The OF Blog: To celebrate surviving two grueling exams, I went to the new Nashville McKay's

Saturday, March 10, 2012

To celebrate surviving two grueling exams, I went to the new Nashville McKay's

Since I'm at the moment debating whether or not to return to public education next year or the year after, I decided to take certification tests to add teaching endorsements to the two (History, Government) that I currently hold (I've taught English for years without a full endorsement under a waiver provision that allows teachers to teach two class periods out of their field).  So I signed up to take two tests this morning:  7:30 AM was for English Literature and Grammar:  Content Knowledge and 10:45 AM I took the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages exam (I should note that outside of teaching ESOL/ESL students in a sheltered program for two years in Florida a decade ago, I have had no classes related to this field).

The English test went very well.  There were maybe 4-5 questions out of 120 that I was uncertain about, so I should pass that one well enough, as might be expected of someone whose mother taught English for 40 years and who himself taught it part-time for parts of three years.  The ESOL/ESL test was difficult, because I never had any coursework in some of the content areas covered (only studied them cursorily over the past few weeks), but I think I did well enough to pass or at least be very close to passing on the first attempt without knowing much about what would be on the test.

After the test, I hit the interstate and drove north into Nashville to shop at the new McKay's used bookstore, which opened today.  It was difficult to find parking, but I managed to do so.  When I dropped off two cartons of books to be processed for store credit, they said it could be upwards of 90 minutes waiting period, due to at least double the regular volume for the opening.  I had a bit of time to kill (my family left to go on a spring training vacation to Tampa while I took the test and got suckered into caring for my sister's Yorkie/Poodle mix, so I was in no rush to go anywhere), so I thought I'd take a picture of the new layout (I got about 2/3 of the shelves and part of the second floor, which is dedicated to CDs):

A view from the second floor.  There are a few hundred thousand books on those shelves and the ones to the right of the picture.

After browsing for an hour, I saw where my books had been processed earlier than expected, so I turned in my ticket and learned I had just over $90 of store credit to spend.  Only bought a little over $50, but below are the ones that I bought there, with the exception of the first photo.  That photo contains a couple of review copies that I thought some might find interesting (I may read them in the near future before deciding if I want to review them):

It amuses me that a graphic novel adaptation and a parody of George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones arrives on the same day.
Philip Caputo's Acts of Faith and Louis de Bernières' Corelli's Mandolin.

Ah, poetry!  The Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf (with the original Anglo-Saxon provided) and Percy Bysshe Shelley:  Selected Poems
Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing, the middle volume in his Border Trilogy and an intriguing non-fiction book, Joyce Carol Oates, The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982

G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man and the first American edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion.  Both cost a combined $7

The Romans apparently liked to write odes to their penes, thus this The Priapus Poems being available for posterity (or for me to quote when I want to annoy someone).  Oh, and a Franklin Mint edition on Rembrandt.

Buying a nicer, larger edition of Mario Vargas Llosa's La tía Julia y el escribidor and taking a flier on a few French books, starting with Jean Anouilh's Le voyageur sans bagage
Two Ionesco books for your viewing pleasure:  La cantatrice chauve and Rhinocéros

François Mauriac's Thérèse Desqueyroux and Maupassant's La Maison Tellier une Partie de Campagne

André Gide's La Symphonie Pastorale and Marivaux's le jeu de l'amour et du hasard

Any of these photos/books appeal to you?


Anonymous said...

I remember deeply enjoying "Corelli's Mandolin" when I read it many, many years ago. "The Crossing" easily had the most excruciating longueurs of any book I've ever read to the finish ... as well as the most harrowing and affecting emotional climax. You certainly don't feel you wasted your time.

Kai in NYC

Lsrry said...

Great to hear, as I've been meaning to read some of his fiction for a few months now :D

Hélène said...

I'm flabbergasted at the size of this bookshop : "les grands espaces américains" is not a vain expression!
I don't like Maupassant but Marivaux's Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard is a master piece - exquisite language.

Aishwarya said...

That is my favourite Mario Vargas Llosa book by a mile.

I also just bought a bilingual version of the Heaney Beowulf translation - who published yours?

Lsrry said...


McKay's is the largest used bookstore chain in Tennessee (three locations in the three largest cities, each with a similar layout), but it's not the largest used bookstore in the US. I think Powell's in Portland, The Strand in NYC, and a few others have over a million books in their stores. However, it certainly is the largest bookstore of any kind that I've set foot in. Can't tell it from the picture, but there were probably a couple hundred people shopping in that store at the time I was there.

Good to hear that the Marivaux is excellent. I plan on getting to it and several others later this year, once I get the spring lit award reviews completed in May.


It's the Norton edition.

Anonymous said...

I would judge "The Crossing" by far the hardest to read of McCarthy's books, and never start a reader there. On the other hand, if you like it, you'll certainly love the rest!

Kai in NYC

Lsrry said...

True, but I've read a half-dozen of his works to date and after I finish All the Pretty Horses, I'll begin reading The Crossing sometime later this year.

Foxessa said...

I've been thinking for awhile that the real future of books is the used book trade.

With the monoply of digital by amazon, apple and google, we might actually want to hang on to our print editions of everything, and get print editions of anything we will foreseeably need for future research -- or least download it to our own hardrives.

Love, C.

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