The Last Book(s) I Bought

I have to admit: I’ve been on a bit of a book buying tear.¬†IMG_8573.JPG
After not buying books for the first months of 2017, I have bought¬†5 in the last month. It all started on Independent Bookstore Day when I took a ride out to one of my favorite shops and walked away with three books: Colson Whitehead’s¬†The Underground Railroad, Emily St. John Mandel’s¬†Station Eleven, and Lindy West’s¬†Shrill.

Of the three, I’ve already read¬†Shrill and I absolutely adored it.¬†The book of essays – which toes the lines between funny and serious – was truly a wonderful read. West’s asides, musings, and watchful eye were exactly what I needed at the moment I read it (don’t you just love when that happens?).

This weekend, I caught up with an old friend (and lovely librarian) for brunch that included wonderful conversation (both bookish and not), Strawberry-Rose Lemonade, and breakfast food (burrito for me; omelet for her). We spent a few moments lusting over everything in Anthropologie before moving onto the most important part of the day: perusing an independent bookstore.

We spent time looking through a bookstore that like the Tardis was (much) bigger on the inside. The store looked small and intimate from the outside but once you step inside it is a labyrinth of shelves and even a second story. I was immediately smitten.

The shelves, which were almost up to the surprisingly-tall ceilings, were overflowing with books, and the store had that perfect smell for which this blog is named: worn books. It was the type of place where I would have wanted to curl up in a corner with a stack of books. I could have run my fingers along the book spines all day.

It took a little while but I ended up with two books I’ve been wanting to read (and have picked up and put down at other bookstores): Kristopher Jansma’s Why We Came to the City and¬†Ann Patchett’s¬†¬†Commonwealth.¬†Welcome to the family!

P.S. Three of these books were on my top books of 2016 that I would read in 2017. Take that, reading goals!

*     *     *

What books have you bought recently?¬†Have you read any of these books? Do you also lust of everything in Anthropologie? Please tell me I’m not alone, okay?

Advertisements

The Last Book(s) I Bought: A Little Life & The Art of Memoir

Last weekend, while on a mission for doughnuts,¬†I stumbled into a nearby bookstore with my best friend and boyfriend. I haven’t been in an independent bookstore in a while,¬†so browsing the stacks and handwritten staff recommendations ended the way it usually does: with me walking out with new books. The two books I bought–one fiction, one non-fiction–are both at the top of my To-Read list.

The first was Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, which was a Man Booker Prize Nominee in 2015. Clocking in at over 800 pages, the novel chronicles the lives of four college classmates–Jude, JB, Willem, and Malcolm–and the highs and lows of their lives. Particularly the lows. The novel touches on addiction, trauma, suffering, success, pride, and male friendship.

Ever since this book was released a year ago I knew I wanted to read it (and own a copy).¬†It’s well known that¬†A Little Life¬†is deeply depressing¬†and¬†unbelievably tragic– I mean, just look at the anguish on the cover.

It’s no secret that I am an extremely emotional person and I knew this book would level me, so I wanted to be ready. Last weekend I finally was. ¬†The combination of finding an absolutely adorable bookshop with my favorite people put me in the perfect mood to take¬†A Little Life¬†home with me.

IMG_5460.JPG

The second book I bought was Mary Karr’s¬†The Art of Memoir. Known by many as the person who sparked the contemporary memoir craze, Karr has written three best-selling¬†memoirs: The Liars’ Club, Lit, and Cherry. I’ve never read any of her work but she was mentioned often in my creative writing classes. She is also a favorite among my favorites (particularly Cheryl Strayed).

I heard about Karr’s newest book from two podcasts I listen to: Fresh Air and Dear Sugar. I’ve always been a fan of ars poeticas where writer’s explore the ways they write along with where, when, and how. On the book jacket, it says that¬†The Art of Memoir¬†joins the ranks of Stephen King’s¬†On Writing¬†and Anne Lamott’s¬†Bird by Bird ¬†– two of my favorite writing-about-writing books. If it’s anything like those two books, I have a feeling I’ll be adding¬†The Art of Memoir¬†to my favorites shelf in no time.

*        *        *

What was the last book(s) you bought? Were they fiction or nonfiction? Have you read A Little Life or The Art of Memoir? If yes, what did you think? If not, do you want to? Let me know in the comments

The Last Book I Bought: Americanah

Americanah1

By Carolyn Quimby | @CarolynQuimby, @WornBookSmell

Two weeks ago, I had an appointment in the city near Union Square, so I decided to drop into my favorite book store in the entire world¬†‚ÄĒ The Strand Bookstore.

For those of you who have never been to The Strand or (gasp) heard of it, the famous bookstore is home is over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books in every genre known to man. The Strand, which opened in 1927,¬†currently resides at 12th St. and Broadway, and spans 3.5 floors. They also have a kiosk in Central Park that is open during good weather. If all of this doesn’t sell you on how amazing The Strand is, maybe this will: the store’s slogan? “18 Miles of Books.” 18. Miles. Of. Books.

But before this turns into a love letter to The Strand, I’ll get onto the last book I bought while I was there: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Often I’ll ask friends via Twitter what they’re reading and what I should read next. Despite having 846 books on my Goodreads “to-read” shelf, I’m constantly looking for things I may have missed in my obsessive book stalking. One friend, whose book taste I trust more than most, offered that she had just finished Americanah and I should read it.

Americanah¬†is the story of two Nigerians named Ifemelu and Ovinze. While at¬†a Lagos secondary school, the teenagers fall in love only to be torn apart by their country’s military dictatorship. Ifemelu leaves for America to study while Obinze finds himself unable to enter the “post 9-11 America” they find themselves in. Set in the “today’s globalized world,” the book spans continents and years, and explores hardship, heartbreak, race, and identity.

Americanah,¬†Adichie’s third novel,¬†was listed by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013. Adichie is not new to awards and accolades. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), won the Commonwealth Writer’s Price for Best First Book (2005) and her second novel, Half a Yellow Sun (2006), won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United Kingdom.

You may also know Adichie’s name from her recent foray into the mainstream media when Beyonc√©¬†sampled her amazing TEDx Talk, “We should all be feminists,” on her song “***Flawless.” Adichie’s essay is beautiful and insightful and passionate (and can be listened to¬†or read¬†here). If her fiction is written as well as this essay is, I know I will love it.

I’m super excited to jump into this novel especially because I got a new job (!!!!), which requires me to take to train into New York City every day. I’ll have plenty of time to read all the books that have been on my to-read list for far too long.

*     *     *

What was the last book you bought? Have you read anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?