I think we’re all nostalgic about something or other, and as a person who writes about books, I am sometimes nostalgic for the days when book discovery was looser and freer. When I was a teen I browsed the library (or occasionally store!) shelves and picked up whatever looked good, regardless of genre. A pretty book cover doesn’t necessarily discriminate between fiction or nonfiction, or age-appropriateness! That said, I’m much happier in general with the quality of the fiction I’m reading now that I mostly go on recommendations. But in keeping with this week’s theme, here are some of the books I recently picked up on a whim (free of recommendations – from anyone!).
Ten Books I Picked Up On a Whim
1. Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books by William Kuhn – I visited Dallas earlier this year to see a dear friend who relocated to Texas. We went to the Book Depository, the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald (allegedly) shot JFK. It’s an interesting museum, and I learned quite a lot. I picked up this book in the museum shop because it looked interesting, and I bought it because I had no idea that Jackie Kennedy Onassis worked in publishing!
2. The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy, illustrated by Emily Sutton – When I was at BEA this last week, I did one last ‘wander’ around the convention exhibits floor before I left. Candlewick was closing up shop and giving away all of their display titles. I happened to pick this one up, and I’m so glad I did! I LOVED it, and have already written & scheduled my review for September.
3. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – This title and the next one were books I picked up while browsing at Amazon Books, the new Amazon bookshop concept in Seattle. I was there with my mom, sister-in-law and aunt, and I was the only one who picked up anything to purchase. We had a great time checking out the unique layout and sharing our opinions afterwards, though!
4. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken – As I mentioned in my review of the Amazon Books shop, they had an interesting (and limited) selection of titles. This was one of the few older titles on the shelf, so I read the cover copy and then realized I had to have it.
5. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – There used to be a bookshop in Skaneateles, New York, where my grandmother and uncles live (and since they host Thanksgiving and Easter, I visit!). It was right across the way from the bakery, so when I was sent out to get fresh bread I’d pop into the bookstore. I picked this up on one of those little trips, mostly because it was about books and I recognized the author name.
6. Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne – As an adult I have certain requirements when I travel: there must be good food, good museums, and a bookshop visit. I went to Ireland with friends in 2013, and had an amazing time. Some of my favorite souvenirs were the books I picked up from a shop in Dublin, including a signed copy of this middle grade title (which I still haven’t read)(no judgement).
7. Armada by Eric Cline – The story of this one is simple. My friend Melissa sent out an email to our book club asking if anyone wanted the book. I replied back first.
8. The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas – My mother used this cookbook all the time when I was growing up. I saw this copy at a book sale a few years back and immediately added it to my library. Another step on the (mostly unconscious) life journey to turn into my mother? Maybe.
9. Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater – There’s a Barnes & Noble bookstore around the corner from the Apple Store I frequent, so I go there to wait and browse a few times a year (hey look! books! entertainment!). I picked up this title and the next one on one of those journeys.
10. Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt – I didn’t mean to read this book at all – I just wanted to look at the pictures. But it’s really too cute for words, so I ended up finishing it right there in the store. Art can make or break a book!
What’s the last book you picked up on a whim?