I’m going to put all these books away now. Since I brought them home in May they’ve been in a stack on the living room floor, but other books have come into my life since then (surprise), so it’s time to wrap up this used book haul, the biggest of the year.
1. Survival by Margaret Atwood
Love it or hate it, this book is an inescapable take on CanLit. It’s not known as Margaret Atwood’s most approachable or popular work, but it was highly influential and I’ve always wanted to read it. The CBC book sale had a whole table reserved for Atwood titles that had been donated, but this was the only copy of Survival that I could see.
2. Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James
I haven’t reviewed anything like this yet, but I have a running list of classic weird, paranormal, and horror fiction that I look out for. M.R. James, an English medievalist from the early 20th century, had a reputation for penning some of the best ghost stories out there, so I couldn’t pass this up for a few dollars.
3. Wonderful Life by Stephen J. Gould
A must-have of popular science: palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould explores the rich fossil deposits of B.C.’s Burgess Shale and what they tell us about evolution. The book sale had several copies of this, so it must have been trendy when it came out.
4. Bluebeard’s Egg by Margaret Atwood
I’m having an Atwood moment right now. This is the second of three books of hers on this list. Maybe it’s because I recently read her most famous novel for the first time (review coming), which has since had major publicity as a TV series. Maybe it’s because I just watched a fascinating, though occasionally awkward, documentary about her, and could relate to “Peggy” and her family spending summers canoeing in the wilderness of Ontario, as my family did.
Anyways, this is a first edition of her 1983 short story collection and features luscious new-agey cover art.
5. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
I have trouble naming a favourite book, but if I were going to try, The Sound and the Fury would be in the running. I have a few other Faulkner titles, but Absalom, Absalom! was conspicuously not one of them. Until now.
It contains what Guinness World Records recognizes as “the longest sentence in literature,” which I think guarantees a fun read.
6. Calgary Cavalcade by Grant McEwan
I don’t know anything about this book, except that I’d never heard of or seen it before. But I seem to be collecting obscure books about Calgary, so this one is a worthy addition.
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More book haul coming up in Part 2!