I’m trying something new with this post, so bear with me. When I started my blog, I had a long-term idea that I would write an entry every time I visited a bookstore – talk about where the bookstore was located, some general information about the store, and a list of what I bought. Ideally all the bookstores featured would be quirky independent places, and the posts would have lots of lovely photos and encourage lots of people to visit. My blogging abilities are still developing, so we’re not at the photo stage (and also I didn’t think of doing this until I had left the store), but I figured I would give this a shot.
I live in Atlanta, GA, and one of my favorite places to buy books is The Book Nook in Decatur. It’s a used bookstore/comic shop/video store/book-trading place/general oddities emporium. It’s also deceptively massive – from the outside, the store looks pretty small and unimposing, but once you get inside you are confronted with multiple rooms lined with shelves that have been crammed almost to bursting with books. They sell new and used books, and the sections are often confusing (there’s a section for secondhand books, classics, and new books, and the same titles can sometimes be found in all three) and the shelves are usually disorganized – the history section, in particular, should not be attempted by anyone looking for a specific title, because you’ll only find your book by lucky accident. In short, I love this place, and can easily spend over an hour browsing. Which is exactly what I did this afternoon, and I had an especially successful day: I bought five books (three paperback and two hardcover) for a grand total of $41. I went in with no agenda whatsoever, just the intention of expanding my collection, and I came out with:
I had read a couple of Lahiri’s short stories for various English classes over the years, and I recently read her novel The Namesake, and was glad to find this collection of her short stories. I find her writing very beautiful, and strangely soothing. There’s a comforting feel to her stories that I always enjoy, and I love the way she puts a sentence together. I’m going to save this one for cold, rainy days.
2. Anton Chekhov: Greatest Plays by Anton Chekhov, translated by Elisaveta Fen
The edition I found is different than the one pictured, and it’s gorgeous. So much so that I bought this based mainly on how great it looks. The book I bought is hardcover, bound in gold-embossed dark red leather with gold-edged pages, and looks like something that belongs in a library at an English manor house. I’m a sucker for anything antique-looking, so I bought this. I have a couple of Chekhov’s short story collections, but have never seen or read any of his plays. I love his stories, though, and am looking forward to finally learning what The Cherry Orchard is actually about.
3. Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda
When I was in high school, my senior French class took a two-week trip to France. One of the best parts was when we visited the Loire Valley and toured a bunch of castles, including my favorite, Chenonceau (yes I have a favorite castle). I love this one, first because it’s gorgeous (it’s a castle built over a river, which is one of the reasons the Germans didn’t bomb it during WWII – the owners of the castle convinced them that it functioned as a bridge) and also because it belonged to Diane de Poitiers, one of my favorite royal mistresses (yes I have a favorite royal mistress). She was the lover of Henri II, who was married to Catherine de Medici, who was super jealous of Diane and actually took Chenonceau from her after Henri’s death. I’ve always been firmly Team Diane, but Catherine seems like a cool lady (although Diane de Poitiers never ordered the slaughter of thousands of Protestants during her daughter’s wedding, so Diane still wins), and I wanted to learn more about her.
4. Alexandra: The Last Tsarina by Carolly Erickson
The last time I read anything about the Romanovs was during elementary school, when I was working my way through Scholastic’s Royal Diaries series. I read the Anastasia one several times, but that’s pretty much as far as my knowledge of the Romanovs extends. (Also there’s the fact that for some reason I always want to watch the animated movie Anastasia when I’m drunk – seriously, I have not seen that movie sober in years. Make of that what you will.) Alexandra has always struck me as a tragic figure, what with her toxic relationship with Rasputin and the fact that her son’s debilitating hemophilia was passed through her side of the family, and I want read about the Romanov’s from her perspective.
5. The Floating Admiral by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and GK Chesterton
I saved this one for last because it’s the one I’m most excited about, because holy shit guys do you see who wrote this? Apparently Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, GK Chesterton, and a bunch of other detective novel writers were all buddies (kind of like Stephen Kings all-author band the Rock-Bottom Remainders, except infinitely cooler) and one day they sat down and wrote a detective novel. As a group. Each author wrote a chapter, with only the previous chapters to give them any indication of what to write, and they each provide their own solution to the mystery. There is a very, very good chance that this will be an absolute clusterfuck of a novel, and I cannot wait to read it.
So there we have it. No promises on when I’ll get around to reading these books, but keep an eye out in the future. I know that at least a few people follow this blog, so I’m going to ask you guys for your feedback: the bookstore visit posts, yea or nay? Was it interesting? Did it give you ideas for new books to seek out? Do any of you give a single flying fuck where I buy my books and what I buy? Any and all feedback is appreciated.