I’ve been busier than usual lately, which is why you’re not seeing as many reviews. One reason is that I’ve been volunteering at my local library. I’m very fortunate to have a beautiful library, just blocks from my neighborhood. Every year, pre-COVID, they would hold a big fundraiser book sale from donated books. For the last two years, Alexandria locals have been cleaning out their bookshelves and donating books, and this was the first time the library volunteers felt they could plan an in-person sale.
Volunteering was a lot of fun, and unexpectedly hard work. The sale spread over a week and turnout was strong, especially during the last two days which were “half-price day” and “fill a bag for $10” day. As you might imagine, library volunteers are a great group of people and everyone couldn’t have been nicer.
It brought back very fond memories of my bookstore days as I spent my time filling and organizing shelves, hauling boxes of books, helping people find things, and picking out books placed in the wrong section and finding their proper home. Volunteers were instructed to think about where would an interested reader be most likely to find this book? So sometimes that meant putting a memoir in the cookbook section (such as Ruth Reichl’s books) or putting a children’s book in classics, or fiction in the African-American section. Only a real book geek would find this fun, I suppose.
And though I tried to resist, I came home with a lot of books, many of which I’m sure will end up being donated right back to the library for their next sale. I don’t even read many paper books, but I do like to spruce up my shelves every so often, and this was for a good cause.
Now, here’s where you come in. Which of these books should I prioritize reading? Here are some of the books that found their way into my bag:
- The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (I loved her other series)
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (always recommended)
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud (an author I’ve never read)
- Passing by Nella Larson
- Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (a sequel to the excellent The Sparrow)
- Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (I’ve seen this recommended)
- Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (I’ve really enjoyed two of her other books)
- All Clear by Connie Wilson (a sequel to Blackout, which I loved)
- The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss (I loved two of her other books)
- I’ll Be Right There by Kyung Sook-Shin (who wrote Please Look After Mom).
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (I also have Eileen which I haven’t read)
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (because of course)
- Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher (I’ve seen mixed reviews of this one)
If you’ve read any of these, please let me know what you thought of it. Thanks!