Books I Didn’t Really Need (But Bought Anyway)

For today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, we’re asked to list ten books that recently came into our possession. I wish I could say I shopped for books with a plan or a list, but I’m pretty random when it comes to buying. Either I’ll see something on sale, or I’ll just see something from my wishlist mentioned and decide I have to have it NOW.

When I was making this list, I noticed something interesting (to me, anyway): this list includes no advanced readers’ copies (ARCs). Last year, ARCs would have been more than 50 percent of my list, but after getting behind on reviews last year (and watching my own TBR backlist grow), I decided to stop requesting them. While it was fun to get early access to books by some of my favorite authors (Tana French, Donna Tartt, Kate Atkinson, to name a few), I also started to notice that more and more people were gaining access, which meant that any review really entered the noise on pub day. Back in Ye Olde Book Blogging Times (or even in 2009 when I started this blog), ARCs were somewhat rarer, so only a couple of bloggers would have early reviews. The rest of us were reading from a wide range of books instead of just the latest and greatest, and I’ll be honest: it was more fun for me to discover books that way, and maybe that’s why I’m having more fun this year with my TBR.

Here are my ten most recent purchases:

Possession, A.S. Byatt. I’ve been meaning to pick this up ever since I read The Children’s Book back in 2010. I’ve been in the mood for longer, dense books, but they don’t always make for good blogger habits, especially for someone like me who reads one book at a time. And look at that cover! So pretty!

Possession
The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles. Another one I’ve been meaning to get to since 2010, when I read The Magus and The Collector, both of which I enjoyed thoroughly.

The French Lieutenant's Woman
Our Souls at Night, Kent Haruf. The final book from Haruf, one of my favorite writers, and the last installment of the series that began with Plainsong.

Our Souls at Night
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography, Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was a huge fan of the Little House books as a girl, so when I heard about this annotated autobiography I knew I had to have it. It’s a beautiful book and I’m sure it will be fascinating, but it’s hella big. I definitely won’t be reading it in bed.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography
A Dual Inheritance, Joanna Hershon. Let’s see, part campus novel, part friendship epic, preppies lounging on the cover…just had my name all over it.

A Dual Inheritance
Wonderland, Stacey D’Erasmo. In general I don’t think there are enough novels about musicians, but most certainly there aren’t enough about female musicians. This was all over Best Books lists in 2014.

Wonderland
Astonish Me, Maggie Shipstead. I loved Seating Arrangements, I love ballet, I was crazy about Mikhail Baryshnikov growing up, so…what, did you want more?

Astonish Me
My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante. So many people have been talking about this trilogy, and the first book was on sale so I thought, why not? I’ve already read it and should have a review later this week, but here’s a sneak peek: This novel is Cat’s Eye meets Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, set in post-WWII Naples, and it’s beautiful. (Haven’t read Cat’s Eye or Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Then why are you still reading this post? Go find copies and read them!)

My Brilliant Friend

Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff. This has been on my wishlist since its pub day, and I swear I added it because I heard an interview with Schiff on Fresh Air but I cannot find a link to it. Maybe it was all a dream. Anyway, I’ve been in a non-fiction mood lately, even though I continue to read novels because it’s faster for the blog (and faster is a relative term here…ahem). It’s a conundrum, but at some point I’ll have to say so what and read this one. (An aside: I bought this through Google Books because I had some credit. Their reader seems to be okay, I think. Anyone have thoughts on this versus the Kindle/Kindle App?)

Cleopatra: A Life

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline. Another Google Books credit purchase, this novel just sounds like a fun escape. I have so little time to read and even less time to play games these days, so maybe I can get my fix reading a book about other people playing games. Certainly I understand that need to escape reality now and again (says the former Undead Priest. For the Horde!).

Ready Player One

Do you buy books based on a list or plan, or do you buy according to mood or occasion?

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8 comments

  1. Definitely buy books on a whim! For a long time I didn’t buy many books at all, since I work at a public library and have access to pretty much anything. But after my son was born I decided that buying books was a (relatively inexpensive) way to treat myself and honor my own needs and wants. So now if I really want a book, I buy it. Plus, it’s good modeling for my son to have lots of books in the house! 🙂 PS… I loved My Brilliant Friend and just purchased the second one in the series. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Not sure where my comment went so apologies if this is a repeat!

    Love Ferrante! And I hope you do too. Ready Player One is such a fun read.

    I’m a big fan of the library so buying books is a rare treat. But I do go a bit crazy at library book sales! It’s for a good cause after all.

  3. I pretty much only buy books at library sales or when I’m on vacation. For some reason those are the only two times when I can justify spending the money on books for myself. So most of my books are birthday and Christmas presents.

  4. Laila, as I told Olduvai, I loved My Brilliant Friend and cannot wait to read the others. As far as buying books, I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t buy much of anything else, so when I treat myself, as you say, that’s the way I do it. I DO feel guilty abut buying books and not reading them right away, like I used to…*side eyes bookshelf*

  5. I’ve read the second book in the series but haven’t started on the third. I think I may wait until the last one is published (September?) before I start on it though ,

  6. Did you have a chance to get to either Our Souls at Night or Wonderland? I am a huge Haruf fan and was so sad that this was the last time we’d get to read anything new from him. Benediction is one of my all-time favorites.

    I think you’ll like Wonderland. I was lucky enough to get to interview D’Erasmo when she was in Seattle and she was so warm and funny. I really liked the novel so it was exciting to get to talk with the author!

  7. Catherine, I have not read either of them yet. Haruf is one of my all-time favorite writers (Plainsong is my favorite, followed by Benediction and The Ties That Bind). I have no real excuse for not reading it yet, except that other things were just more compelling at the time.

    That’s so cool that you got to interview D’Erasmo! I am going to go hunt for it on your blog. It’s funny because we’re going to Amsterdam on vacation in October and that’s one I have flagged to read on the plane. I like things I can get through in one flight.

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