Adventures in Book Buying

I’ve been saving up since May to write this post. Here are my book buying adventures of the spring and summer.



I bought these books at the annual Canadian Federation of University Women Book Sale that takes place in May every year at the curling club (where there is lots of space). There are a zillion books ranging in price from $0.25 to $4.

There are several books here that I’ve already read, but didn’t own yet. So, I bought them anyway. I thought about leaving them for other people, but no.

  • Life Before Man – Margaret Atwood
  • The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  • The Deptford Trilogy – Robertson Davies
  • Annabel – Kathleen Winter
  • Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis
  • We Need T Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • Roll Up the Rim – Leo McKay Jr.
  • A Long Way Gone – Ishmael Beah
  • Spanish Fly – Will Ferguson
  • The Imposter Bride – Nancy Richler
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte
  • Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • The Dinner – Herman Koch
  • Ay Antonia – Willa Cather
  • Up and Down – Terry Fallis
  • Our Daily Bread – Lauren B. Davis
  • Inside – Alix Ohlin
  • The Red Tent – Anita Diamant


In June it was my birthday, and because I turned 40, my family and friends spoiled me. 🙂


My mother bought me Black Loyalists: Southern Settlers of Nova Scotia’s First Free Black Community by Ruth Holmes Whitehead and No Relation by Terry Fallis.

With my Indigo gift card, I bought Malarky by Anakana Sschofield and Naked Imperfection by Gillian Deacon.

Most importantly, my 9-year-old daughter made me this Hello Kitty box to hold some of my books:




In July we spent a week at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. On a rainy day, we drove into St. John, where, among others things, we visited Loyalist City Coins & Books in St John. I was happy to find a copy of Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robinson, which just came out this year.


Alma is the town right at the entrance to the National Park, and it has a charming little used bookstore that we visit every time we camp here. This year I found Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Secret History by Donna Tartt.



During our camping trip in August (to Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia), we drove into Annapolis Royal (to go to the Farmer’s Market) and Bridgetown,  (to do our laundry and go to the used bookstore). Endless Shores Books doesn’t look like much on the outside, but the inside is filled with great books, and it’s a good way to kill an hour or two while waiting for your laundry. It also has a good children’s section.


I can’t wait to read these!

  • A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali – Gil Courtemanche
  • The Golden Mean – Annabel Lyon
  • In the Land of Birdfishes – Rebecca Silver Slayter

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At NovelTea Bookstore Café in Truro, Nova Scotia I found a nice copy of Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley.

At The Book Nook, also in Truro, I had some credit for taking books in (mostly kid’s books, because those ones are easier to sort through and part with). Here is what I found in exchange.


  • We So Seldom Look On Love – Barbara Gowdy
  • Natural Order – Brian Francis
  • An Adoration – Nancy Huston
  • Remembering the Bones – Francis Itani
  • The Space Between Us  – Thrity Umrigar
  • The Moons of Jupiter – Alice Munro
  • Hard Light – Michael Crummey
  • Obasan – Joy Kogawa
  • Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

In hindsight, I did pretty well this summer. Now I want to know what you which ones you recommend first, or last. Which are your favourites? Which ones did you hate? What books did you pick up during your travels this summer?

49 thoughts on “Adventures in Book Buying

  1. rivercityreading says:

    It’s so neat to see all of the books you picked up over a stretch of time! A Secret History needs to scoot up to the top of your list 🙂

  2. My Book Strings says:

    What a wonderful way to remember your summer. 🙂 I have a soft spot for Willa Cather, and My Antonia is wonderful. (Heavenali is hosting a Willa Cather event in December.) I have The Space Between Us waiting for me, so I’ll be curious to read your review of it. And once again… I loved looking at the pictures of your books. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks for letting me know about the Willa Cather event- I will have to keep it in mind. As for The Space Between Us, I had just read a review of her new book at The Gilmore Guide to Books, in which she says that The Space Between Us was her favourite by that same author. So, I was happy to find it. I might not have even noticed it among all the other books, otherwise. Another wonderful thing about book blogging! 🙂

  3. whatmeread says:

    It’s going to take you awhile to get through those! I have a similar problem. My entire bedstand is filled with books and so is the top of my desk, piled about eight high in three piles!

  4. Geoff W says:

    So. Many. Books! I don’t know how you do it. I’ve just opened your Annabel review to read when I come back from a lunch meeting. I thought it was wonderful and can’t wait to read what your thoughts were.

  5. Alex says:

    I think you are tremendously brave to bring all your purchases together like this. I would die of shame if I had to admit in public to the number of books I’ve bought over this past six months. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I don’t live anywhere near enough to go to your University Women’s Book Sale, because if that is the calibre of book that is available I would give my bank manager a yearly heart attack.

    • Naomi says:

      Ha! Luckily, most of these books were very reasonably priced, and spaced out between May and September. I would love to hear about all your book purchases- feel no shame. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Cecilia says:

    What a mouthwatering post!! I love seeing your books and at the same it makes me feel much less guilty about my book-acquisition habits. 🙂 I think it’s amazing how many books/bookstores you were able to encounter this summer! I did restrain myself a bit this year, and didn’t get as many as I would have liked…I picked up Haruki Murakami’s memoir while in Japan and at our local library used bookstore I picked up 5-6 books…Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness for reaching my summer reading goal and then a few others that I’d been looking for for quite some time, including To Kill A Mockingbird. From your list my favorite is Interpreter of Maladies. A number of others like 100 Years of Solitude and We Need to Talk About Kevin are in my TBR piles as well!

    • Naomi says:

      I have to admit to being a bit surprised at how many books I acquired between May and September. I have never kept track before. But, I love it too much to feel like I shouldn’t have bought them all. And, really, because they are mostly fabulous deals, it is not as expensive a habit as many other things (like clothes, shoes, hairstyles, make-up, etc. , all of which I can mostly do without). I love seeing the books that others have , so I thought I’d keep track and post about it myself. It sounds like you picked up a few good ones this summer, too! I hope you end up liking Too Much Happiness! I love the title of that one! I will have to read Interpreter of Maladies soon. It seems to be highly recommended. I’m glad I can make you (and others) feel better about their book buying habits! 🙂

      • Cecilia says:

        Ha ha, I’ve accumulated sooo many books over the last 2 years (that is when I started)! But I agree with you about the expenses. I buy the vast majority of my books used, at our library sales, and I am not a big shopper of clothing, make-up, etc. either. I do love eating out, but we don’t go anywhere fancy. There are definitely worse “vices” than book collecting, and it is always reassuring to meet other addicts! 😉

  7. Amy Sachs says:

    I agree, this is a great idea for a post, rather than small book hauls every time! I LOVED The Secret History and The Dinner, so if you had to pick a few to move to the top of the list, those get my vote!

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks for the suggestions! I have been interested in reading both of those for a while now. And, that’s the second mention for The Secret History.

  8. ebookclassics says:

    I love this post! I also loved the Hello Kitty box. When we eventually get to visit the East Coast again, I’m going to look for all of these book stores.

  9. buriedinprint says:

    Doesn’t everyone need a Hello Killy box for the top shelf? Those Ikea expand-a-shelf things will be worrying about their potential loss to market share. Enjoy all your lovelies: am glad they have a loving happy bookish home!

  10. buntymcc says:

    I take it you were NOT biking during that book-accumulating vacation. I’ve been scouting your lists for something to read next, having just finished The Goldfinch, which irked me no end. Perhaps The Orenda…

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, The Orenda! Good choice! I haven’t read The Goldfinch yet, but most people seem to like it. I’m curious to know what it was that you didn’t like?
      If you decide to read The Orenda, let me know what you think!
      No, there was no book buying on the bike trip. 🙂

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