Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Dangerous Fire Sale at Borders


I hardly know what to do with myself now that the Tournament of Books is over. The big winner was A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, with Freedom losing in the final match-up. I liked both books, so either way I probably would have felt happy. I can definitely say that it was more fun to follow the Tournament having read all the books. My goal next year is to read *all* 16!

I'm now in the middle of reading a bunch of different things. I'm semi-stalled on Nature's Metropolis, not because it is boring, but because I figure I have until the end of the month, so why rush? My goal is to tackle one TBR book per month and not get ahead, so I'm happy to let that sit for a little while doing other things.

Around here, almost all of the Borders stores are going out of business. The one in my neighborhood went out of business last month, but while in the thick of the Tournament of Books, I successfully resisted the pull of the Borders fire sale. But then, last weekend, I had to take Darius to a birthday party, and right in the same parking lot was a Borders. Needless to say, this was impossible to resist.

Have you ever been to a book store that's going out of business? Talk about depressing! My guess is plenty of people go in, wander around, and go out empty handed. Not me. I headed for what was left of the fiction section and let loose. They had been moving and consolidating books onto the shelves, and everything was out of order and un-alphabetized. If you were looking for something specific, you'd be totally frustrated. (This is how I feel in places like TJMax and Marshall's.) But not only do I read a lot of books, but I also read a lot of book reviews. This means that I was pretty happy just scanning the shelves and pulling off books that I've heard are good. I limited myself to buying only 10 books for myself (and Bloodroot for you!). All told, I picked up 11 books, 7 of them hardback, for about 100 bucks. Woo hoo!

As for what I'm actually reading, I just finished a mystery from my school library called In the Woods by Tana French. It was a great read. I love a good mystery! It's so satisfying to read a book where the plot gets wrapped up at the end. Even though there is a lingering questions about the past for the main character, it was still a very satisfying read.

I've also been reading another non-fiction book. Ever since the earthquake in Japan, I've been fascinated (in a horrified way) by the nuclear crisis. This led me to wanting to know more about Chernobyl, so I ordered the book Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl. So far, I'm very impressed at how readable this book is. I've come to really appreciate a writer who can take a complex and complicated real-life narrative and write it out so that it reads like a great story. I think the Chernobyl book is satisfying because it's a story that's "finished" while the events in Japan are still happening, and therefore the arc of the whole thing is still unclear. Somehow admitting that feels like a failure, but there's the truth: I like a story where the ending has already been determined.

One last final question: do you keep track of books you read? I'm semi-envious of people who keep records of what they read. I've tried in the past using sites like GoodReads, but it's never worked for me. I'm trying again, this time using a Google spreadsheet---keep it simple, stupid! I decided to try and recreate what I could starting with January 1. If my calculations are correct, I've just finished my 19th book this year.


PS: Here's a screenshot of the Borders Haul. I think I might start with Olive Kitteredge.


  1. Grr. I just wrote a super-long comment and blogger ate it. This one will probably be a lot shorter.

    Judy is here right now and she has been *raving* about Olive Kitteredge!

    Recording books? No. I do not. The Kindle semi-records books for me (since you introduced me to the Kindle app in June 2009, I have read 110 Kindle books.) (Yes, mostly junk. But that's better than not reading at all, which is what I was doing then...) and that's the closest I've come.

    My only success at recording *anything* in life has been recording the crafts I make at Transcraftinental and the status of my sick cat at The Kaesea Report, so I apparently need to broadcast my recordings to the world. If the spreadsheet does not work for you, we can create a page for you on this blog -- it would be a tab at the top and be super-easy to update. If you need help, I can set it up for you.

    I have avoided the Borders like the plague. I do not need more books. Especially not non-ebooks!

    Having said that, I got Bloodroot in the mail (SUPER fun to get a book in the mail!) and am looking forward to reading it. Yay!

    Oh, and Love in the Time of Cholera is fan-frickin'-tastic. I want to call in sick tomorrow just so I can keep reading it! Love. It.

    (Believe it or not, this was way shorter than the original comment. Talk about Editing-by-fire. Wow.)

  2. I'm very jealous of your Borders bender. Sadly, I think my Borders in La Grange is about to go...I'll lessen my sadness by swooping down on it.

    I've heard great things about Great House. Did you read The History of Love? So good!

  3. Huh. I kind of like the idea of the list right here on this blog. (duh).

    Here's a guy doing something similar. His list is in alpha order rather than the order he read them, but I guess that sort of makes sense. Check it out here:

  4. Okey doke! I've created a page for you right here.

    Feel free to edit any and all of the text there as you see fit.

    It's linked right now to our side bar under "Pages" (although it's really only one page...) We could add more pages if we want. In fact, we could technically move our "List of books" to its own page, which I debated when I started and decided to leave it as a post, in case anyone wanted to read from the start (for whatever reason).

    If you'd rather have a separate page for every year, we can also do that, although we'll run out in a decade (we only get 10 from blogger). ;)

    Also, if you'd rather have it be a tab at the top of the page, I can also do that. Just let me know.