New Books!

Thanks to the wonderful Half Price Books, I got all four books for just under $20. A steal I tell you, a steal.

From the bottom up:

Howards End, E. M. Forester: My last trip to Half Price Books prompted me to buy a lovely hardcover edition of Zadie Smith's On Beauty. I couldn't wait to read it until Greg from The New Dork Review of Books mentioned that it's even better with a working understanding of Howards End. Now I can't pick up On Beauty until I take Greg's advice because I just feel like I'd be missing out. (Thank you for the heads up, Greg!)

The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby: I haven't read any Nick Hornby. Ever. While I know this isn't typical Hornby, it sounded really neat. It's a collection of fourteen months of his essays from The Believer magazine described as "a hilarious and true account of one man's struggle with the monthly tide of the books he's bought and the books he's been meaning to read". If I can't relate to that, I don't know what I can relate to. Super excited for this one!

84, Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff: I don't know what made me think this was a newer book published in the last few years, but it's not, as you can tell by the dated edition I bought (which I love!). Turns out it was first published in 1970 (my edition is from 1974) and must have gotten a recent makeover. I guess a book about book shops and book lovers never gets old.

The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist: I had this on my TBR a few years ago and then it disappeared. (I think I read a bad review of it and took it off.) Then it found its way into my hands and I decided all over again I had to read it; a dystopian novel that explores "a society in the throes of a system geared toward eliminating those who do not contribute by a conventional means".


  1. Can't wait to see your thoughts on The Polysyllabic Spree. I haven't read this one but I loved Hornby's High Fidelity and the premise of TPS looks really interesting and, as you said, relatable!

  2. I love The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the two follow-ups Hornby published. Intelligent, funny, interesting--doesn't get much better!

  3. Ooooooh! I LOVE 84 Charing Cross Road! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    Howards End is also in my TBR pile, but I'm so crazy at the moment that I'm doing well to get my student papers read, so it's going to be a while :)

  4. Really excited to hear your thoughts on The Unit! Like you, this one has gone on and off my list a few times. Too often dystopian novels fall flat in either creating a believable world or plot, so I've been a little hesitant to commit to this one. Hope you enjoy!

  5. Red, I'm really looking forward to that one.

    Amy, What are the follow-ups he published?

    Birdie, Happy to hear you loved 84 Charing Cross Road!

    Jenna, I'll let you know what I think!

  6. 84, Charing Cross Road is in my TBR pile. The film is fantastic, so I'm looking forward to reading the book!

  7. 84, Charing Cross Road is an excellent read! One can never have too many copies of it laying about - I love to buy multiples of my favorite reads. And as far as The Unit goes - that is one fantastic read! It haunted me for quite some time afterward - one of my favorite reads last year. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  8. Woo hoo! I love Half Priced Books and your list is divine. First, Howards End is one of my absolute fav books. And I completely agree, you must read it before reading On Beatuy. Second, The Polysyllabic Spree is so good! I really like Hornby, but this is one of his best. Everything he says in it is so relatable. It's just one reader talking to other readers.

    84, Charing Cross Road is really good too. I didn't realize at first that it's real letters, not fiction. I haven't read The Unit, but I look forward to seeing what you think of all the rest!

  9. The Polysyllabic Spree is so much fun! enjoy!

    Howard's End isn't too shabby either.

    a great stack of books to own, love that they were such a steal.

    ~L (omphaloskpesis)

  10. Questionable Housekeeping, I didn't know there was a movie!

    Nadia, Happy to hear The Unit is a good one! Like I said I read a couple bad reviews but decided to give it a go.

    Melissa, Glad you second Greg on the Howards End suggestion. Also, I didn't know 84 Charing Cross Road was non-fiction. That's pretty cool.

  11. 84, Charing Cross Road is a great read. The film is also really good. If you enjoy it, you should also check out Q's Legacy - Helen Hanff's account of how the Charing Cross road book came about.

  12. The Unit was the best book I read last year, hands down. It was no contest. And dytopian novels aren't my thing at all, but I LOVED it. I actually cried in my book club meeting when we were discussing it (I think I hid it well enough.) Wonderful book! Hope you love it too!