I haven’t been buying many books in the past few months. Now that I’m back in France, I have to shop online if I want to read in English. Bookstores do sell foreign books but there’s not nearly enough selection. I already own most of the books I’m planning to read in the near future but some other titles have made the list and needed to be acquired. With no further ado, here are the three books I’ve bought lately:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Earlier this year, I wrote an article on the controversy surrounding the announcement of the release of Harper Lee’s new novel (LINK). While researching the issue, I thought a lot about the values of her previous novel, the classic that is To Kill a Mockingbird. When I first read it, I was in grade 7 and not completely fluent in English. Therefore, I did not get everything I could out of the story. I could only remember the central element of the plot (the trial) but none of the specificities. The only thing I was sure about was that I had loved it.
I decided to buy it to refresh my memory before the sequel comes out and found it on Amazon for a very good price. This edition (Grand Central Publishing) is pretty standard for a paperback. The cover is sturdy enough and I absolutely love the front cover. I’m planning on finishing this book today so I might write a review some time soon if you’re interested.
In “My 2015 Reading Plans” post (LINK), I mentioned that I wanted to read more of my beloved Charles Dickens’ works this year. So far, I’ve only got through The Pickwick Papers but seeing the size of that novel, I’m pretty proud. Oliver Twist is a little over 500 pages I think so it should be an easier task. Although this novel is one of Dickens’ most famous work, I don’t know a lot about it. I’ve only caught a few minutes of a movie adaptation once, and I’ve encountered some of the quotes during my literature studies but that’s it. I don’t have a clear idea of the plot apart that Oliver is a poor boy. I’m really excited to get into this book and to finally know what this monument of literature is really about. Oliver Twist is next on my list after To Kill a Mockingbird so I should be starting it tomorrow if all goes according to plan.
To no one’s surprise, I chose to go for the Penguin English Library edition because the cover design is beautiful but also because it is very pleasant to read. As with The Pickwick Papers, the story is published the same way it was at first in the newspapers. The divisions are marked and the gorgeous original illustrations are provided. I just think these attentions add another dimension to the reading experience.
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
In My 2015 Reading Plans, I also said that I wanted to reread the Harry Potter series this year. So far, this project is going well; I finished the third book last week. I’m finding this rereading experience interesting and I’m planning to write a post about it once I’m done with the seven novels. For some reason, I only owned the fifth book in French so I had to go on a mission to find the English version in the same edition as the other books I already owned. Let me tell you, finding Bloomsbury’s first edition of Harry Potter at a reasonable price is not an easy task. I’m not a big fan of using Amazon for ethical reasons although sometimes I have to admit that I enjoy the convenience (see above :s ). The secondhand copies on Amazon were ridiculously expensive but I remembered that when I was looking for the Penguin English Library edition of The Pickwick Papers, I came across this website called BetterWorldBooks. They provide people with used books whilst raising money for literacy (If you want to read more about what they do, here’s a link to their website: LINK). They have tons of books in different editions and the prices vary greatly. Dickens’ novel was fairly expensive but this one was a lot cheaper than the ones I found on Amazon. Now I know that if i’m struggling to find a specific and somewhat cheap version of a book, I can rely on this resource. Be aware that the delivery can take a long time (10-21 days) depending on where the book is located so you have to get organised if you’re planning to read it at a certain time. However, the books are always in good conditions. For The Pickwick Papers, the back cover was a little dirty but it took me 5 minutes to clean and for this one, there is a stain on the bottom of the pages and the spine is a bit wonky but I should be able to fix it easily.
To conclude this post, I really wanted to share with you the email BetterWorldBooks sent me after my order:
“(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note – it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)
Holy canasta! It’s me… it’s me! I can’t believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I’ve got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can’t believe I’m leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already – the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge – so many memories. I don’t have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it’s time to see the world!
I can’t wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol’ brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?
I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I’ve had, I’m ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn’t take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I’ve found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.”
Hope you enjoyed this post, I enjoyed writing it!