I was going to try a book-buying ban this month, but it was Christmas so there were irresistible sales and thoughtful gifts, and all of my Black Friday orders started shuffling in aaaaand… I acquired a ton of books. Here’s what’s new on my shelves:
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I read this entire series earlier this year, and it became an instant guilty pleasure. Although it’ll probably be a few years before I’d even consider doing a more thorough reread of the series, there are pieces here and there that I’ll want to able to look back on from time to time, and so I’ll probably start purchasing a few favorite volumes when the opportunity arises. I found this copy of the first book pretty cheap on Book Outlet–the TV show cover edition, which I usually don’t go for, but in this case I love the show even more than the book. I’m happy to have this one on my shelf, and to be able to page through and reminisce about how it all began.
- The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I also found this one relatively cheap on Book Outlet, and since I picked up a copy of the first book in this pair earlier this year, I had been on the lookout for a chance to buy the sequel. I’ll probably be reading both of these within the next couple of months.
- The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. This one also came from Book Outlet. I went a little crazy ordering books around Black Friday sale time, and as soon as December hit, the book boxes started pouring through the mail like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts letters at Privet Drive. I had heard of this one before but never looked into it very seriously, until I saw how cheap it was, read the intriguing synopsis, and decided to give it a chance.
- Early Warning by Jane Smiley. This author attained a degree from the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa, my alma mater, so I picked up the first book in this series earlier this year, and couldn’t pass up buying the sequel when I found it at such a reasonable price. Although I haven’t read either of the Smiley books I own yet, I know some great writers have come through the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and I’m eager to learn more about some of their books. Also, this series is set across a few generations of an Iowan family, which is relatively uncommon in literature unless the author is making a joke about cornfields.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling. Everything is cheaper at Sam’s Club–mostly because you have to buy it in bulk. I would buy books there in bulk if they had a bigger selection, because they generally have some great new releases on marked down prices, but it’s usually pretty hit-or-miss with their inventory. I always check though, just in case, and this month I picked up Rowling’s screenplay for a nice discount. I wasn’t anticipating this one as much as Cursed Child, but now that I have it on my shelf I’m pretty intrigued.
- The Gold Eaters by Ronald Wright. This one came from another Book Outlet sale order. Historical Fiction books were featured one week around late Nov. / early Dec. and I picked up a few, including this one I’d never heard anything about. I believe it’s set around the fall of the Incan empire, which sounds absolutely fascinating to me. I was glad to have come across it, and can’t wait to pick it up.
- The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I’ve been hearing vague good things about this one for a little while now, and it sounded right up my alley. When I saw it on the Book Outlet sale, I ordered immediately. I believe this one has a bit of a mix between magical elements and history, so I think I’ll really like this one when I get around to picking it up.
- A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. Again, I found this one on Book Outlet. I picked up Atkinson’s Life After Life earlier this year, and though I’m not sure this is exactly a companion novel to that one, it does have at least one related character, and they both sounded so promising that I wanted to be able to read them together.
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I had been on the fence about picking this one up for several months. I knew I wanted to read it, but wasn’t sure I wanted to buy it. It looks like a rather small book, and it always seemed to be just a little more expensive than I was willing to spend. Book Outlet came to the rescue. I’m looking forward to seeing what all the buzz is about.
- Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi. The Shatter Me series sounds like exactly the sort of classic YA trilogy a teenaged me would have loved, so when I decided to start reading more YA again this year, this series was one I insisted on checking out. I bought the first two books in the series for great low prices, and although I haven’t had a chance to read them yet and still haven’t found a nice cheap third book to complete my set, I did pick up this set of two related novellas to read between the main volumes.
- The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Confession by Leo Tolstoy. I loved Anna Karenina when I read it a couple of summers ago, so I wanted to read more Tolstoy. War and Peace is on my eventual reading list, but when a friend recommended the much shorter The Death of Ivan Ilyich to me, I decided I’d give that one a try first. I bought it in a bind-up of two Tolstoy stories for a couple of dollars on a Black Friday sale.
- Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes. This is the fourth book in a fantasy series that I haven’t even started yet but very much want to delve into. Again, I found it cheap on Book Outlet, and nothing eases anxiety like knowing you don’t have to worry about cliffhangers for at least four books. The fifth book also came out recently, but I want to start reading these before I buy any more.
- City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallburg. This one was another Black Friday buy. Some people buy electronics, some people buy clothes, I buy all the books. I don’t remember the synopsis of this one, but I read it and liked it. I think there are multiple POVs and it’s some sort of thriller and part of the story is told through alternative mediums. I think.
- The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I’ve heard great things about this book and I’ve had my eye on it for a while. Again, Black Friday sales to the rescue. David Mitchell sounds like an author I might be interested in reading more books from, but I’m excited to start with this one and see where it takes me.
- Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. I love the gorgeous colors on the cover of this book. Although I’ll often let beautiful covers catch my eye and draw me in, it takes an interesting synopsis or notable writer to seal the deal for me. This one’s been on my radar almost since its publication date earlier this year, and I was just biding my time until I found it cheap somewhere. I thought I might even wait for the paperback, but then the glorious hardcover edition came across Book Outlet while I was picking sale books and I had to add it to my order.
- Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson. This one I picked up with a few other sequels to accompany all those first-in-a-series buys I made a few months ago. I looked at all the series-openers I’d picked up, I looked at which of those were part of completed or ongoing series, I decided which ones I wanted to read sooner than others, and I made a few sequel purchases before deciding I had to catch up with what I’d already bought before trying to complete all those series I’d started. Now I have two books in this historical fiction/fantasy YA trilogy before the third book comes out next year.
- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. This is another sequel I picked up before cutting myself off. I really want to read the Six of Crows duology that’s been radiating all the hype lately, but I decided to read this trilogy first since it takes place in the same world and was published first. Since I want to read that duology so badly and I have such high hopes for this trilogy as well, I think I’ll get to these books pretty soon so I went ahead and also picked up:
- Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. This is the third book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and I’m hoping to read all three of these more of less back-to-back in the next month or two.
- The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. This is the second book in the Tearling series. I’ve heard great things about this trilogy, and I can’t wait to dive in, but I’ve bought the first two books in paperback so I’ll either have to wait to read them all until the final book is released in that format, or risk leaving off on a cliffhanger by reading the two I now own and waiting to read the third book. I haven’t decided yet. I’m impatient to start this series, but I predict I will be even more impatient for the third book once I’ve read the first two.
- The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson. This is the final sequel I ordered in that sequel-buying spree. This trilogy sounds particularly intriguing, and I know I’m going to want to be able to keep going once I get around to picking up the first book. Even though I know there’s one more that was published recently, I want to wait for that one to come out in paperback also before I buy it, so I have the same problem with this series and my impatience for the third book.
- The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I’ve heard this one described as a book in which it’s hard to tell what’s going on all the time, and I must confess I particularly enjoy trying to parse those details out. It’s also been called a “dark contemporary” story, which sounds appealing. Contemporaries have a tendency to become predictable, but I think somehow this one will escape that danger. This is an author I’ve been meaning to check out, and this newest book easily stood out as my top McGinnis choice, although if I like this one, I’ll also want to read A Madness so Discreet.
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. A friend of mine read this book recently and loved it. It had been on my list, but I just hadn’t been in the mood for a WWII historical fiction and hadn’t really planned on reading it terribly soon. But just after my friend mentioned its greatness, I found a signed copy at my local Barnes and Noble that I think was left over from Black Friday sales, and I just couldn’t pass it up.
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I also found a signed copy of this one at my local Barnes and Noble, and surprisingly at a discounted price. The same friend had pointed me to this book of poetry a few months ago, and I was waiting to borrow her copy, but I saw this one and had to have it. I grew up in an area where there aren’t many author events and book signings going on, and I’ve never had a good opportunity to travel to see my favorite authors, so I hardly own any signed books and I’ve never had one signed personally. Lately I’ve been more interested in signed books, so if I find one that’s on my radar and it’s been signed, I’m probably going to pick it up.
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This is the last one I found signed at Barnes and Noble. I mean, there were more, but I only picked up the books I had already been interested in. This one, actually, a family member purchased and gifted to me for Christmas, so a big Thank You to my aunt for that! Again, this is WWII historical fiction, and I hadn’t been in the mood lately so it was on the back burner, but I do love historical fiction, and I’ve read some other great and powerful books about that time, so I’m confident that I will read and love this one as well as soon as I’m ready to read it.
- Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I read this trilogy earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I immediately bought books two and three after reading a library copy of Red Rising because I knew I would want them all eventually. Eventually finally arrived in festive Christmas wrapping paper. These books are going to be bloodydamn well-read before I’m through with them.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling. I asked for the illustrated edition for Christmas and was lucky enough to receive it. As a book nerd, of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve already read this entire series and own all of them, but I’ve had a box set of the first five books in paperback since 5th grade, and while I love them because they were the copies I read, I wanted a more durable set. There are so many great editions out there, but the illustrated copies fit what I was looking for–something fun and current to start collecting that I won’t buy all at once, a new visual of my favorite wizarding world, and hard covers with thick pages that’ll stand up to a lot of use.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling. Again, the illustrated edition. Since there are only two of these published so far, I put them both on my list and can thank my wonderful grandma for gifting them to me. From here on out, I’ll probably try to buy them as they’re published and collect the full set.
And we’ve finally reached the end! This has been my largest monthly book haul to date–not just in a blog post, but ever in my life, I think. I’m a big fan of libraries. It feels weird to have a shelf full of books I own but still need to read. What’s your take on buying books faster than you can read them? I think I’ll move my no-buy over to January and try to start evening things out. But no worries–books I ordered in December will be arriving in January, so I’ll still have a haul. Hopefully a more manageable one.
Cheers to a new reading year!
The Literary Elephant