Goodwill (Book) Hunting

I still have two weeks to go on my self-imposed book-buying ban. This weekend, however, while J.C. was supplementing her fall wardrobe, I did a little book shopping at the Goodwill; and since I was able to slip the books into her cart (beneath an orange sweater and a pair of gray wool pants), technically, I didn't buy them and am thus maintaining said book-buying ban (though I have had a few slip-ups). My finds:

Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney--I have a Vintage Contemporaries copy of this somewhere around the house, but the one at Goodwill was the mass market paperback with Michael J. Fox on the cover. At 88 cents, I couldn't pass it up.

The Other Side of Dark, Joan Lowery Nixon--She won the Edgar Award for a couple of her YA novels, and I've been meaning to check one out. Now I have the chance.

The Men's Club, Leonard Michaels--I always like his stories, but haven't ever tried his novels (I'm not sure, even, if they're in print). I read the first few pages of this while behind me, a ten-year-old girl modeled high heels for her impatient father. Though they couldn't decide on a pair, I loved the opening of this, and came to the conclusion I should have it.

Crash Diet: Stories, Jill McCorkle--I love finding hardcover editions of story collections by great writers, especially when I find them at the Goodwill, where hardcovers go for $1.38.

Three Genres, Stephen Minot--A "How to Write" resource, from which I'm sure I'll find a worthwhile story or exercise or two.
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And since I'm on the topic of my self-imposed book-buying ban: My interlibrary loan of Tom Drury's The Driftless Area arrived a few weeks ago, and I devoured the thing. I wanted to write a long review/post about Drury in general and The Driftless Area in specific, but when I tried, all that came out was how much I liked him and his latest novel.

Here's why I like everything by him I've read (in general) and this book (specifically), in a nutshell: I'm a big fan of "strangeness" in literary fiction, and Drury manages plenty of strange while also consistently being funny and poignant and presenting three-dimensional human beings on the page.

I tried to think, too, of how this book would be cast if a movie were made of it, but I came to the conclusion that it's a novel, by god, and the way Drury so beautifully manipulates time and character and situation deserves to be read on the page, not viewed on a movie screen. I suppose a fairly cool art-house flick could be made of The Driftless Area, but right now I like it as is: a bunch of magical black marks on no-less-magical, off-white paper.

Do yourself a favor and read this book. But before you run out to the bookstore, you can go here for one of Mr. Drury's stories.


Southern Writer said...

Have you ever seen The Gods Must be Crazy? What a hoot.

They just opened a Goodwill bookstore in our town. I've been meaning to get by there. Next month is the annual library sale. Paperbacks are a dime or a quarter / hardbacks fifty cents or a dollar. I'm a Friend of the Library so I got first dibs last year and loaded up.

fringes said...

I added these to my list, both on blog and off. Thanks for the recommendations. I hope school is going well for you.

Chad Simpson said...

Lesia--I haven't ever seen The Gods Must be Crazy. Why do you ask? And I do love those library sales. This year, I actually had a woman, a complete stranger, hand me two books. Then she said, "You should read these." They weren't exactly the kind of thing I would usually read, but I bought them anyway, just because I appreciated the sentiment.

Fringes--Do check out The Driftless Area. It's fantastic. And school is going pretty fantastic; thanks for the well wishes.