Borders Roundup

As I’m sure everyone in or outside the book blogosphere knows, due to bankruptcy Borders has had to close shop on something like 30% of their bookstores across the country. While there are definitely conflicting opinions about the value of larger chain bookstores that can afford to be more well-stocked than their independent brethren, it’s a sad sight to me to see any bookstore at all have to shut its doors for good. On the other hand, this means that the Borders stores in question are selling their remaining product and even fixtures at greatly reduced prices, and the cheapskate in me who refuses to pay retail for anything jumped at the chance to swing by our local closing-down Borders yesterday. If you know me, you know that I hardly ever buy books new–I tend to frequent my local library as much as possible, and I’ll collect stacks of weird books that I find at thrift stores or used bookstores. Maybe that’s why I went a little crazy and walked out of Borders with as many books as I could carry, plus one or two.

Without further adieu:

The Child Thief, by Brom.

I’ve heard good things about this book circulating for ages, and I’m (almost) always up for retellings of famous stories: in this case, Peter Pan. Plus, and I say this in the kindest way possible, Brom’s author photo cracks me up something fierce.

It’s like when I look at it my hands curl into the Rock Lock of their own accord. YEAHHHHHH.

The Bible According to Mark Twain, edited by Howard G. Baetzhold and Joseph B. McCullough.

I’m an incredibly easy sell when it comes to Twain’s work, and I’ll be the first to admit that, despite believing in Biblical works solely as valuable literature, Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve gets me a little weepy. So, why not?

Trickster’s Choice, by Tamora Pierce.

Did I say I was an easy sell when it comes to Twain? I meant I’m an easy sell when it comes to, uh, books. Anyhow, Tamora Pierce is one of my childhood author heroines, so I grabbed this without really knowing anything about it. Checking up now reveals it’s the first in a duology about The Lioness’s daughter? All right! I can definitely get behind that. Speaking of Tamora Pierce…

Emperor Mage, by Tamora Pierce. The third book in, possibly, my favorite YA series of all time as an actual YA. I wanted to be Daine so badly. Somewhere along the way, my copies of this series wandered out the door, so I’m happy to be adding them back into my library. My only real issue with this particular printing is the change in the cover:

I get a severe case of the mehs when looking at this. It’s so purple and vague. What happened to Joyce Patti’s fun and pretty cover illustrations? So now this one doesn’t match my copies of the first two in the series, which is a little irksome, but I’ll get over it. Anyway, I remember this book with especial fondness because it’s the one where Daine encounters hyenas for the first time and thinks they totally rock, and I am behind her 100%. Ain’t nothing wrong with scavengers!

Parable of the Talents, by Octavia E. Butler.

Jessica has been hounding me for millennia to read some of Octavia Butler’s inarguably fine work, so I snagged this while perusing the wreckage of the SF shelves. I haven’t actually read a great deal of POC fiction, outside of my collegiate work on Samuel Delany and a handful of other authors here and there, so I’m excited to get into one of Delany’s contemporaries and really work with her texts. Apparently this is one of her works that Jessica actually hasn’t read, so go me for getting to it first! It looks politically and religiously and racially fascinating.

The Lady in Red: An Eighteenth-Century Tale of Sex, Scandal, and Divorce, by Hallie Rubenhold.

If there’s one thing I like in my nonfiction besides medical stories (thank you, Oliver Sacks), it’s sex scandals! So amen to this. I’m definitely interested to see how much of her own assumptions or judgments the author brings to the table–it seems like there’s a fine line to walk when writing nonfiction between dry, lifeless fact and indulgent assumption and fabrication on the author’s part. There are a few particular nonfiction works I treasure for the author’s ability to breathe an immediacy and a personal closeness into the text without going overboard, and I’m hoping this will live up to that standard. Particularly, I should say, with a somewhat delicate subject where all the players are not available for immediate comment.

Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel. Yeah, I know, everybody and their mother loved Life of Pi, including me. But come on! This is about a donkey and a monkey and their epic journey! Plus, Andy Bridge keeps on knowing how to illustrate a fine-looking jacket cover:

Gorgeous!

Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.

The market seems to be glutted these days with people–experts and not–writing about the human relationship with food, or food processing, or vegetarianism, or so on and so forth. It’s a little overwhelming. I’ll be completely honest and say that I really only picked this up because Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a really interesting read and I wanted to see what he would do with a presumably nonfiction piece.

The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse. Who doesn’t love a little Wodehouse in their life? I may actually have read this one already, when I was in the process of ransacking the local library in Santa Cruz for all things Wooster and Jeeves. However, since my boyfriend Mike has recently discovered his love of Fry and Laurie, I may be able to press this upon him and call it a valuable purchase–not that I wouldn’t either way. It’s also got a very cute New Yorker-looking cover, which is just so apropos (especially since there is a New Yorker blurb right there on the cover).

Mine looks a little less…saturated than that image, but ten seconds is about all I’m willing to spend looking for images of book covers online. Does it show?

With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, vol. 1, by Keiko Tobe.

This manga series about a mother who struggles to raise her autistic son while trying to understand the full effects of the disorder looked like cheese of the highest caliber when I picked it up, but somehow it went home with me anyway. And I’ve read it already. In a single evening. And I kind of want to read it again, and then go back to Borders and pick up volumes 2, 3, and 4. It is a little cheesy, a little fluffy, and full of thirty-minute sort of plots where the single misunderstanding or jealousy is resolved by the end of the chapter, but it also feels very honest. The author interviewed a fair number of parents with autistic children about their lives and how they work with and around their child’s disorder, and I felt through the stories and the writing that the author really came to care about spreading autism awareness and helping people to understand. The tips between chapters on small ways to deal with autistic children–whether you’re the parents or not–are presented simply and with some wry humor. All in all I was very charmed, and will probably end up acquiring the rest of the series somehow-or-other because I’ve truly become interested in the Azumas’ story, and the way it channels many families’ real-life stories.

So there you have it, folks! Have you picked up any good deals or books you wouldn’t ordinarily buy at a closing-out Borders lately?

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