New books! I’m a sucker for used book stores. My husband and I decided upon the unusual treat of going out for dinner in the middle of the week, to our favorite pub for chips and rarebit, and on a whim, we first stopped in at Left Bank Books, an independent bookstore just down the street. This bookstore is great fun – the main floor is new, and the basement is mostly used books. Tonight, we barely got through the front doors before we were distracted by a lovely display of bike-related books (apparently, May is National Bike Month).
I have a slight guilt complex these days when it comes to buying books, even used books. After I got married last summer and my husband and I began discussing how we wanted to organize and maintain our household, I agreed that when I purchased new books (or clothes or shoes), I would give up a book (or item of clothing, or pair of shoes) to give away to a friend or Goodwill. This would maintain our possessions at a reasonable level, since we live in a small apartment and are anticipating an even smaller one when we move to graduate school this summer. Alas, I have since discovered literary fiction and begun a book blog.
I almost made it without buying any. I seriously considered a few (for example, a set of three E.M. Forster novels in one, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Housekeeping…) but decided to get them from the library instead, at least for the time being. But right toward the end, I discovered two books shelved right next to each other that I couldn’t pass up:
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton – I think we were supposed to read this in my 10th grade English class, but I had a hippie teacher who was really into film analysis, so we watched the movie instead. All I remember of it from class is his obsession with Scorsese’s theme of “hands!” We did read Ethan Frome, which I loathed at the time, but I think that now that I’m reading other classics, I think I’m ready to appreciate the challenge that Wharton poses. And a lot of the book bloggers with similar tastes seem to adore her, so I’m excited to give this book a shot.
Frost in May, Antonia White – Admittedly, I’m really new to the literary fiction scene, but already, I understand what other book bloggers mean when they talk about the joy of unexpectedly finding a green Virago cover in a used book store. I recall reading a favorable review of this book (though I don’t remember anything about it) and am quite confident that I will love just about anything this press puts out.
Yay for new books…and I’m eager to finish up the library books I currently have out so I can get to all these new purchases!
Have any of you ever tried a Virago book and not liked it? And what do you think of Wharton?