The OF Blog: November 27 Used Book Porn: A Semi-Cull, Part I

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27 Used Book Porn: A Semi-Cull, Part I


Over the next several weeks, I plan to cull a few hundred books, replacing them with roughly
  only a third or so of their former number.  It started today when I traded in 64 at McKay's in Nashville and bought 32 with the store credit I received (11 of those books are for work, so only 21 in these photos; 8 of those 11 were copies of S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, since I plan on teaching that story later in the school year and I need several copies of it, and the rest were German and French grammar books so some of the students can receive foreign language instruction while they are in rehab).  So I'll be focusing more on books that I cannot easily buy new for that time (and with the hope that by the end of January, my store credit will be built up to a few hundred dollars, for splurges months from now).

As always, I stop by the foreign language section first.  Although my German is barely semi-fluent these days, I could not resist the temptation of getting six Kafka books for $7.50 total, as well as a German translation of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (which I also own in the original Italian).  Very nice editions, especially the Kafka set, no?



 My French reading comprehension has improved dramatically over the past year or so, and I thought it would be about time to challenge myself with some heavy-hitting classics here.  I did hedge my bet from an earlier purchase and got the Spanish translation of some of Moliere's plays, as well as the Spanish paperback edition of Laura Esquivel's most famous work.



 The Italian dictionary is to serve as a backup when I read Dante in the original in the near future, while the Polish dictionary I picked up for a real cheap price, just in case...

I'm still reading as much of Angela Carter's works as I can and after reading Paul Smith's piece on this book a few months ago, I've finally found a copy of Fireworks, which almost certainly will be read before the end of the year.  And it's always a pleasurable experience discovering more Naguib Mahfouz books that I don't already own...



Finally, I lucked up and found the first three volumes of 18th century Chinese writer Cao Xueqin's classic work.  Been meaning to purchase this five-volume set for quite some time, so only two volumes to go (those will be bought online in the next few weeks, I believe).

And there's the (semi?)regular used book porn post for this weekend.  Which books do you most want and why?

5 comments:

Jason said...

What, you're not reading Cao Xueqin in the original? Getting a little lazy?

Seriously, Larry, I don't know how you do it. Not only do you read at 10x my speed (literally), but you get to read Borges, Eco, Kafka, and Dante in their original languages. I'm sure Proust isn't far behind. It's inspiring, although a little frightening to me too.

Hélène said...

"La cousine Bette" is black, black, black. It made me despair of humanity when I read it in high school !
I hope you'll enjoy Diderot. I feel the XVIIIth century writers gave the best of french langage : nothing is lacking, nothing is too much. Perfect balance.
My choice would be to discover Cao Xueqin. I was delighted with "Out of the march" and plan to read more of chinese literature.

Tibor Moricz said...

I won't be surprised if you'll say you can read fluently mandarim...O_o

Gabriele C. said...

Jason, the more languages you learn, the easier it gets. I read novels in German, English, French, Swedish and Norwegian and I can tackle non fiction in some more languages (Italian, Spanish, Icelandic - it just takes a bit too much concentration to make reading a novel enjoyable). My Russian has become too rusty, alas (and one year worth of school lessons never made for a solid basis anyway).

I'm polishing up my Latin and Ancient Greek right now, and my studines also left me with some competence in Old Norse and Anglonorman French; I've read the Song of Roland in the original, fe. -- Larry, wouldn't reading El Cid in the original be some challenge for you? :)

Larry said...

No, no Mandarin for me, as all of my languages which I read with some degree of fluency are either Germanic or Romance languages (with a little bit of Slavic now being learned through occasional study of Serbian).

I do have a volume of Proust in the original French, though ;)

As for La cousine Bette, I read it in English translation about 13-14 years ago, when I was in grad school. It is indeed very dark.

I've read El Cid in Old Castilian before. It was like reading Chaucer untranslated into modern English. However, I did understand most of what I was reading. Maybe I'll re-read it soon, as it's been 4-5 years at least since I read it.

 
Add to Technorati Favorites