Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sunday Salon: Coming Home with New Books

Before I left on my vacation (which was simply fabulous, by the way) I posted about the never-ending dilemma of packing books.  Of course, I packed way too many books...especially considering the fact that I bought more while I was there.  Oh well, better safe than sorry, right?  I finished 4 books, but I must have brought twice that many.

I love buying books while on holiday--they make wonderful souvenirs.  While in Dublin, I purchased 3 books at the Temple Bar Book Market.  The next 2 I purchased at a lovely little shop in Clifden, and our last stop was at a shop in Dingle.

An Ideal Husband (Optimized for Kindle)
1. An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde
I didn't even realize that Oscar Wilde was an Irish author until I went to the Dublin Writer's Museum.  The Importance of Being Earnest really sold me on his wit and imagination, so I thought Ireland was a better place than many to acquire my next sampling of his work.

McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland2. McCarthy's Bar, Peter McCarthy
Okay, to be honest, I never would have bought this book of my own volition.  But the bartender at the hotel where we were staying in Dublin had really good taste in whiskey, and he was reading this book.  Sometimes I'm a really easy sell.  The fun anecdotes will provide happy-Irish-thoughts when I'm really wishing I was back there.

Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America3. Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America, Joseph O'Connor
Well, I like Joseph O'Connor (loved Star of the Sea) and the Irish, and America.  That's about all there was to this choice.  This may be one of those books that sits on my shelf for quite a while...but oh well.  It's a "someday" read.

Ghost Light: A Novel4. Ghost Light, Joseph O'Connor
This was only released in the US on 2/1/2011, but it has been out in Ireland long enough to be in paperback.  When I found out that Dublin had chosen this book for their One City, One Book, I decided I'd join them.  They are reading this in April, so I can get cracking at any time!

The Secret Scripture: A Novel5. The Secret Scripture, Sebastian Barry
Recommended by the bookseller in Clifden, this book is about a woman who has lived much of her life in an insane asylum in Roscommon, and whose psychiatrist is wondering if she ever should have been there at all.  It was a great read--I'll be reviewing it soon!

6. No Country For Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
No Country for Old Men (Vintage International)Decidedly un-Irish in setting, but my husband keeps asking me if I've read it, so it seemed a good time to pick it up!  I thought The Road was so vivid and unsettling, I was amazed at McCarthy's talent and am eager to try another of his novels, unsettling though it may be.

The Passage7. The Passage, Justin Cronin
This was my husband's purchase actually, but I'm counting it anyhow.  He rarely has time to read, much less explore new authors, so seeing him dive into this huge book was a rare treat for me!  He's finished it already--what a guy. :)

Now...I am definitely not in need of more books.  My TBR shelf weighs on me enough already.  But if it is a matter of bringing home goofy knick-knack souvenirs or books, you have to know which I'll be choosing.  It's hard to resist, especially when I don't get the chance to buy from small booksellers very often.  Most of my new books come from Amazon, B&N, or used from my local book shop.  But a small bookseller featuring newly published books?  Just not so common around here.  I wish it were!  Do you have small booksellers around you? Wish you did?


  1. Hello Melody

    I love Joseph O'Connor too - he's one of my favourite authors. Your holiday sounds great. I live in London but I have visited Dublin a couple of times. Did you see the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square?

    I have an independent book store near me but I also buy from Amazon. I have just bought a Kindle. Much as I love paperbacks, I do love the Kindle, too. I love being able to adjust the text (my eyes are going) - and I love the instant gratification of buying and downloading within seconds.

    Are you going to read The Passage? I haven't read it but I have heard good things about it.

  2. Very nice finds! I'm envious--I've always wanted to visit Ireland where about half my ancestry derives. So, I'm in suspense--what did you finish on the trip?

  3. Oh, I've longed to visit Ireland ever since my eldest son first went there. He went in the mid-nineties for a couple of months; returned to the states, and then went back to Ireland for several more months. He came back that time with wonderful photographs and did a showing (he's a photographer, now living in Berlin).

    But he raved about the pubs. So I would probably pick up McCarthy's Bar, too.

    I, too, love buying books on trips. And then when I read them, I recall the trip again.


  4. I've had The Secret Scripture sitting, partially read, on a shelf for the past year or so. I was liking it, too, so I'm not sure why I never finished it! Maybe your review will inspire me!

  5. Secret Scripture sounds fab. My favorite bookstores are The Red Balloon and Once Upon A Crime. Both are inner-city stores. Red Balloon is a tiny little children's bookstore in an old house and Once Upon A Crime is in the downstairs of an old brownstone. Both have managed to stay in business despite the big chains and online one click buying.

  6. You got some awesome books! I still have Passage on my currently reading list, though I haven't opened it in months now. Some day..... And glad you had a wonderful vacation!

  7. Helen, we didn't quite make it to Merrion Square (close though--Trinity College and St. Stephen's Green) if I'd realized Wilde was there I would have made the extra effort! Guess I'll have to go back. :) I don't think I'll be reading The Passage, with how many other books on my TBR list, but you never know.

    Teacher/Learner, the people there are great--they are what really make the trip memorable. I read How to Be Good (Hornby), finished Villette, and then also The Secret Scripture (Barry) and Expiration Date (Jaffe) this week (hopefully!)

    Laurel-Rain, there are some parts of the landscape there that seem like it would be impossible to take a bad picture of! So gorgeous! A photographer's delight, I'd think. And I agree with your son, the pubs are fabulous.

    fizzy, I was just looking at my amazon wishlist and saw that I'd put The Secret Scripture on my TBR last August...totally shocked me because while reading it I was wondering why I'd never heard of it. ahem.

    Belle, it was great! I'll put up a review soon. You've inspired me to take a closer look into what small bookstores may actually be around me, turns out there's a new one near me! I'll have to go check it out. There are more about 1 hr away, but I'm just never there during the day.

    Aths, yay for new books! I do that pretty consistently--have long books on my currently reading list even if I haven't opened it in forever. It gets to a point where I have to come to terms with my neglect, right? I mean, I started reading the Complete Stories of Flannery O'Conner over 18 months ago and still feel like it's on my "currently reading" list!

  8. Lord have mercy, how did you find room for all those books, and the ones you took with you? Sounds like a great trip and beautiful pictures on your previous post. We do have a lovely small bookstore in Madison, Indiana, and I try to buy as many books as possible there in the hopes that they will stick around. They have new books, can order new books they don't have in stock, and have a nice selection of gently used books which is constantly shifting. They've only been there a couple of years, and it's quite a blessing.


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