I finally broke down and purchased my first book of 2008, Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book. I got 46% off the cover price; a hardcover for the price of a trade paperback. How could I pass that by? I’ve never kept track before of how many books I acquire in a year, but I feel pretty proud of myself for making it to January 18th.

I’d be lying by omission though if I neglected to tell you that People of the Book is not my first new book of 2008. It is the first I have bought. I have received books in the mail from publishers. I accepted an ARC, The Irresistible Inheritance of Wiberforce by Paul Torday. The other books just showed up unannounced, but it is convenient that they also look appealing. There are three, and they are:

  • The Devil’s Footprints by John Burnside. Michael Gardener reads in the paper that a former high school friend has killed herself and her two sons leaving behind a husband and a 14-year-old daughter. This brings up past incidents that Michael had tried to forget. He becomes “obsessed” with Moira’s daughter who convinces Michael to take her away from where she lives with her abusive and violent father. The flap calls it a “chilling novel that explores the elemental forces of everyday life: love, fear, grief, and the hope of redemption.” Burnside is a prize winning British poet who has published five works of fiction but this is the first of his novels published in the United States.
  • The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz which has a pretty cover and a write up in the Sunday New York Times
  • Life Class by Pat Barker who won the Booker Prize in 1995 for The Ghost Road. Life Class is a World War I love story centering around a young group of artists who meet in a life-drawing class before the war breaks out.

So four new books but only two acquired on purpose and only one of them actually bought. I’m being good and sticking to my resolution of buying fewer books, aren’t I?

It was really hard to be in a bookstore today though and not walk out with more than the one book I went there to get. Instead of allowing myself to browse the books, I turned my attention to the 75% off calendars because I need a wall calendar for my office and so will now have Veggies Gone Wild: Produce Behaving Badly to provide some much needed humor at work.