10 Books I Can’t Believe I Got Rid Of!

I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 years now and over the years I’ve accumulated a LOT of books, but I’ve also gotten rid of a lot of books – probably in the range of 500 or so. Now, I didn’t buy all of those books full price. There used to be a great used bookstore in town, and I used to get lots of books at library sales or through buy/sell sites, and sometimes through publishers as well. Lately I’ve been getting into rereading a lot more and there are some books that I would LOVE to reread and wish I still had my original copy! Others, I might have put down and never thought of again and now I might be wishing to give them a second chance. At any rate, here are the ten books that I wish I had never gotten rid of!

1. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

This is one of those books that I had started reading YEARS ago but never actually finished. This book is a historical fiction about World War II. The interesting thing is that Nemirovsky herself was a Jew and was arrested in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz – she died a month later at 39 years old. Two years before her arrest she had been writing what would become Suite Francaise – the first two parts of a planned 5-part story. This current books contains those first two parts which was published 64 years later. Now, when I read this, I had no idea about this backstory. I had really enjoyed what I had read of this book, which was only the first part, but then it got put in a donation box at some point and it left the house. I would love to get another copy of this book so I could reread the first part and finish the story which is, from what I remember, a beautiful human drama.

2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Just like Suite Francaise, this is another book that I was really enjoying while I was reading it, but then it got put aside and eventually donated. This was a huge book – I had the hardback version of it, which was heavy to read, but the story was very good. It was one of those stories that was slower moving, but very full of a dark atmosphere. It’s also a historical fiction, which beautifully weaves together the past and present (historical present) and is the story of the legend of Vlad the Impaler. I was really enjoying this book as I was reading it and I’m really sad that it eventually got donated. I mean, obviously it was my choice to donate it, but I think that at the time where I got rid of it, I wasn’t into reading big books. I recall being very much into shorter fiction that provided quick satisfaction. I would love to pick this one up again and read it to the end. A lot of my bookish friends on Goodreads have given it wonderful reviews so I think it will be well worth it!

3. Q&A by Vikas Swarup

Slumdog Millionaire is probably one of the first book-to-movie adaptations I can remember watching as a book blogger. I read the book and completely adored it, but the movie was so disappointing. This is one of those books that I constantly pushed on people who had seen the movie because it was reminiscent of works by Khaled Hosseini or Lawrence Hill. It had a drive to it and was completely addiction. These days, I’ve been wanting to reread this one and can’t believe I got rid of my paperback copy. This book was so well written and when I recently saw that Swarup had a new book coming out, this one was bumped up even higher on my reread list. I think it’s time to hit the book sales to find myself a copy!

4. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

I remember when this book came out. It was the hottest book on the market, what with it being the first book written by Rowling after Harry Potter. I had been so excited to read it but once I got a copy and dug in, I wasn’t enjoying it. Actually, that’s not fair to say. I think I was enjoying it, but again I was at that point of my reading where I wanted instant gratification and this book was very slow moving. These days, after watching shows like Broadchurch and also getting into Agatha Christie, I would love a book like this. Unfortunately, I gave away my copy – well, unfortunate for me, but I think the person I gave it to enjoyed it! I actually forgot the title of this book and bought a copy of the first Robert Galbraith book instead of this one, last year, thinking that this was the book I wanted to reread. It looks like this one will be another one for my book sale list!

5. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

This Wilkie Collins classic is one of two books on this list that I haven’t actually read! I remember buying it while my husband and I were in Victoria years ago. We stayed at a little hotel that was just a few blocks from a bookstore and on one afternoon of our vacation, my husband was taking a nap so I took a walk to the beautiful two-story bookstore (and maybe stopped at the Rogers chocolate shop, too) and bought this book and a couple others. I never actually did try to read it, but it got put in a donation box – I believe one I donated to the local prison – before I even considered getting back into the classics again. Now I would love to have a copy so I can dive in, but I’m definitely holding out for a Penguin Classics version or one of those beautiful clothbound ones to go with my tiny collection.

6. The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia

It has been so long since I’ve read this book and I recall it being recommended to me by a favourite singer friend of mine, Terami Hirsch. She actually has a song that reminds me of this book and I think when I had originally read this I didn’t totally get it. It’s one of those books that reads like a classic, almost magical realism. I recall loving it when I had read it bur would love to reread it now that I have found my reading tastes have changed. I don’t think I really knew what I liked to read back then and a revisit is definitely in order. (On a side note, I think I read this the year I read my first Kurt Vonnegut, Galapagos, another book I want to reread but thankfully own a copy of.) I honestly don’t even know what I did with my copy of this book, either, because I remember reading it while laying out on the deck in the summer, and the dog came running up next to me, all muddy, and stepped on one of the pages. It was definitely the most unique book on my shelf for the longest time because of this!

7. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro

Another book I had read way back when I had started book blogging! I think I had bought this one because of the gorgeous cover. I always loved books that incorporated music, too, and I just had to get this one just because it had “music” in the title (at the same time, I think I bought Prodigy by Nancy Huston, another music book). I recall really enjoying the stories and adored Ishiguro’s writing. I can’t believe that I didn’t dive into more of his books back then because I think he might have turned into a favourite author of mine had I kept reading. I wish I had this book to reread because I would love to revisit Ishiguro’s writing now that I’m into more classic and adult literature, whereas when I read this, I feel like my reading palate wasn’t quite where it could be.

8. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery is one of those stories that I remember reading in high school or university. It’s one of those stories that starts off normal enough and then literally ends with a bang. Since I owned this book, I decided to read the rest of the stories in the collection and enjoyed them. Prior to this, I had read The Haunting of Hill House and thought it was okay, but even then, I hadn’t been in the mind to read classics and I didn’t appreciate a slower-moving book like I do now. I also didn’t realize the joy in reading a horror story that isn’t like the ones we read these days, by authors like Stephen King or Chuck Palahniuk. There’s just something in a story that you can read on a rainy or snowy evening that has that subtle creepiness to it and I do think that Shirley Jackson has it. I actually bought two of her books last year – We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, both gorgeous hardback copies – but I would love to buy another copy of this short story collection for a reread. I think I would enjoy it more reading it now than when I did years ago.

9. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Just like the Shirley Jackson books I read years ago, Revolutionary Road is one that I read way back in 2009 and didn’t like very much. Looking at my review of this book (which is full of spoilers, since I didn’t quite know the definition of “review” back then) I called the book boring – actually, I said that both the movie and the book were boring. Like I mentioned, these days I love a well-written, slow-moving story, because it’s something that you can really settle deep into and enjoy. There’s something to enjoy in fast-paced novels, but I feel like a drama, especially a drama like this, has to move slowly. I actually said that maybe I had to live back in the 1960’s to really appreciate this book because I just couldn’t stand it. Again, I’d love to reread this now, take my time, and really enjoy it. A lot of people love this book and I think it deserves a second chance!

10. Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards

As with The Woman in White, this is another book that I haven’t actually read. I think I originally bought this one because of a Sarah Slean post. If you don’t know, Sarah Slean is a Canadian singer-songwriter and she used to have a section on her website called “vitamins” where she’d talk about books she’d read, movies she’d seen, or music she’d listened to. This was one of those books that she had raved about and so I bought a copy at a secondhand shop but never got around to reading it. I think it was my first book cull where I donated this book, though I’m still always convinced that I own a copy, which I’ve yet to find anywhere. I would love to get another copy of this to read because I’ve heard it’s a Canadian classic. People I love on Goodreads have given it rave reviews and so I think it’s about time that I’ve finally read it.

And there you have it! These are the 10 books which I used to own but have since gotten rid of – which I would love to own again! You can definitely bet that these will go on my list of books to buy in 2019 from book sales. It’s lists like these that make me rethink giving books away too quickly. As it is, I tend to put books that I think I’ll want to get rid of away in a closet or box and then leave them for a while. If a year or so goes by and I still haven’t thought of that book, then maybe I’ll get rid of it. But even then, you never know! As you can see, years have gone by for some of these and just now I would love to revisit them.

Have you ever gotten rid of a book that you wish you had nowadays? What’s on your list of books to buy that you loved years ago but don’t own? Have you read any of the books on my list? 

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Mini Reviews – Part 2 (The One With ALL the Horror Short Story Read-a-Thon Stories)

Short Story Read-A-Thon

The last review post had the first 6 horror short stories I read last week and this one will have the rest! Can I just say it was an awesome week of lots of great horror writing? Love that I managed to work this into my week, along with some great audiobooks and horror novels! I hope I can do the same next year and maybe read the stories I missed this year!

When The Darkness Presses and The Hole the Fox Did Make by Emily Carroll

I just found out about Canadian graphic artist and writer Emily Carroll earlier last week and I am SO in love with her! I’m also very intrigued by the whole web comic format! She had posted on Twitter about When The Darkness Presses being finished, so I thought I’d check it out. I think some of it went over my head, but I’m eager to go back and explore it again. I think one of my favourite parts of the whole story is the layout of it. It’s just so beautiful and unique … not to mention, you feel that creepy vibe almost instantly!

The Hole the Fox Did Make is also gorgeous and creepy … both stories are those that left me wanting more in the end, or at least wanting to go back and explore more and really dig at the themes of the stories. There are TONS of comics on Emily’s website — definitely worth checking out!

What’s In My Sandwich? by R. L. Stine

When I was on Twitter last week, CBC Books tweeted out a link to a new R. L. Stine Halloween short story. Since I had just been listening to some good ol’ Goosebumps by the author, I added it to my list! I didn’t realize that it was a story he tweeted out. Super short, this story packed a punch! And it made me very thankful that I had different lunch plans.

The Signalman by Charles Dickens

Talk about your effective horror! I’ve actually never read anything by Dickens (though I am a ways through A Tale of Two Cities), so I didn’t know what to expect. This story had such a creepy vibe throughout, and an ending that sent shivers up my spine. I love how it really unnerved me while reading. I knew something was up and there was a little bit of tension and then BAM! By the end, I was terrified! I definitely want to read more Dickens now.

AND I didn’t realize until I finished and looked up some reviews that this is the Doctor’s favourite Dickens. Convenient that I picked this one to read!

The Veldt by Ray Bradbury

I had heard somewhere along the way that Ray Bradbury is the master of horror. I expected a LOT from this story. In a way, this story wasn’t terrifying at all. It was another one of those stories with a subtle horror throughout, something you just couldn’t put your finger on. It’s funny because this is an older story and it kind of predicts what kind of conveniences we have in the future — some of them are absolutely bizarre, but it’s interesting how there was a truth in how much the people in the story relied on those conveniences, much like we rely on ours, even if they’re not quite the same. Another story, just like the Dickens, that had me a little on edge by the end, this one was completely different from what I expected, but still an intriguing little read.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

Maybe I’m not a total Edgar Allen Poe fan. I always expect something terrifying from him, but usually end up not being scared by the end. This one is pretty much what I expected, but I did find the story interesting, the descent into madness the main character experiences. It would almost do better to have this story as more of a full length story than such a short story. I think it would’ve been more effective and set a better mood that way.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

It had been a LONG time since I read this one, but every now and again I whip it out for a reread. This story is terrifying! It’s amazing how much joy Jackson conveys in the first pages of this story, how the reader thinks that it’s such a wonderful thing to have the lottery, only to find that it’s actually quite horrific. And the horror doesn’t really come until the last paragraphs. Why is the woman so upset? Only reading until the very end will tell you why … seriously scary story.

Have you read any of these stories? What did you think? 

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BOOK REVIEW: The Lottery And Other Stories, by Shirley Jackson

Released: February 22, 2005 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Author Links: GOODREADS
Source: Purchased
Buy Now From: Amazon

The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. “Power and haunting,” and “nights of unrest” were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson’s lifetime, unites “The Lottery:” with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jack son’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller.

My Thoughts

Shirley Jackson, I’m trying to like you–I really am. The only story I remember reading previous to The Haunting of Hill House, or to this particular collection of short stories, is the title story from this book, The Lottery. I read it for a short story class in university and was disgusted when I reached the end of the story; something that started off sounding so innocent and happy, ultimately ending in the stoning of someone.

Not what I expected. Continue reading