20 July 2009

good book hunting

In my office building, there's a small Books For Less branch right on the food podium area. So every time I get my bagel with cream cheese fix, I make sure to pass by Books For Less and do a quick scan of the new piles of previously-owned books--in the hopes that there's a great book out there that's waiting to be owned and loved by me. =)

I find the whole notion of book hunting exciting (even though the books are secondhand), because there are novels out there that people consider as useless junk (sad face) but are actually other people's treasure. I don't frequent shops selling secondhand books, although I happen to like Books For Less because they have a good selection of previously owned trade paperbacks. So going there every lunch hour is a treat, because I never know what might show up in their piles.

So far, I've managed to discover and purchase little jewels like Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled--and even the classic The Velveteen Rabbit, which I've placed on my office bookshelf for officemates' children to read.

I've also encountered in Books For Less novels like A.S. Byatt's The Game, C.S. Lewis' Perelandra, Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game--books which I already have and are actually great books. So why on earth would people want to sell these??? I am so horrified.

Actually, I regret not buying that secondhand copy of The Power of Myth; I should have used it as my lending-out copy, my tool for evangelizing people into Campbell fans. Some friends have actually asked to borrow my one and only copy, and selfish me has always been reluctant to part with it even for just a short while.

And while I'm in the subject of outrageously good finds, I was in Fully Booked High Street last weekend, and came across a pile of books that were marked with a 40% discount. I saw mass market paperback copies of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union and David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, among others.

Okay, first of all, if there was a trade paperback copy of Black Swan Green at 40% off, I would have bought it right away. As it is, I'm not really a mass market paperback kind of girl, so I didn't give in to the temptation of buying it. Secondly and more importantly, I can't fathom why Chabon's Hugo and Nebula Prize-winning Yiddish was on the discount pile. I bought a hardbound copy of it, for cripe's sake. And it was pure verbal candy.

Sometimes, I don't understand the way the world thinks.


  1. nerd, nerd, nerd! hahaha! i envy your sophistication with books. i love reading but usually it's hit and miss with what i get so i usually stick to authors i've known a while. so ngayon, wala na akong mabasa. hahaha.

    i love gabriel garcia-marquez the most and i don't like formula romance novels. hate those. if you have any suggestions for my next trip to the bookstore, i'd appreciate it.

    i need something other than fb to keep me company on nights i can't sleep. :)

  2. Ahahaha. I don't mind being a nerd. You should have seen me when I was in grade school. Really ugly stick thin kid with glasses as thick as the bottom of Coca-cola bottles.

    Oh my God, nataranta ako when you asked me if I have any suggestions! So many books to recommend...!

    Actually if you like garcia-marquez (I like him too!), then you'll probably like Louis de Bernieres. His books are like Garcia-Marquez's--full of that charming magical realism. =)

    Some whimsical books I can recommend:

    1. Birds Without Wings
    2. Corelli's Mandolin (the film adaptation sucked though)

    1. Ella Minnow Pea

    PETER MAYLE (you've probably read him already, though!)
    1. A Year in Provence
    2. French Lessons: Adventures With Knife, Fork and Corkscrew
    3. basically all his books on Provence
    *Mayle is very light reading, but he has a way of making people laugh. And I like how he rhapsodizes about French food and all things French, so best to eat French food, or at least Brie cheese with bread, while reading him (otherwise you'll go hungry the whole time, haha).

    And if you want a book that's really absorbing yet accessible, I recommend A.S. BYATT's Possession. Any day. Not your typical love story. I love it to pieces. And yeah the movie sucked.

  3. Wowee! I'm so excited!!! Thanks for this list, Gina! I'm sure you held back pa. Keep em coming.

    I love Peter Mayle as well. I like writing na hindi "excitable". Yung slow and steady but meaningful and funny.

    I'll jot this list down and put it in my wallet for when I'm in a bookstore. Thank you so much!!!

  4. Oooh, de Bernieres is slow, leisurely and cute funny. I'm sure you'll like him then!

    =) Have fun at the bookstore!