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November Book Haul

My 5 book goal is going to be a bit of a wash for the rest of the year, I think. I haven’t been doing very well about sticking to it the last few months (or ever, really), and I don’t have high hopes for sticking to it in December. Merry Christmas to me. 🙂 But there’s always next year, right? I have some serious book goals for 2018 in the works, but as long as it’s still 2017 and I’m failing anyway, might as well buy all the books. These are the new titles on my shelves this month:

  1. Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. This was my BOTM selection for November. This one’s narrated through letters and/or journal entries, if I’m remembering right, which sounds unusual and interesting. I like books that are narrated in uncommon formats. It’s also an end-of-the-world story, which I haven’t read in a while so it must be time to try that again. It was the only selection I hadn’t heard of in BOTM’s November list, so it caught my interest.
  2. Artemis by Andy Weir. An extra BOTM pick for me. This is the first BOTM selection I regret buying, and I haven’t even read it yet. I’ve seen some negative reviews for this book (and some positive ones, but I fear I won’t be one of those), and I think I was just so busy at the time I picked it that buying new books was a stress-reliever and I just didn’t have the time and energy to actually look into it properly before I made my choice. In the end, I think what I actually wanted to read was The Martian, which was also an extra BOTM selection this month, but I chose Artemis instead because it was new.
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir. After seeing yet another bad review for Artemis, I realized that what I really wanted to read was The Martian. So I decided to go ahead and buy a copy of the one I actually wanted, to boost my book-buying spirits. I’m much more confident about enjoying this one, but I might still read Artemis first; if it’s newness is the only thing propelling me to read it, I better utilize that while it lasts because I do still want to check it out for myself and not leave it unread on my shelf forever. Also, I like to save the best for last.
  4. Death Note: Black Edition Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba, Yuki Kowalsky, and Takeshi Obata. I needed a graphic novel for my reading challenge this year, and I ended up choosing Saga. I don’t read much that’s full of pictures. It’s just not my preferred medium. But I am willing to try something different every now and then, and I did like Saga, so I bought a manga that looked promising from my initial list of potential graphic novels. I got the black edition, which is actually the first two volumes in one book (I always choose more story in one book, when that’s an option), and I’m excited to check it out. I think there’s even a TV series.
  5. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. This is the sequel to Sleeping Giants, which I bought last year and still have not read. It’s at the top of my list for 2018, and the covers are so cool that I couldn’t resist. I’ve read the synopsis a few times, about a girl who finds a giant hand and people realize it’s only part of a whole, and the whole book is narrated through interviews and other unusual mediums for a novel, which again, sounds right up my alley. And Pierce Brown blurbed the first book. And the covers are so neat. So when Black Friday sales rolled around, I picked this one up. (It never seems to be cheap enough, otherwise.)
  6. Pines by Blake Crouch. Another Black Friday grab. This one is part of a series that I want to read in 2018. Crouch’s Dark Matter was one of my favorite reads of 2017 from way back in January, and I wanted to try another one of his books in 2018 as a result. I’ve heard this one’s weird and thrilling and completely mysterious, which sounds perfect. I think the main character is some sort of journalist or investigator who gets trapped in a strange town where nothing makes sense and death might be the only means of escape.
  7. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This one’s a thriller/mystery about reincarnation, I believe. I read the synopsis so long ago, so I barely remember the details of what it’s about. But it’s been a while since I’ve read about reincarnation, and that’s an interesting topic in itself. I’m cautiously hoping North hits the mind-bending side of it and not the cheesy “let me try this same thing over and over again because my life only has so many possibilities and this is the one thing I can change” tactic. But it seems more promising than the usual tropes.
  8. Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I picked up one of the Pelican editions with the cool covers around Black Friday discount time. I’m not a huge Shakespeare fan, and I probably wouldn’t have bought this if it wasn’t the play I wanted to read for my 2017 reading challenge. I forgot to hunt for the Shakespeare anthology at my library, and as the end of the year approaches I was suddenly unsure of when I would be back to get it and whether that would leave me with enough time to read it. (And whether I wanted to lug a giant Shakespeare anthology around while I was Christmas shopping.) So I bought my own copy, just to make it easier to pick up the story whenever I have a moment to fit it in. If I like this one, I might branch out and try a couple more with the covers from this collection. And it’s nice to have at least one book on my haul list that I know I’ll be reading soon.

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I’m really excited about this list. I know I won’t get to much of it before 2018 because my December TBR is already pretty crazy, but I’m setting some great reading goals for 2018 that I think will really help me clear some unread books off my TBR shelves. Almost every one of these books is from a genre I don’t read super frequently (Sci-fi, a play, a graphic novel), which is exciting. I’m ready to step outside of my comfort zone. I want to be surprised.

Have you read any of these? What should I pick up first?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

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October Book Haul

I didn’t try very hard to stick to my 5 book goal this month. It was a stressful time and books make me feel better so I bought some books. Not too many (is there such a thing for a bibliophile?), but enough to fail my goal. No regrets, as usual. Here’s what’s new:

  1. The Power by Naomi Alderman. This is my Book of the Month Club selection for October. It’s about a change in the power dynamic of the modern world that occurs when women discover they have the power to zap people with electricity through their hands. It’s a strong new feminist book that’s already won awards and it’s Halloween colored. I’ve been wanting to read this so badly all month, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m planning to read it in early November.
  2. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. This was an extra I added to my BOTM box in October. I wanted to read a Stephen King book this month, and again, it didn’t happen. I had other horror books in my TBR, too. But I like to own the thick King books that I want to read because it makes me feel less pressured to read them in a hurry, which actually helps me get through them faster. This one’s about what happens to the world when women start falling inexplicably into a cocoon-wrapped sleep and can’t be woken. It sounds great and I really want to dive in, so I’m glad it’s on my shelf ready to go whenever  I am.
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay. This is the illustrated edition of the third Harry Potter book. I don’t have a full set of matching Harry Potter books, and I’ve decided that I want this set to be my full set, when they’re eventually all published. So I added the third one to my collection as soon as it was released, and I’ve looked at all the pictures already. (I’ve read the text several times previously, so I think that counts as having read this one.) I do want to do another reread of the entire series at some point, maybe just of the three illustrated books to start with, but it might have to wait until 2018. There are so many books left on my 2017 TBR as the end of the year is approaching that rereads are not a top priority.
  4. Paper Princess by Erin Watt. I’ll go into more explanation about this one in my monthly wrap-up. For now I’ll just say that this YA/NA romance has been on my radar for about a year and I finally decided kind of on a whim that I had to read it right away, so I bought it and read it immediately. It has some mature themes for a book marketed as YA, although the story is rather Gossip Girly, so it reads like a bunch of spoiled rich kids with some absurd problems that they address with illegal activities and inappropriate relationships. I had a lot of thoughts about this one that you’ll see tsoon in my wrap-up, since I didn’t post a full review.
  5. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. I found a signed copy of this one on sale, and I snatched it up. It’s a beautiful book, and I want to read it really soon, but first I’m planning to finish the Six of Crows duology by reading Crooked Kingdom. Hopefully I’ll get to both CK and TLoT in November. Buying The Language of Thorns inspired me to finally start Six of Crows, and I LOVED IT. But hopefully soon I’ll be starting The Language of Thorns, which is a collection of short stories set in the Grishaverse. I believe it’s a set of legends/fairytales that our Grishaverse characters would be familiar with.
  6. Broken Prince by Erin Watt. This is the sequel to Paper Princess, and my thoughts on this one will also appear in this month’s wrap-up because I’ve read this one too. I waited until I had read the first book in this series to buy books two and three, but otherwise I did not try to restrain myself from these rather impulsive purchases. I was having a bad month. Again, it’s a YA/NA romance, with surprisingly adult themes. The main characters are high schoolers, and I would’ve been okay with reading this at that age, but I’m hesitant to recommend it for that age group. Especially this second book, but I’ll explain more in my wrap-up.
  7. Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. And here is the third book in the Royals (Paper Princess) series. I think there are actually four or five books and maybe some novellas, but I think I only want to read the first three novels. After that the secondary characters become main characters of their own stories, so it’s sort of a continuation with other characters after Twisted Palace and I’m not into this series enough to commit to all those extra perspectives. I haven’t read this one yet, but the first two went really fast for me and I want to wrap up this “trilogy” before I’m completely out of the mood for it.
  8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This one has been on my radar for over a year, and I’ve been on the fence about buying it because I wanted the UK cover, which was more expensive for me to buy. In the end, I decided I wanted to read it badly enough that I settled for the US cover, and I’ve decided that if it becomes one of my favorite books I’ll consider buying a second copy so I can have the cover I wanted, and I’ll donate this one. That seems like a lot of extra work, but I normally don’t care about the cover enough for that to affect what I buy, so I’m going to read the story the cheaper way before I worry any more about how it looks on my shelf. It’s historical fiction set in Russia (I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read set in Russia), and I’ve heard great things about Towles’s writing. I’m hoping to read this one before the end of the year, as well.octoberbookhaul
  9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This is the first of my last-minute book haul additions. I unexpectedly went book shopping just after I thought I was safe to take my haul picture for the month. I’ve been planning for months to read this one in November, but I’m so busy right now and was just starting to wonder how/when I was going to be able to get a hold placed through the library and go pick it up. And then I found this one on sale, in the edition I wanted, and it seemed like a sign. All I know is that Emma Carstairs and her adopted family are back in this first book of the new Dark Artifices series.
  10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I really like historical fiction, especially when it’s not set around WWII. This one involves a character-driven quest to build a cathedral. It sounds unique and unexpected, and I hear that it’s written well, which is really all a good book needs. It’s set in 12th century England, and follows the lives of the people building the cathedral and/or affected by its construction. I’m really intrigued to see whether it lives up to it’s 4.29 rating on Goodreads, but I’m confident enough about its ability to suck me into a dramatic story that I also picked up:
  11. World Without End by Ken Follett. Here is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. There’s a third book published now also, but it’s not in a nice matching paperback format yet, and while I was brave enough to buy a second book without having read anything by this author previously, I wasn’t brave enough to buy the third yet. I’ll try these two and see how it goes. I have high hopes.

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Those are my October books. I’m sad that I haven’t read more of these already, but I overpacked my October TBR and I’ve been really busy working. I want to read several more of these in November, and I’m optimistic about the chances of that happening.

Have you read any of these books? What’s new on your shelves this month?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

September Book Haul

I *almost* stuck to my 5-book goal this month. It wasn’t until this last week that I gave in and checked out a sale, and we all know how that ends. I might have still considered myself within the goal if those extra books hadn’t arrived yesterday, but they did, so I’ll admit to their existence on my shelf and add them to this list where they belong.

Check out my new September books:

  1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I choose this novel as my Book of the Month for September (have I mentioned yet this week how much I love Book of the Month Club? I feel like I’m saying it all the time, but they really do have great books and I can’t restrain myself). This was the book I was most looking forward to reading in September, so of course I didn’t get to it. I’ll be aiming for October with this one because I’ve heard good things and I’m still really excited about it.
  2. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. Here’s a second September selection from Book of the Month. I told myself I was only going to buy one this month, so of course I ended up selecting the maximum number of books (three) for my monthly box. I was highly intrigued by the blending of fact and fiction in this thriller’s premise, and it was the shortest of my BOTM choices (thus easiest to fit into my schedule), so I’ve already read and reviewed this one. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it did put me in the thriller mood for October.
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. A couple of years ago I discovered how much I love Margaret Atwood’s books, so of course when I saw this one added as an extra to BOTM’s September list, I had to have it. It looks pleasantly thick, and the prospect of a story within a story sounds perfect for me. But I’m currently in the habit of reading one Atwood book per year, in January, so unless I suddenly find 300 fewer books or so on my Goodreads TBR, I probably won’t be picking this one up for a few months. But I’m excited for it. So excited.
  4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. After reading Pride and Prejudice (and it’s modern update Eligible) this month, my interest in reading all of Austen’s novels has been renewed. This is the only one of her six major works that I didn’t own yet, and I think it’s the one I want to read next, so I found a cheap copy that’ll work for me and I’m looking forward to reading it. It probably won’t happen in October because I already have a crazy TBR planned, but I’m hoping to read it within the next few months while my Austen appreciation is still fresh.
  5. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. I became addicted to Gabaldon’s Outlander series about a year and a half ago, which has mostly faded, except for my interest in the TV show. The third season just started a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to watch all of its episodes, so I picked up this new season-3-cover-edition of Voyager to peruse my favorite parts during the season (I read the whole book last year). I’ve also got the first two books with the TV show covers, so this one matches and I’ve been intending to buy it for months, which means it wasn’t an impulse buy.
  6. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This one, however, was an impulse buy. I always have more Stephen King books on my radar at this time of year than usual, and this is one that I’ve been vaguely planning to read for years. I found a 10th anniversary edition and picked it up even though I don’t know when exactly I’ll be reading it. King is a fantastic author and I’ve heard great things about this book, but it’s probably not scary like his novels, which I’m more inclined to reach for in October. Still, I’m glad to have this one on my shelf and am looking forward to reading about King’s writing experience.

septemberbookhaul

And that’s all I’ve added to my shelves this month. Even though I didn’t quite hit the 5-book mark, I’m happy with the new books I’ve picked up this month. Two of them I’ve already read, and at least one I plan to be reading very soon, which means I’m not adding a ton of extra clutter to my TBR shelf. I think I made some solid choices.

Have you read any of these books? Which titles did you pick up in September?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

August Book Haul

I didn’t try very hard to meet my 5-book goal this month, but I’m satisfied with my choices nonetheless. Book Outlet had a great sale, Book of the Month Club had great selections, and I think I’m prepared now for a month full of spooky reads in October. It’s crazy that it’s almost fall here already, but there it is. At least I’ll have plenty of reading material to get me through the colder weather.

And now for the new books:

  1. Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. A Book of the Month choice from the August selections. This one’s a suspenseful psychological thriller about a mother and her young son stuck in a zoo after hours as a murder spree is under way. I’ve already read and loved this book.
  2. The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh. Here’s another fresh Book of the Month selection that I’m also really excited about and hoping to get around to reading early next month, before my Sept BOTM box arrives. This one’s been described as a speculative modern Western, which sounds like nothing I’ve ever read and I’m eager to see for myself what this book is doing. The premise reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, which I loved.
  3. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson. This is the third book in the Kiss of Deception trilogy, which I have been waiting to read until I got my hands on this third book. Now I can start any time. I don’t know anything beyond the premise of book one (a runaway princess is chased by her betrothed and an assassin, and the reader doesn’t know which is which), but I’ve heard good reviews about the entire trilogy, so I’m taking a chance on enjoying the whole thing. At least the matching set looks nice on my shelf.
  4. The Once and Future King by T. H. White. This is a classic fantasy book about the legend of King Arthur, and I’ve heard the title and other versions of the tale, but I’ve never read this book. Since I’ve been reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ve been more interested in epic fantasy, and I’ve always been fascinated by King Arthur’s story, so I’m really excited about this one.
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I’ve been getting into a few of Gaiman’s stories this year and generally enjoying them, so I keep picking them up. I found this mass market paperback size for $2, and I think this will be my next Gaiman read. It’ll be a good fit for October, I think, because as far as I remember this is a creepy story about someone dead and their spooky childhood adventures. Or something like that. I’ve also heard this one described as a modern classic, which is appealing to me.
  6. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I saw the film of this story several years ago, but I’ve forgotten almost everything about it. I remember being impressed by the story, and I think it would be a great plot to read about before re-watching the movie. It’s about serial killer Hannibal Lecter, his disturbing habits (I think he’s the guy who takes his victims’ skin), and his penchant for escaping justice. It’ll be another great horror tale to read around Halloween.
  7. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. This is a book of King’s short stories, complete with commentary on his ideas for and writing of each of them. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, but many of his books are very long and it’s been a couple years now since I last read one (it was 11/22/63, one of my all-time favorite King novels). A book of short stories seemed like an easy way to get back into the mood for a long and disturbing King novel. I’m also a big fan of a great short story, and I’ve let my reading of those fall behind, as well, so it’ll be nice to get back to that medium as well.
  8. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. I’ve been reading even more thrillers than usual this year, but I’ve never read any of Slaughter’s books. There were several that caught my interest, but I found a cheap mass market size of this one and I picked it up to get me started. I don’t remember the premise of this one at all, but I think it’s one of those usual thriller-series books that follows the detective’s perspective through creepy crimes. I just wanted an easy introduction to the author’s writing, and I like the creativity of the crimes in those sorts of series, like in James Patterson’s 1st to Die.
  9. The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin. Here’s a classic full of shorter pieces. I’ve read a couple of Chopin’s short stories in the past and loved them, and The Awakening has been on my TBR for ages, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a copy on my shelf to be prepared for when the mood strikes me. Her stories are generally empowering and impactful, and the writing is engaging to read. They’re not creepy stories, exactly, but I remember a sense of foreboding pervading her pieces that I found very compelling.
  10. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. I haven’t read much YA of the horror/thriller/mystery sort (the most recent probably being Eileen Cook’s With Malice), but this one intrigued me. I think it’s about a girl looking into her father’s suspicious death and finding more danger than she bargained for. I’ve seen some good reviews and I think it’ll add variety to my creepy October reads to have some scary YA mixed in there with the classics and thrillers and Stephen King novels.
  11. Ruined by Amy Tintera. I have a weakness for YA fantasy. I don’t read them as often as I’d like, but I can’t resist picking them up. I believe this one’s also got a bit of romance in it, but I’ve heard good things about the world-building and the fast-paced plot, so I’m hoping there are plenty of those fantasy elements in here as well. I think this one’s a story of revenge, with maybe a royal marriage and some murder and political intrigue. That’s all I know so far, and all I want to know going in.
  12. The Muse by Jessie Burton. I still haven’t read Burton’s The Miniaturist, but I’ve heard such good things about this author and both of her books, and they both sound like my type of lit fic, so I’ve picked up this one to match the other on my shelf and I’m hoping to get around to both of them in the not-too-distant future. This one follows two time lines and a painting, and the cover is gorgeous.
  13. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve only read two of Austen’s books so far, but they’ve convinced me that I need to read them all. I’m only short a copy of Mansfield Park now, I think. Anyway, Sense and Sensibility may be the last Austen book I read this first time around because I’ve already seen a film adaptation of it. I’ve been trying to save the movies for after the books, but I failed on this one so I’m trying to forget as many details as I can before picking it up. But now I’m prepared for that day.

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So those are my new books. I’ve only read one of them so far, but I’ll be ready to pick up The Blinds any day now, and a bunch of these look great for October. Most of these look like books I could see myself picking up within the year, which is what I’m going for in my book hauls even if I can’t limit myself to five. Better luck next month, I hope. It’s the sales that get me every time.

What new books did you pick up this month?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

July Book Haul

Great news, guys, I stuck to my goal! I’ve been trying to acquire five books or less every month in 2017 because I want to work through a bunch of unread books already on my shelves, but I think this is only the second time I’ve actually accomplished it. Because books. They’re so tempting. Here’s what’s new –>

  1. Final Girls by Riley Sager. This is my July selection from Book of the Month Club, a slasher thriller about a handful of girls who’ve all been the “last one standing” after a murder spree. Now their initial survival is making them targets again, and this time the escapees won’t all survive. I’ve already started reading this book, but I think I’ll be finishing in early August.
  2. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Here is an extra selection from BOTM that appeared on their list earlier this year, but was initially published in 1994. It fulfills a slot in my 2017 reading challenge, so I added it to my July box and will definitely be reading it before the end of the year. It takes place at the turn of the 19th century, which is one of my favorite time periods to read about, and features a psychologist (or alienist) as part of the team to solve a grisly murder.
  3. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I pre-ordered this book earlier this month because I’ve loved Ware’s previous two books and I wanted to get my hands on this one as soon as possible. This one’s a thriller about a body that washes up on shore and a group of women who were friends from childhood who’ve made a game out of lying. Now it seems that one of them has been lying to the others and someone’s life is at stake… I would’ve read this one already, but the mail was slow so I’m starting today.
  4. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I bought the first two books in this series in paperback at the end of 2016 and had kind of been waiting to read them until I could get this one to match and finish out the collection. The paperback came out this month, and now I’ve read book one and intend to be reading book two literally at any moment, so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this trilogy’s ending, and I can’t wait to see for myself how it’ll end.

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And that’s it. My short and sweet July book haul list. This is one haul I’m sure will be completely crossed off my TBR before the end of the year, which I’m proud of. It means I’ve made smart choices about what I will actually be reading soon. This is what I was aiming for all year, but I’ve only accomplished it maybe twice, so I expect bigger book hauls on the horizon. I already have a Book Outlet order planned for August, so we’ll see how far off my goal of 5 I’ll be next month.

What new books are you looking forward to reading? Have you read any of these?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

June Book Haul

I had a goal of buying only five books this month, and… I almost made it, until the Book Outlet sale. Without the Book Outlet books I ordered this month, I acquired only 6 books in June, and at the time that I bought book 6 I thought, “I could resist this if I really wanted to, but I already failed my goal so why not?” So I’m going to keep trying for 5 books per month in the future, but in the meantime, here are my 14 new books from June:

  1. Vicious by V. E. Schwab. This one technically arrived in my mailbox on the last day of May, but I had already posted my monthly book haul so it carried over. I still haven’t read any V. E. Schwab yet, but she’s high on my list, and after much consideration I think this will be the first one I will read. I was hoping to get to it in June already, but I got a little off of my TBR so probably July. I think it’s about a bunch of college kids who are trying to become superheroes, which sounds pretty awesome.
  2. White Fur by Jardine Libaire. The Book of the Month Club selections for June hit the mark for me exactly, so I couldn’t resist filling my June box with the maximum number of selections–3 books, all brand-new in June. This one’s a gritty Romeo and Juliet type romance, and I’ve already read and adored it.
  3. The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy. Here’s my second BOTM selection, which I’ve also read already. Sometimes I’m bad about reading my new books promptly, but I was already off of my TBR when my BOTM box arrived and I couldn’t help myself from diving right in. In this one, two sisters fourteen years apart in age suddenly find themselves parent-less and set off across the country, trying to escape the past and find their way by any means necessary. All the emotions come out in this book.
  4. A Million Junes by Emily Henry. And this is my final BOTM pick for the month. I haven’t read Henry’s previous publication yet, but this magical realism YA romance sounded exceptional and as soon as I finished reading the blurb I added both of her books to my TBR. I’m actually starting this one now, and quite enjoying it.
  5. The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry. As long as we’re talking about Henry’s books, I might as well admit that her first book also found its way to my shelves this month, via the Book Outlet sale. This is another YA magical realism with some romance, and I believe it’s a completely separate story but set in the same world as her newer release. I hope to get to this one soon, as well.
  6. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I’ve been hearing a lot about this series since its third book came out earlier this year, so when I saw how cheap it was on the Book Outlet sale I added it to my cart, along with:
  7. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. This is book two in the same series. I believe they’re a futuristic fantasy/dystopia set that’ll eventually be seven books long, which sounds like a nice break from all the trilogies I’ve been reading lately.
  8. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Long reputed to be the first modern novel, this classic was written in the early 1600s. Whenever I find a long classic I want to read, I tend to buy it because they’re easier when I don’t feel rushed by a library due date or an impatient friend. I found this one also on Book Outlet and it’s more of a long-term reading goal than an immediate one, but I’m making an effort to read more classics lately so hopefully it won’t be unread on my shelf for too long.
  9. Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King. Another Book Outlet find. I’ve heard great things about A. S. King’s writing, and this book in particular. I think it’s about a boy with a grief-addled family who’s also being bullied, but he escapes through adventurous dreams about the place where his grandfather died in the Vietnam War in an effort to escape his harsh reality.
  10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I know very little of the plot–I think a boy finds a neighbor’s dog dead in the yard at night and is trying to piece together what happened. I picked this one up because I have a metal bookmark that’s printed with the titles of “50 books to read before you die,” and this one’s on that list. I’ve liked the books I’ve read from that list so far, so I didn’t really need to know more about this book than that.
  11. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I loved Jodi Picoult’s books in high school. I think it was around the same time I was reading a lot of Nicholas Sparks books. I haven’t ready anything of either of theirs lately, but there are still a few Picoult titles I’d be interested in checking out to see if I still like her stories or have grown out of them as I believe I’ve grown out of Sparks’. I’ve decided to give her latest release a try, and I figured I might as well buy it cheap from Book Outlet and add it to my high school collection of Jodi Picoult novels.
  12. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. My eighth and final Book Outlet selection. Oddly, I hadn’t even heard of Dennis Lehane until I chose his newest publication, Since We Fell, as a BOTM selection a couple months ago. I still haven’t read that one yet, but when I discovered he was the author of Shutter Island (I love that movie), I was very interested in checking out some of his other works. This looked like a good place to start, although I think technically I will start with Since We Fell before moving into more of his books. In any case, I’m intrigued.
  13. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Barnes and Noble classics are only $5 each right now, so of course I had to pick one up. So I combed through the display looking for all the classics at the forefront of my long-term TBR and chose the thickest one. There’s just something so pleasing about getting a long book for a little money. This one’s full of romance and tragedy, which is my favorite combination in a classic.
  14. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. I’m a sucker for those staff-picks displays at bookstores, even at the big chains like Barnes and Noble. The sale books and the staff picks are the first two things I check at any bookstore. When I went into Barnes and Noble planning to buy one $5 classic of undetermined choice, I checked out those staff recommendations and couldn’t resist this new release. It looks like a mystery about a death at a bookstore that’s also connected to past violence and weird use of books. I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

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Those are my new books. I’ve already read two of them. I’m aiming to stick closer to 5 in July, and this time I’m pretty confident. Generally after I spend more money than I planned, I compensate for the empty-wallet guilt by spending very little afterwards. But then again, I was pretty confident that I could stick to 5 books in June, and look what happened. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

What new books did you pick up in June?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

May Book Haul

I did so well this month! I actually read more books than I bought. I read as many books from my own shelves as I bought. I mean, that was my goal for every month this year, but I think this is the first time I’ve actually achieved it. And I’ve already read several of these! New books make me so happy, but I’m proud of myself for sticking to a reasonable number this month. Hopefully the smaller number doesn’t make this a boring book haul, because I’m excited about all of these.

Books I bought in May:

  1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. This is a Gothic classic that has been intriguing me since I read Jane Eyre. I haven’t read a lot of Gothic literature, but I’ve liked what I’ve read, and this one has been recommended to me. I already have twelve classics to read in 2017, but I may even pick this one up as an extra in upcoming months. And if not, it’ll almost certainly be on my list of classics for next year. I ordered this one around the time of my birthday in April, but it took a while to ship. I wasn’t in a big hurry for it anyway, although I am growing more and more eager to read it. It’s pretty rare, I think, for a book to be both popular in its own time, and a long-standing classic, so I’m interested to see if this one lives up to its reputation.
  2. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Despite its overpopularity for a bit there in 2016, I did love The Girl on the Train when I read it, and I liked the movie. I appreciated that the protagonist is fallible. I’ve been in such a thriller mood lately that I thought this one would be perfect, but now that I’ve read it I wouldn’t call it a thriller at all. In any case, I had to see where this author was going after The Girl on the Train before all the hype (or the bad reviews, if it goes that way) could ruin it for me. When I saw BOTM was adding it to their extras in May, I added it to my box so fast and I almost didn’t even care what the actual monthly selections were going to be. They were good though, in case you were wondering.
  3. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. This was my Book of the Month Club pick for May. I was sold at the “literary thriller” description (yep, another thriller), and the fact that this is the same author of the mindwarping novel Shutter Island. If I hadn’t already had so many books in mind to read in May, I would have read this one already, so I’m hoping to get to it soon. I think I want to start leaving my monthly TBRs a little more open, so I have room for unexpected new releases and discoveries that I don’t want to wait for. I’m falling a little behind with my BOTM books, and I think it’s because I tend to plan a pretty rigid TBR for the upcoming month before the new selections for BOTM are announced. I’m still just as thrilled about the books (like this one) that I have yet to read, though.
  4. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I have been waiting for this release (book three in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series) since I read book two in December. Don’t even get me started on the hellish two week wait I endured between its release date and the arrival of my own copy, when reviews started pouring in and that cliffhanger from book two was at the forefront of my mind. But I finally got my hands on this book and read it in about three sittings. Next time, I will have a better plan regarding ordering a new book in a series that I can’t stand to wait for. It’s one thing to wait for a publication date to arrive, but quite another thing to wait for a copy once the rest of the world is already reading the book.
  5. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. When I ordered ACOWAR (above), I had an argument with myself about whether it was better to have books on my shelf that I actually enjoy and could see myself rereading, or that look nice in a set. Meaning, I didn’t think I would want to own book one of this series, but it seemed odd to only own book three. So I ordered ACOMAF, book two, along with ACOWAR, and I’ve already skim-read it again and could maybe even see myself wanting to buy and reread book one at some point for a full series reread, maybe around the time book four comes out. For the Feysand scenes, mostly. I didn’t really like Rhysand in A Court of Thorns and Roses, though it was clear to me that he wasn’t as evil as he was depicted by Tamlin. But this isn’t a review, so I’ll leave it at the fact that I really liked ACOMAF and I’m glad to own my favorite part of this series, at least, if not the whole thing at the moment.

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I’m really happy with this haul. It feels like a good place for my book-buying to be at present. I’m going to set a goal for myself to stick to 5 books for June, just to see how it goes having a planned amount to stick to. (You’d think I would have tried that sooner, but here we are.) I’m mentioning it here to help hold myself accountable, but we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, you can help me plan my June TBR by checking out my first ever Choose My Next Read post! There are a few hours left to vote for the selection you’d like to see me read and review in June, so go look at the list and tell me what I should read next!

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant