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I just finished Kyle Minor’s first collection, In the Devil’s Territory, which I liked very much, and which, as of this writing, is still just $1.99 for Kindle (go get it). And I read a Middle Grade book called Lone Wolf, which Una really wanted me to read. At AWP in Seattle, I bought Kyle’s second book, Praying Drunk, which is out from Sarabande and getting all kinds of notice. It looks fantastic. I also got Ryan Blacketter’s Down in the River, new from Greg Wolfe’s very cool Wipf & Stock imprint, Slant Books.

Last night before bed, I went upstairs to the study to look for my next fiction read. What have we grabbed lately that I could start? Or what’s been on the shelf for a long time that I haven’t yet read? I was looking specifically for a woman author, as I tend to switch between men and women pretty evenly.

I was surprised to see that most of the contemporary novels I hadn’t yet read were by men. Part of it is that I’d already read the books we own by Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler, Alice McDermott, and a few others who are all-time favorites. And for some reason, we just hadn’t bought much more. (Perhaps more novels by men are out there in bulk so I’ve picked them up. I don’t really know. And Beth reads an absolute ton of nonfiction, and not as many contemporary novels in recent years, so she hasn’t bought very much fiction.) I settled on an author I like a lot: Jane Hamilton. I realized I had never read her first book, The Book of Ruth, which has been on our shelf forever. It’s wonderful so far.

So when we drove down to Muncie today, I was specifically in search of novels by women. And, wow, I was not disappointed in today’s haul from the Goodwill. Thrift store novels will usually be a few years older, but I don’t mind that at all, as I tend not to keep up with fiction when it’s brand new anyway. Here’s what we got, in all it’s glory:

1) Blue Angel by Francine Prose

2) Monkey Bridge by Lan Cao

3) Salt Dancers by Ursula Hegi

4) Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

And a few nonfiction titles that look equally amazing:

5) Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter by Janet Campbell Hale

6) Pink Houses and Family Taverns by Becky Bradway

This stack of books just thrills me. I won’t get to the bottom of it for many months.

Which novels have you read recently? Have you found anything great, new or old? I’d love to hear your stories as I keep a running list of recommendations. Leave me a comment here, or on Facebook or Twitter.


5 Replies to “A Thrilling Thrift Store Haul”

  1. I haven’t read many novels this year, so I’m excited about your list. I did finish Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam triology last year and hope to read some more of her stuff this summer when the semester is over. I’m thinking Blind Assassin will be next on my Atwood list.

  2. Sounds good. I haven’t thought about my summer list yet, but I bet the FFW will see me leave with 2 or 3 or 6 more books. 🙂

  3. Recently read:
    Ennerations on the Psalms, Augustine of Hippo
    The Everlasting Man, G. K. Chesterton
    The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers
    Fathers and Sons, Turgenev
    Book of Short Stories (Included the Black Monk), Anton Checkov

    Current Reading:
    On The Trinity, Augustine
    Literary Theory, Terry Eagleton
    Saving The Appearances, Owen Barfield
    Whose Body, Dorothy Sayers
    Brotherly Union, F. W. Krummacher

    I also find great books at Goodwill in the New Orleans area.

    1. Wow, fantastic lists. Turgenev is one of my favorites; after FATHERS AND SONS, I read ON THE EVE, FIRST LOVE AND OTHER STORIES, and THE TORRENTS OF SPRING, which I liked probably the most.

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Thanks for the follow-up on Turgenev. Fathers and Sons was my first novel by him. Bazarov was at first sickening to me in his disparaging of all art, then intriguing, then pitiable. He was a great character creation for the modern world. I look forward to finding your other Turgenev recommendations, but also look forward to his SMOKE.

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