My Library Book Sale Finds

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!

  7 comments for “My Library Book Sale Finds

  1. May 18, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    I also volunteer for the library booksale! Though in my case it’s weekly (it did go on hiatus for Covid) and run by the Friends of the Library. I need to grab Gentleman in Moscow next time it comes by; so far I have avoided temptation but I really want it. I vote you read All Clear (I love Willis) and Bad Feminist, which I have not read.

  2. May 19, 2022 at 6:53 am

    I’ve only read Passing out of those, though I really liked the one Connie Willis I have read (To Say Nothing of the Dog). Looks like a perfectly acceptable haul for having worked at a big library sale!

  3. May 19, 2022 at 11:38 am

    I enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow, Anna Karenina, and Passing but will add a recommendation for The Emperor’s Children. The reviews on goodreads are mixed, but I find Claire Messud to be among today’s smartest, most perceptive, and talented writers. This particular novel was my favorite the year I read it.

  4. May 20, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Oh, I loved A Gentleman in Moscow! And based on your other reviews, I think you will find Shanghai Girls poignant. Enjoy! That looks like an amazing book haul.

  5. May 21, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    What a lot of great books, and in beautiful condition! If you don’t read them they’ll look pretty on your shelves. I’ve read Anna Karenina, Children of God, and A Gentleman in Moscow. All good if you should ever be in the mood for them. I read Blackout, but then couldn’t get through All Clear – my interest in Connie Willis’s WWII narratives suddenly fizzled out after reading a number of them. Did you read the first book?

  6. May 21, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Your volunteer work for the library sale sounds like great fun and a tremendous amount of work. This sounds like something I would sign up for–so nice to be around books and book people. And there is no doubt that I, like you, would come home with a bunch of irresistable books!

    Should you land on it, Passing is an excellent book. I have recently started learning more about the Harlem Renaissance, and this book and its author were a big part of that cultural explosion. Very interesting, thought provoking, and well written.

    A Gentleman from Moscow is finally on my own tbr shelf and I hope to get to it soon.

    I was tremendously disappointed in Anna Karenina. I love War and Peace, but I found AK, the book and the title character, tedious. But, I know so many people who consider it among the best books ever written.

    The Emporer’s Children has been languishing on my tbr shelf for far too long. Maybe if you read it and review it, I will be inspired to do the same!

    Happy reading.

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