New books

9706722.gifWhile I hate shopping — loathe and despise it — especially when it’s shopping at the mall, it’s made more bearable if I can stop by a bookstore when I’m finished. So the Hobgoblin and I went our separate ways to get the shopping done and decided when we were finished to meet at the mall bookstore, a Walden’s, which is, actually, a sorry excuse for a bookstore. But we had to make do.

And it turns out that that Walden’s is closing (is the entire chain closing?) and all books were 40% off. Yippee! I was happy about the prospect of cheap books, although uncertain what to think about the store closing — I guess it doesn’t matter much, except that it’s the only bookstore in the mall, although a Barnes and Noble is just up the street. Does it matter much when crappy bookstore chains close? Is that a bad thing or a good thing?

The store was crowded with people excitedly looking for cheap books; I’ve rarely seen a bookstore that crowded, and the feeling of excitement was fun. The only problem was that I really couldn’t find a lot that caught my attention. What’s the use of having a great sale when the book selection is miserable? I did find a few things, however, including the 2006 Best American Essays collection; I’ve gotten that series in the past and I’ve loved it, although I found that I’d already read many of the essays in the magazines that originally published them. This one doesn’t appear to have too many repeats. I also found Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth. Armstrong is one of my favorite nonfiction writers — her book A History of God is great, so I’m looking forward to the myth book. Finally, I found Elliot Perlman’s Seven Types of Ambiguity, which I swear I read about on somebody’s blog, but now I can’t remember whose. But it looks like a fun novel. Although I was willing to spend more money if anything else irresistible appeared, it didn’t. Maybe that’ll be the last time I shop at a Walden’s.

20 Comments

Filed under Books, Lists

20 responses to “New books

  1. Dorothy,
    I agree completely with your assessment of Walden’s. Just before Christmas I was in a large mall with my wife. We agreed to meet after an hour. I assumed that time would fly in the bookstore. It was a Walden’s and I was done in 10 minutes. I spent the remainder of the hour sitting on a bench, watching people. Actually, that can be fun, but the bookstore was very disappointing.
    Let us know what you think of the Karen Armstrong book. I read the book in the same series by Margaret Atwood, Penelopiad. It was very enjoyable.

  2. Pierre

    Personally, I dislike Books-A-Million. Barnes and Noble is still my favorite place to actually chill, find a book, and sit in a big comfy chair with a coffee. They just have the good, booky atmosphere going on there. Where I live, the Barnes and Noble’s are near or in the malls, and the new ones are two stories. I’m in heaven :)

  3. That last book sounds intriguing because I’ve considered picking up William Empson’s book of the same title. It’s lit crit book on poetry from the halycon days of New Criticism but reportedly very well-written. Too bad the Walden selection wasn’t very good but that’s to be expected.

  4. Susan (Pages Turned) and I both read Seven Types of Ambiguity this time last year and *loved* it. It’s very intense and not a little creepy but utterly compulsive reading. Enjoy!

  5. Del

    Congratulations on your great finds! Just by chance, I’m carrying Best American Essays 2006 in my bag now to read on the commuter trains of Tokyo. I always look forward to the publication of this book each fall, but this year, I was a little disappointed at first because it seemed that the bulk of the essays are about death – however, now that I’m well into the book, I’m happy to find that even the essays with very death-like titles cover a much broader territory, as essays are wont to do. I’m having fun discussing these essays with a friend who is also reading it and, like this year’s editor, is a psychiatrist.

    I share your admiration for Karen Armstrong’s work and have The Great Transformation on my TBR stack. A Short History of Myth is great, too. Enjoy your new books!

  6. I THOUGHT I saw you at the mall (Sunday, right?), a place I typically avoid at all costs, but we were taking advantage of the closing calendar store (all calendars $4.00) and a discount card I’d gotten for EMS (new coat and new running gear). We were racing in one direction (always in a hurry, trying to get the mall over with as quickly as possible), though, and you were off on the other side, and I’m not one to yell across a crowded mall. We were tempted by Walden’s, but then decided against it. Sounds like we didn’t miss much.

  7. I think Waldenbooks is somehow related to Borders- like their poor cousin or something. I’m not a big fan of malls myself, but if you’re gonna have a bookstore in a mall, it should be done with zeal, not the halfhearted squeak one finds in Waldenbooks. Good job you found that sale, though.

  8. I don’t think we have any Waldon bookstores left here where I live. Their selection always seemed pretty limited, but it is good you found a few things to buy–epsecially discounted. I bought Perlman’s book last year on Susan and Sandra’s recommendation, but have never gotten around to reading it. I think it is sort of sad to see any bookstore close, but as long as there are other options with better selections around maybe it won’t be missed.

  9. Glad you found some books you wanted! I had a history TA named Karen Armstrong so I had to look her up – not the same one. That TA really inspired me to continue on with my history degree so it would have been really wonderful to see her as an author!

  10. I too alleviate the pain of mall shopping by visiting a bookstore! Catherine is correct. Waldens is owned by Borders, just like Daltons is owned by Barnes and Noble. Enjoy your new books, it appears you got some good ones!

  11. I’m rather interested in that Karen Armstrong myself, so I will be keen to know what you make of it!

  12. You will really enjoy Seven Types of Ambiguity. There was a group discussion on Chrissy in WA’s blog early last year, but I can’t link to it because her blog’s been taken over by some evil search page that claims your computer’s crawling with porn.

  13. I’m glad the Armstrong and the Perlman books promise to be good ones!

  14. While Walden’s is a really, really crappy bookstore, I do have such fond memories of it. Growing up, it was our only bookstore in our only mall, which housed only a JC Penney and a Gordon Foodservice, and every month or so my dad would decide it was time for ” a good read” and take me there to select any book I wanted. Walden’s was my first bookstore experience, and it was such a lovely one – just me and my dad, with a cookie from the giant cookie store afterwards, that I will always harbor a warm spot for it, despite its bad service and poor selection…

  15. Cam

    I picked up the 2006 Best American Essays book the other day — a trip to the bookstore for 1 book & I walked out the door with 7 or 8. So much for reading first what I already own! I’m going to start reading through this after I finish the current issue of VQR — or am I one issue behind on that too?

  16. I remember how much I used to love Walden’s and B.Dalton’s but of course that was before Borders & B&N opened here. Now, I never visit mall stores. Glad your visit at least paid off with some books. I have heard such good things about Karen Armstrong. I really need to pick up one of her books. Enjoy your new finds!

  17. I read the Perlman last year and was totally gripped by it. I also read his debut novel ‘Three Dollars’ and thought it was wonderful.

  18. Yes, I too liked “Seven Types” very much (blogged it here–as I say there, for some reason all I could do was cavil/criticize but I really did love the book).

    I have this lurking nostalgia for Waldenbooks from when it was 1984 and I was 13 and the shopping mall was the only place where there WAS a bookstore & I spent all my babysitting money on mass-market paperbacks published by Del Rey…

  19. It’s interesting that a number of people have childhood Waldens memories; I’ve got my own, so maybe I shouldn’t complain about the store too much.

  20. I was going to tell you who had blogged about it (Sandra and Susan) but I see that Sandra beat me to it. I also read the Perlman and LOVED it. LOVED IT. Enjoy!

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