Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Sunday Salon and Treasures Found at a Used Book Store

Happy Sunday! Pull up a chair and relax, grab a cup of iced joe ( it is about 80 degrees outside right now!) and welcome to The Sunday Salon! All over the blogosphere, bookish people are virtually sitting down together to talk about something they love... BOOKS!

I've been on vacation this week and enjoying the nice weather, catching up on some reading and of course exploring some bookish things! One thing I wanted to do while on vacation this year was take a leisurely drive to The Book Barn! So today I thought I would share what books I brought home with me. It's always an adventure going to used book stores or sales. And I happily came home with a bag of books. But first, what is The Book Barn? The Book Barn is located in Niantic, Ct. and its primary mission is "uniting people and books together in biblioholic bliss." And with over 350,000 used books housed in 5 buildings and numerous kiosks on the grounds, it is amazing. The atmosphere is light, fun, almost like being at a country fair. It's kid friendly, spouse friendly (plenty of outside seating), and there are friendly cats (which found my DH and his Kindle very companionable) that wonder in, out and all around the buildings.

First there is the Main Barn where you'll find art, history, children's and teen books. Then there is The Annex, which is where I found fiction, poetry and romance. Hades is where you'll find the mass market paperbacks before finding their permanent homes (see photo on right). It's called Hades because they aren't alphabetical, just grouped in categories. Next I wondered into The Haunted! This is where the mysteries are! And then I wondered to The Last Page, which is where their "last chance" books are and more obscure titles, although the Nature books were in there, and I did find a great old bird book!

So, what about the books I can home with?! First book I picked up was Promise Not To Tell byJennifer McMahon. I really enjoyed her last book, Dismantled, which was this great murder mystery/thriller/ghost story. And I also enjoyed her book Island of Lost Girls, which was another literary mystery part coming-of-age story. Promise Not To Tell is Jennifer McMahon's debut novel. This is what Publisher's Weekly says about it..."Part mystery-thriller and part ghost story, McMahon's well-paced debut alternates smoothly between past and present. In the fall of 2002, 41-year-old Kate Cypher, a divorced Seattle school nurse, returns to New Hope, the decaying Vermont hippie commune where she grew up, to visit her elderly mother, Jean, who's suffering from Alzheimer's. Kate has avoided New Hope since the grizzly, unsolved murder of her fifth-grade friend, Del Griswold, 31 years earlier. Kate fears she betrayed Del, a free-spirited farm girl. Did her betrayal cause Del's death? Who killed Del? Another local girl is murdered in a similar manner at the time of Kate's return. Could the killer be loose again? Meanwhile, Jean appears to be possessed with Del's spirit and may have the answers to these questions. As Kate investigates, she learns stunning truths about many events and people from her youth." I'm really looking forward to reading this. Jennifer McMahon's writing is great and she really has the ability to get underneath the skin of her characters.

Next book I picked up was Evermore by Alyson Noel. I know I'm a little late getting to this series, but now that I've finished the Twilight series, I thought I would try some of the other YA literature I've heard great things about. This is what Booklist writes about Evermore... "This opening book in a new series, The Immortals, will thrill many teen fantasy-suspense readers, especially fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Seventeen-year-old Ever survived the car crash that killed her parents, younger sister, and their dog. Now she lives with an aunt in Southern California, plagued not only by survivor guilt but also by a new ability to hear the thoughts of all around her. She tries to tune out all these distractions by keeping her hoodie up and her iPod cranked loud, until Damen, the cute new boy at school, convinces her to come out of her shell. Damen, however, is frighteningly clever—and has the strange ability to produce tulips from nowhere and disappear himself at critical moments. Noël creates a cast of recognizably diverse teens in a realistic high-school setting, along with just the right tension to make Ever’s discovery of her own immortality—should she choose it—exciting and credible." There are 4 books in the "Immortal" series, the latest, Dark Flame, just released last month. The series has gotten good reviews, and I'm up for a new series. Has anyone read these yet? What did you think? What series would you recommend?

Next pick was The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. Eudora Welty is one of our great American authors who wrote stories and novels about the American South. She lived during the Great Depression and won numerous awards, including The Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her novel, The Optimist's Daughter. I signed up for the Short Story Challenge this year and have been enjoying the sampling of stories written by some great authors. So, since I have Eudora's book The Optimist's Daughter in my TBR pile, it felt natural to pick this up too!

Then I saw a copy of Waiting by Ha Jin. I had always meant to read this book. It even won the National Book Award in 1999. A love story, and a love triangle that spans 18 years. Here's what the publishers write... "This is the story of Lin Kong, a man living in two worlds, struggling with the conflicting claims of two utterly different women as he moves through the political minefields of a society designed to regulate his every move and stifle the promptings of his inner most heart. For more than seventeen years, this devoted and ambitious doctor has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in the traditional world of his home village lives the wife his family chose for him when he was young--a humble and touchingly loyal woman, whom he visits in order to ask, again and again, for a divorce. In a culture in which the ancient ties of tradition and family still hold sway and where adultery discovered by the Party can ruin lives forever, Lin's passionate love is stretched ever more taut by the passing years. Every summer, his compliant wife agrees to a divorce but then backs out. This time, Lin promises, will be different. Tracing these lives through their summer of decision and beyond, Ha Jin vividly conjures the texture of daily life in a place where the demands of human longing must contend with the weight of centuries of custom". I really enjoy Japanese fiction and part of that enjoyment is being able to glimpse inside a culture I am not familiar with. Ha Jin accomplishes giving us a glimpse into the Chinese culture with Waiting. This story is also based on a true story Ha Jin was told by his wife. This book is now going to make into the TBR pile.

Finally, I made my way to the mystery building (The Haunted) and not being frightened away by any ghosts, I picked up some Stuart Woods. Now I mentioned Stuart Woods in my "Literal" Beach Reads post last month, and how he writes a series of mystery thrillers with a female police chief by the name of Holly Barker. So for the bargain price of $1 each, I picked up Orchid Beach, Blood Orchid, Orchid Blues and Reckless Abandon. Holly's series are all "Orchid" books, but Reckless Abandon is both Holly Barker and Stuart Woods other great character Stone Barrington, a lawyer with a detectives mind. I recently listened to the audiobook Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods and loved the story (and the narrator!), and thought it was about time to invite Stuart Woods into the mix. (BTW, I'll also be posting the review of Hot Mahogany soon, so keep your eyes out for that!)

Final thoughts on The Book Barn... Prices were reasonable with trade paperbacks mostly $4, Teen trades were $3, Hardback prices varied, and mass market paperbacks were a dollar each. Conditions of books varied too, but the books I carried home with me, with the exception of Waiting by Ha Jin, were in excellent condition. Waiting by Ha Jin's cover was well worn, but otherwise in very good condition. So, I have plenty of "oldies but goodies" in the TBR pile and had fun wondering around thousands of books! I could have put so much more in that bag, but tried to remember that once they were home, I'd have to find a place to put them! Oh, and the staff were very friendly, helping people find books they wanted and recommended books to some of the teens looking to grab a good read.

So, that was my week, how was yours!? Do you enjoy used book sales? What "Book Barns" are near you?! And what books caught your attention this week?! And what books filled the void you felt after finishing Twilight?! The Giveaway for Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea ended last night, so I'll be picking the winners today, but there's still time to enter the Giveaway for The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell, which is such a fun memoir drawn like a graphic novel. And girls you will laugh! There's also still time to enter the Giveaway for Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer, a sexy romance during the time of Waterloo. A sneak peek at next week... a Giveaway for an audiobook! Think James Patterson and his newest book, Private!

Happy reading! Thanks for stopping by!.... Suzanne


Jeanne C. said...

Thank you so much for posting about this shop! I might have to take a road trip there next week! Woohoo!

Helen's Book Blog said...

What an awesome book shop! I love hearing about places like that!

Julie P said...

Very nice! I love browsing and finding great book buys like this.

Darlene said...

The Book Barn sounds great! I love the names they gave to the sections of their store. We only have 1 or 2 privately owned bookstores now, the rest are the big box chains.

It looks like you got some good books there so enjoy them and your Sunday!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Jeanne!
Yes, definitely a fun trip on a nice day! My dear Hubby was very patient the whole day (it took us almost 2 hours to get there) and it was a nice ride. I really liked the fact that it was such a relaxed atmosphere! Let me know if you make it there!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Helen & Julie!
Definitely a fun day! I probably could have spent even longer wandering through all the buildings, but didn't want to try hubby's patience too much! :-)

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Dar!
Yes, there are no private owned bookstores in my town either, so it was a nice treat to travel to such a mega haven for books! And because they were such a bargain, I picked up some reads I may have thought twice about spending full price for!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I need to check out The Book Barn some day. Should be a good drive too. Promise Not To Tell was very good; enjoy!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Diane!
Yes, The Book Barn is within driving distance for you too! And thanks for the endorsement of Promise Not To Tell, I think Jennifer McMahon is going to be a favorite author of mine.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

What a lovely book-ish day! The Book Barn! I love it!

carla said...

Sounds like a great place but maybe a bit dangerous for that TBR stack!
I have to be really careful at the library book sale but i have found some really neat books i wouldn't have looked at full price.


Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne! This is Julia, from the register at the Book Barn. I just found your card and decided to check out the blog.. it looks awesome. Thanks for stopping by the barn - it was lovely to have you!

Buy Indian Books said...

Cool! I was wondering how I can download the ePub? and wha't ePub for? Is that an ebook reader? I have done read plenty of ebooks before on a pdf format and I just have to download a pdf reader on my phone. If ePub will help me in making me read ebooks through my computer then that is cool. I am not sure if I want either kindle or iPad because it's difficult for me to bring a lot of gadgets while travelling.

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