Posted by: Jeanie F | July 28, 2010

Book Splurge!

Maybe it was the fact that it’s been a month since I retired, and I’m beginning to realize that I actually have time to read. Maybe it was the very generous stack of Visa gift cards that my friends gave me as a retirement gift. Maybe it was that reading The Thirteenth Tale left me wanting to cleanse my reading pallet with something more to my liking. Whatever the reason, yesterday I spent a heavenly day – and a lot of money – at one of my very favorite indie bookstores. . . Laguna Beach Books.

Laguna Beach Books is not a large store, nor is it one of those jam-packed, crowded bookstores where things are difficult to find. It is neat, orderly, attractive, and incredibly well-stocked. It is unusual for them not to have the book I want – but they’ll order it if it’s not in stock. The staff actually knows books and can recommend titles based on your reading interest. Some of the most interesting books I’ve read have been staff recommendations from this store, many books I would not have heard of otherwise. It represents all the reasons why it is so important for us to be proactive in our support of independent bookstores.

This is a place where you can spend a lot of time (and, yes, money), because there is so much to look at. I went in with a list of books I had in mind. I left with many of them, as well as some that I didn’t know I wanted. Here’s what followed me home:

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch. I’ve been waiting for this since I first heard that Clinch had a new book. He has been compared to some of my favorite authors: William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, and Edward P. Jones. This is his second novel, set in rural America which lends itself to so many great novels. 



Work Song by Ivan Doig. Living in California, I’m a sucker for books written about The West, and Doig specializes in Montana. Winner of the Wallace Stegner Award, Doig brings back a historical period that exposes humanity at its best and worst.



The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. Okay, I admit that I didn’t really “get” Cloud Atlas, but I was sucked in by an excerpt I read of Thousand Autumns. It’s a gamble but, hey, I have gift cards. I can afford to take risks!



Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple. This is a Persephone Classic reprint of a book originally published in 1953. It’s the story of a marriage gone wrong. The description put me in mind of Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge (and a little bit of Madame Bovary).



Pearl Buck in China by Hilary Spurling. Several months ago I read a review of this biography in The New York Times, and it’s been on my TBR list ever since.



The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I’ve never read anything by Sarah Waters, but her name keeps popping up on blogs that I follow, so I thought I’d give her a try.



The Deptford Trilogy (Fifth Business/The Manticore/World of Wonders) by Robertson Davies. This was a recommendation from Laguna Beach Books’ buyer, and I’ve meant to read more Robertson Davies, so I went with it.



The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Another staff recommendation, looked like something that might be fun on vacation next month.

So, I have my immediate reading future cut out for me. The biggest question is where to begin!


  1. Nice haul….The Micthell and Clinch are on my radar, but definitely more the latter than the former.

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