Some of the names I’m familiar with, some I haven’t read, and the stories should be a good introduction to some new authors.

Not far down the shelf I found a recent edition of a book I have read a number of times, Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank.  Of all the Cold War era after-the-nuclear-holocaust novels, this was one of the best, and my personal favorite.  Written in 1959, when I was a kid being told it was possibly to survive an attack by hiding under my desk, and set in Florida, where I lived at the time, Alas, Babylon is a story of survival and hope.  The copy I found on my shelf when I got home wasn’t quite as far gone as the Wyndham novels I recently replaced, but it was printed in 1970 and cost 95 cents.  It would stand up to another reading or two, but the pages are yellow and the print is small.  I’m glad to have another copy, and I’ll read it again.

I may never read Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum again, but when I saw it on the bargain rack near the front of the store I picked it up.  Put it back.  Picked it up again.  The Tin Drum is a long, dense, complex German novel, written in 1959 and still hugely popular when I was in college in the late 60s.  My friends and I had quotes from the book on our dorm walls.  This edition is a new translation sponsored by Grass himself in time for the novel’s fiftieth anniversary.  It cost me $1.50, in hardback.

Bookshelves were going three for $100.  I was tempted, but I drive a Toyota.  Toyotas have big trunks, and I can fit a lawnmower in my Corolla, but I had to pass on the bookshelves.  I’ll just have to make more space on the ones I have.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ermilia
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 04:02:26

    I’m so sad Borders closed. My mom used to work there and loved it. We moved where there was only a Waldons and that went out before Borders did. Now, I’ve spent a nice chunk of change at B&N instead. So long as I don’t watch them make my coffee (because I used to work at Starbucks and they do it wrong) I’m getting to like the place, but just like the band/orchestra rivalry that dies only on the deathbed, my heart will always belong to borders.

    Post a review of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency when you’re done, I’m debating picking that up when I’m done with my current to be read list. http://wp.me/p1HrCI-3K

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    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 04, 2011 @ 13:27:06

      Ermilia, if my friend Colleen is this enthusiastic, I’d say The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is a safe bet. I’ll have to push it up toward the top of my To Be Read pile (which is actually several shelves).
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Colleen Thompson
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 10:02:56

    I *loved* The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I’ve glommed the whole series, snapping up each new entry the day it comes out. You just have to understand that it’s all about the characters (and the marvelously-rendered Botswana setting) and not expect too much to happen. 🙂 But I could sit and read Precious Ramotswe’s ruminations over bush tea forever. Enjoy! And it sounds as if you’ve snapped up some terrific book bargains!

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  3. Cheryl Bolen
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 15:00:02

    I have not read the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, but after hearing about it, I got from Netflex the HBO series based on the books. Can’t remember if HBO got this from the BBC (which they often do). But being a huge lover of mysteries — currently rereading Josephine Tey, whom I adore — I had to check it out. We got two episodes on one disc.

    Did not watch the second. It’s just not my idea of an engaging mystery. More about life in Botswana, which looks like a very small town set down in the midst of the Mojave Desert, to me. I don’t mean to have a cultural bias, but if Botswana looks like that, then no way would I ever go there. Nothing pretty to recommend it.

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  4. Ermilia
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 00:52:44

    Haha, mine would be several shelves, but I’m packing up to move so thankfully, most of my books are in boxes giving me less to chose from. HAve you ever listened to, “The Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz? it’s about having too many choices so that you actually end up being less satisfied or so overwhelmed that you freeze and do nothing at all? That’s where I feel I am with my book shelves sometimes. I both love and hate book shopping because there’s so many pretty ones calling my name saying “read me, read me.”

    “The Paradox of Choice” on TED.com http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html

    -Elia

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